#34 : What Is Anti-fragility for you?
On things that keep us freakin' going!
Writing these Sunday newsletters has become a ritual that is most important to me. It nourishes me and my writing journey with a deeply grounding power. It acts as the breath around which my creativity circulates.
What rituals keep you grounded regardless of any person or outcome external to you? How do you keep doing them when things get rough?
Poll of The Week 🙋
I am two Sundays away from launching what I have been building here with you on this platform. Last week’s votes gave me the token I need to follow my gut and publish my first book as a digital series here on Substack first.
I’ll announce this on January 1st, 2023, which is also my birthday, and just so happens to fall on a Sunday this time around! 🥳
Special thanks to the courageous 10% who indicated no interest novels/poetry. I’ve got a bunch of Gumpcast conversations sure to warm you up and fill your cup!
Today I ask you a critical question:
I can’t see who voted what so be honest!
💬 To elaborate please leave a comment, or simply reply to this email.
#34 : What Is Anti-fragility for you?
I am a man with a lot of big dreams. My twenties and early thirties provided a lot of shattering of said dreams. Disenchanted by a medical career, disenfranchised from a country revolution, countless digital health startup ideas that failed, getting laid-off from a job I was doing pretty well at, big fallouts with partners and friendships, and most recently a divorce ending a marriage and the dreams of community that fell through with it.
In 2020, I ran a program to help doctors stay on their feet and survive the medical system’s insane demands which made me quit being a doctor in the first place. I called it Resilient Doctor. The program was engaging and enjoyable, and most participants experienced a measurable improvement in burnout scores and health metrics, but only to a limit.
The emphasis on resilience ultimately drove both the program and its participants to unrealistic expectations which did not withstand the drivers and monsters that controlled our lives. That dream and program, along with its mad ambitions, and team that drove it, all came crashing by February of 2021.
That is when I started this newsletter, and published the first pilot chapters of my novel.
I had to keep on going, I had to find my grounding, and somehow take that hit of my program failing and use it to come back stronger.
I had to let go of my own ambitions to be resilient, and that is when I learned about Nassim Taleb’s Antifragility.
Antifragility is a property of systems in which they increase in capability to thrive as a result of stressors, shocks, volatility, noise, mistakes, faults, attacks, or failures.
He illustrates this with 3 simple distinctions:
Fragility > You hit an obstacle, you crash, you burnout, and you ultimatley break.
Resilience> You hit an obstacle, you withstand it, and regain your original balance.
Anti-fragility> You hit an obstacle, and you are even stronger than you were before.
So what are the characteristics or tools that can make my writing endeavours anti-fragile?
How will I remain anti-fragile despite riding on little resources, big ambitions, and a whole universe of agents, editors and publishers, ready to douse me in all the colors of rejection?
This Sunday blog, exercise, and quality conversations are what build up my anti-fragility. They are my rituals and habits.
Anti-fragility is the long, deeply rooted, and rewarding path to Gumption.
The state of ultimate balance and growth.
A state where regret and self-doubt become a thing of the past.
/ˈɡʌmp.ʃən/ the ability to decide what is the best thing to do in a particular situation, and to do it with energy and determination
Long Story Short:
If you keep doing the things that support your spirit, then you will no longer live in shame and doubt. Rather, you will be like a wolf howling underneath the full moon, because you know that today’s predator, is tomorrow’s dinner.
🎄 I wish you a highly spirited Christmas Week. 🎄
Sunday Gratitude 🙏 (and correction)
Go out to my sister, Lina Shaker.
Contrary to my previous claims about how the word gumption entered my life, she pointed out that she was the actual reason I ever heard that word. Touche, Biso.
While I still wonder which one of us told the other one about it, I concur that she is a key factor of my anti-fragility of a person. Gratitude to her.
Here is an episode I recorded with her in very early Gumpcast days. Please don’t judge me for the audio quality, we have come a very long way since then!
Click Here for Spotify , Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts, if you prefer.
This Week on Gumpchat 🎙️
Had a fun time chatting with Claudia and Eve about my pet peeves question. Got to learn about Claudia’s wild lord of the rings side, and got myself into a meta conversation about what the word meta really means.
Also really enjoyed exchanging retro pictures of devices with Claudia. Can I only live with a radio? I wondered about that, and I think I can if I can play any record on the radio on demand any time.
Finally, thank you all for the warm thoughts and comments on the picture I posted of me and the OG Shaker. Filled my cup.
Join us next week on the Gumpchat. You can always comment on the old discussion threads too!
Stayin’ Alive Stayin’ Alive 🫀
This segment will replace the previous Artist’s Way section.
My habits of gumption this week are:
Morning Pages: Turning those into afternoon pages this week.
Artist’s Date: Found a new local dinner spot/bar had a long heart to heart conversations with strangers.
Qigong: Doing it Daily. Pretty incredible stuff. Short 10 min videos like the one I shared last week, help alot.
Exercise: Got back on it after two weeks of delicious food and no movement. I started small with simple videos I like from Youtube. Check below.
Belly Breathing: This is a no brainer way of calming my nervous system, doing it more these days because I need it as I transition.
Mindfulness: Got back into morning 10 min meditations. Also much needed these days.
Craft: Back to work on the novel. Done with first three chapters of Draft 2.
Gumption Booster 🚀
I’ll try a new thing here. I’ll share one piece of content that raised my spirits this week and invite you to do the same in the comments.
This channel is how I get myself back into a health routing after a slouch. Not too hard, just the right amount of effort. Enjoy and please share any of yours in the comments!
Before you go…🎁
Christmas time is always quite blues-y to me. I always feel a little more depressed from Thanks Giving on with a crescendo towards Christmas, and a rebirth on my actual birthday of January 1st.
So until then, I leave you with some desert jazz to rock your mood, and make you sway.
See you next Sunday,
Thanks for reading In Search of Gumption! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
All great questions, Omar. As always, thanks for prompting new ideas! Your Gumpchat has become something I look forward to every Sunday and mull over all week. I suspect that resilience and antifragility, which I see as being essentially the same, are rooted somewhere in our DNA. What does the science point to on this, I wonder? Is one's automatic response positive or negative? Am I a glass half full or glass half empty person? Can resilience or antifragility be taught to one to whom it does not come easily? Rejection is part of what happens when we put our work out there. Yes, rejection hurts and can be discouraging. Of course. But how we grow and learn in the process of writing! And the joy and pain we experience while doing it! No one can take that away from us! My joy in writing stops the minute I send my work to an editor or publisher. Then, whether it is accepted or rejected, something else entirely takes over. And it is never fun. Please don't let the opinions of others in the publishing industry rob you of your joy. Want to know a secret, if you haven't yet learned it? Publishing, like medicine is a business. That should tell you a lot.