As life continues to stay weird, I've been thinking about this excerpt from Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Antifragile.
We can simplify the relationships between fragility, errors, and antifragility as follows.
When you are fragile, you depend on things following the exact planned course, with as little deviation as possible—for deviations are more harmful than helpful. This is why the fragile needs to be very predictive in its approach, and, conversely, predictive systems cause fragility.
When you want deviations, and you don’t care about the possible dispersion of outcomes that the future can bring, since most will be helpful, you are antifragile.
2020's proving just how just fragile our world has become.
I've previously mentioned antifragility, but it's something that grows stronger from chaos and disorder.
How can we be more resilient and excel in chaos?
When I say aim small, I'm thinking as small as possible.
- Aim small.
- Be consistent.
- Collect wins.
In this Groundhog Day life, I can't function on a day-to-day basis. When I'm effective, I'm focused on the smallest possible task or working in 30-minute time blocks.
I've been staging this newsletter recently. Rather than doing it all at once, I might just add an idea to an outline. Or edit a single section.
My most productive workdays continue to be when I maintain the discipline to work in 30-minute blocks. If I'm missing my 30-minute targets, I adjust the overall target.
When I say be consistent, how can I show up every day?
My 634-mile virtual race has transitioned to the lonely middle. I've been struggling to keep up my miles and actually fell behind the buzzard (the race marker for finishing pace).
I'm looking for the lowest friction options to stay on course. At this point, it's walking. Low cost and fits right into lunchtime. Then I return to my desk slightly mentally sharper.
The key to staying in motion is collecting wins. The days when I really struggle, I get mired in my inbox or a big task right off the bat. Next thing I know, it's lunchtime and I have nothing of worth to show for the day.
I'm trying to start my day by finding the smallest possible thing I can complete -- and using that as a springboard into the next.
Or, as Pranav Mutatkar asked in his Lazy Sundays Newsletter:
When starting a big project, ask yourself what’s the fastest way I can get a hit of dopamine? Or what is the laziest way I can reach that success?
Time = Reservoir of Energy for Compounding
Aligning well with my A-B-Cs, Doc Ayomide recently wrote about the power of compounding.
Here's the thing: compounding is always a function of time.
It's a little adding up over a long time. And our intuition being so wrong about compounding is a clue to how way off it is about time. You have to wonder: in just how many ways have we taken the immediate option because we couldn't possibly grasp intuitively how much more was possible if we let time do its magic?
This feels like a reminder to be antifragile.
Without a knowledge of the time you've put in, the results would appear to a random observer to be “out of nowhere.” At best it would seem you just “blew up”. Which, yes, you did —after accumulating a ton of “energy” in the form of repeated actions.
- Aim small.
- Be consistent.
- Collect wins.
And Then, The Magic Moment
David Perell illustrates how when that moment arrives, we need to seize it. One evening, the not-yet-famous Eminem was invited to record with Dr. Dre.
As Dr. Dre recounted:
"It’s one of those things where you just know. Something special is happening. I’m rushing. I’m trying to get this recorded because sometimes, as a producer you can feel when the magic is happening and you don’t want the artists to lose this momentum. It was magic.”
The result? Grammy-winning hit, "My Name Is."
I'm running virtually across Tennessee in the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000k (GRVAT). 634 miles (5 miles/day) between May 1 until August 31st.
Tues: 8.36 (the reward for an early newsletter)
Wed: 2.86 (well, at least the day before was good)
Sat: 12.61 (hike with Tiffany and run)
Sun: 10.79 (run with brother)
Mon: 2.01 (lunchtime walk)
Tues: 6.25 (lunchtime walk and short-run)
Total Miles this Week: 42.88 miles
Cumulative Miles: 274.24 miles
Beat the Buzzard: -4.26 (math fail -- I'm chasing!)
Quote of the Week
"Relentless forward progress."
- Bryon Powell, Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons
Until next week, stay safe, sane, and intentional.