Bringing Anti-Fragility to Your Calling In a World of Extremes

Uncategorized Oct 27, 2021

Being resilient is not actually the opposite of fragile. 

The opposite of fragile is a word that had to be invented: anti-fragile. 

Meaning that in the face adversity, instead of just bouncing back and being resilient, you use that challenge to get even better.  In a world that has gotten more and more unstable and scary, all of us who have a calling to make the world a better place have never been more in need of developing anti-fragility in how we come together and answer our call.  

Why Does the World Seems So Out of Control and Scary?

We are living through a perfect post-modern storm of our own making.   Three recent books have some great insight on this.  adrienne maree brown's Emergent Strategy, Steve McIntosh's Developmental Politics and Jamie Wheal's Recapture the Rapture

There are three intersecting issues that make up this perfect storm. 

  • Our challenges are getting tougher in an increasingly interconnected world
  • Our usual ways of understanding the world and solving problems aren’t up to the job
  • We are struggling to find meaning in the present and hope for the future

Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Denial, Nihilism and Extremism

It isn't pretty when people lose a sense of meaning and hope.


When the Going Gets Tough, It's Time to Get Anti-Fragile

In the face of an increasingly wobbly world, all is not lost!  Let's remember that this planet has managed to endure for 4.5 billion years so far, and there's been life on the planet for 3.5 billion of those years.  A key reason why we, and so many other forms of life, have made it as far as we have is the principle of anti-fragility. This is a term coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Black Swan. 


While the term may be new, the idea has always been with us.   Anti-fragility is one better than resilience.  It's about not just holding your own against stress and challenge, but actually using challenges to get better. Not just holding our own, but getting better! 

Four Key Ingredients for An Anti-Fragile Way Forward

  • An inspiring vision that pulls us forward: we need a source of hope and meaning
  • We need to reckon with reality as it really is: no better and no worse
  • We need to work collaboratively and creatively with others: ”one true path” is super fragile…
  • We need to be committed to our own growth and grit when things get hard

These four ideas are at the heart of the four commitments we use as an organizing principle for the Joyful Impact journey:

An Anti-Fragile Audit of Your 7 Pillars of Personal Development

  As you think about how to apply the concept of anti-fragility to how you answer your call to make the world a better place, a great starting point are these 7 pillars of personal development for change agents.  Check out the posts in this blog on each of these pillars, and look for ways to stretch and diversify your routines and go-to strategies in each of these areas.  



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These are the same materials we use with the social entrepreneurs in our accelerator program and the funders we coach one on one.  The world has never been more in need of a new, greatest generation of change agents and that's why we're opening up free access to these materials to anyone who's ready to make use of them!