Antifragile: More Than Being Resilient

One interesting concept that I read in Skip the Line is the difference between being resilient and being antifragile. The term “antifragile” comes from a book by Nassim Taleb but I read about it in Skip the Line by James Altucher.

I always thought that being resilient is good, but it turns out that being antifragile is better. What’s the difference between them? Well, being resilient means that when something hurts you, you bounce back to where you were before. It’s a good thing, right? But being antifragile goes one step further. Being antifragile means that when something hurts you, it makes you stronger than before

As you can see, it’s a subtle but important difference. It’s good if you are resilient because then you will keep moving forward despite a setback. The setback won’t stop you; you will recover from it. But when you are antifragile, you will do more than that. Instead of just moving forward as before, you will move forward faster than before. It’s as if you absorb the energy of your opponent!

A good example is the story of Colonel Sanders in starting Kentucky Fried Chicken. Here is an excerpt from my blog post:

He once had a successful restaurant. Life seemed good for him. But then something unexpected happened: authorities moved the highway junction in front of his restaurant to another site. As a result, the number of visitors to his restaurant plummeted. He eventually had to sell his restaurant. Worse, he was already 66 years old at that time.

After the failure of his restaurant, he didn’t have much—but he did have one thing: his fried-chicken recipe. So he decided to make the most of it. He decided to sell his fried chicken to restaurants.

Long story short, he started the world-famous Kentucky Fried Chicken. He experienced a big setback, but he didn’t let it break him. Furthermore, he didn’t just bounce back to where he was before; he ended up stronger than before. That is being antifragile!

So if you experience adversity, don’t just aim to be resilient. Be antifragile. Not only won’t you let the adversity break you, but also you will use it to make yourself stronger.

10 Comments

  1. Amazing blog post. And right when I needed it. Being anti fragile seems a better option than resilience. Hope to achieve it when I’m facing a hard time.

    • Donald Latumahina
      Donald Latumahina

      Glad to know that it came at the right time for you, Hetanshi. All the best to you!

  2. Hi Donald, I love this one! Being able to become stronger and better is more important than just recovering from something. Those are great examples and ways to explain the difference between resilient and antifragile (which I never heard the last term before!) I never knew the story of Kentucky Fried Chicken either, very inspiring! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. Very well written. And what a concept. We can not only deal with adversity but be better for it!

  4. Hi Written in very simple language. I understood the difference. I am enjoying your articles and application is also improving. Thanks a lot .

  5. ” …being resilient means that when something hurts you, you bounce back to where you were before. It’s a good thing, right? But being antifragile goes one step further. Being antifragile means that when something hurts you, it makes you stronger than before.”

    Donald. The words as you tried to define them have catapulted my thoughts. This reminds me as well of Kelly Clarkson’s song – What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/kellyclarkson/whatdoesntkillyoustronger.html

    Thank you, for your thought.

    • Donald Latumahina
      Donald Latumahina

      Thanks for sharing about the song, Moses! It does capture the essence of being antifragile.

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