Antifragile

What it takes to be MORE than resilient.

Sixty percent of new businesses fail within their first three years. That Telegraph report statistic begs to ask, why the failure rate of new businesses is so high. And, what makes it so difficult for a new business to succeed in today’s market? The businesses that fail are fragile. Or, should I say that those running the businesses are fragile? They are unable to withstand the pressure, stressors, and volatility of the market and crumble, much like a sandcastle in a rising tide. In contrast, the businesses that succeed are the opposite of fragile. They are antifragile - a word coined by Nassim Taleb in his book of the same name. Where fragility indicates that something is easily broken, damaged, weak, or vulnerable; Taleb describes antifragility as something that is more than resilient, “The resilient resist stress and stay the same; the antifragile get better”. Things that are antifragile benefit from stressors. Stressors actually make them stronger. Here are some examples of things that are antifragile: - Muscle...gets stronger after the stress of weight tears it down. - Bones...get stronger from impact and weight upon them. - Immune System...gets stronger after being invaded by foreign threats. - Trees...get stronger in the wind. Your business can be the same, but it requires you to have an antifragile mindset. Instead of crumbling in defeat when faced with difficulty, you have to look at how failures can make your business stronger. You might ask yourself what failures expose your business’ areas of weaknesses that you otherwise wouldn’t be aware of? That’s valuable information right?! Without that knowledge, you wouldn’t know what areas of your business to fortify or adapt for future success. The market and population your business serves is living. Their needs change and your business will need to be dynamic to meet those changing needs and thrive. What works at one point in time, will most likely need to be adjusted at another. Taleb describes the antifragility of nature, saying, “Consider that Mother Nature is not just “safe.” It is aggressive in destroying and replacing, in selecting and reshuffling. When it comes to random events, “robust” is certainly not good enough. In the long run everything with the most minute vulnerability breaks, given the ruthlessness of time— yet our planet has been around for perhaps four billion years and, convincingly, robustness can’t just be it: you need perfect robustness for a crack not to end up crashing the system. Given the unattainability of perfect robustness, we need a mechanism by which the system regenerates itself continuously by using, rather than suffering from, random events, unpredictable shocks, stressors, and volatility.” As you change your perception of errors, from being the evidence of failure, to being valuable information - you and your business will emulate Mother Nature in becoming antifragile. The viability of your business’ future success is dependent upon it.



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