The resilient creative resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile creative gets better.

A person with bubble wrap around their head and a red sticker with the word fragile in white text

I used to be fragile.

When I failed at something, I would feel crushed and become disheartened, which meant I would move on to something else only to repeat the cycle over and over again. As I became more aware of this pattern, I practiced getting back up to try again, which helped me change my mindset. I learned to be resilient and realized that setbacks would happen to us all, so getting back up and moving forward is essential. I noticed that I became resilient and better able to move through life’s ups and downs. Getting back up was good; it brought me back on track but was that all I could do, or was there something more?

Then I came across the concept of becoming antifragile, or growing and even flourishing due to unexpected events.

Things that benefit from disorder

Antifragile is a phrase coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of Antifragile, Things that gain from disorder, in which he describes the concept of Antifragility as:

“Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

The idea of antifragility is quite appealing. We all face uncertainty and chaos in our lives, but what if we grew due to randomness? Can we be antifragile creatives? I believe we absolutely can. We certainly deal with a lot of randomness, uncertainty, risk, and change in our creative work.

Let’s say a designer makes a mistake in their work, nothing too disastrous, but a recoverable mistake; how would they respond?

  • The fragile designer would hate making a mistake.
  • The resilient designer would realize the mistake, fix it and move on because they see the mistake as information.
  • The antifragile designer loved making a mistake because they realized it was an opportunity for them to improve.

We are human after all

Remember that being antifragile does not mean being an automaton or a robot without feelings, although maybe those already exist. We are human beings with feelings and emotions. When we experience setbacks, it is natural to feel down and take the time to recover. Everyone’s situation is different, so we need to take care of ourselves and others and not deny our humanity for the sake of becoming antifragile.


A challenge for you

Find the opportunity in every difficulty.

Make a list of challenges you are facing now, and then write the opportunity you see within those challenges.

For example, are you anxious about presenting in front of others? The opportunity in this challenge is that if you improve your public speaking skills, you will have more of an impact that can help you become antifragile because you are training yourself to grow no matter what life throws at you.

For me, becoming antifragile is a way to focus on moving forward and growing despite the chaos that comes our way, and the uncertainty will most certainly always be with us. Now we don’t need to let it stop us and derail us; instead, let’s use it to move faster towards our goals.

I would love to hear how you are becoming more antifragile. Drop me a line

Till next time, stay strong!

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Hi, I’m Rizwan, a designer on a mission to help creatives build a mindset of resilience, care, and confidence. If you enjoyed this post, I’d love for you to join the Low Fidelity newsletter and subscribe to the podcast to help you overcome the inner blocks so you can achieve your true potential.

Becoming Antifragile