A FLAWED GUIDE TO ANTIFRAGILITY by Kevin Zhu

To an incoming treasure, hopefully before contamination

Introduction: Antifragility is the ability for one to flourish in light of stress, shock, volatility, attacks, and failure (Nassim Taleb). Follow these seven points throughout your development into burgeoning adolescent responsibility, midlife crises, and senior benefits. 

I hope I’ll be a better father to you.

 

Completed?

___Y   ___N 1. Create respectful responses for when you are degraded. Do not cloud your gaze when father runs rituals of ridicule. Reshape harm and despondency into “improve and confront” rather than “ignore and forget.” Avoid flaunting pride, as envy only proliferates with the glimpse of insecurity. 

___Y   ___N 2. Manifest resistance to doubt. Learn the art of performance (not necessarily theatrical) and embed its fundamentals in your lifestyle. Sanction qualities of diction, auspiciousness, and tone before an audience of real and fake believers.  

___Y   ___N 3. Account for local variability while calculating confrontation. Vexation can guide you miles past the zenith of reasoning before you realize, and despondency can create a bottleneck within impulse. Similarly, pleasure can cast plaque over one’s brain, contorting remembrances to fantasies. Find the methodology for impartial evaluation, and train to obtain its recurring nature. 

___Y   ___N 4. Remember that respect is powerful, but so is resentment. Learn to recognize the signals of both. Use the following as a test:

        1. Transparency surrounds your relationship, and you feel that they are one of the few that will express unadulterated judgment.
        2. Conversations often turn out to be concise, without much interference to either one’s time.
        3. Promises are sparsely exchanged, but when they are, breaking them never becomes an issue.
        4. Debates seem to be the staple of interaction, often one backed with equally compelling reasoning.
        5. You tint their image with a prick of self-consciousness.

If you find those items to be confusing, get used to it. The measure of external opinion is not a spectrum, but rather a tri-dimensional space, with parameters (x,y,z)  → (signals, bias, instinct). Emphasis on instinct (z), as that is the only one that will shift with the accumulation of experience.

___Y   ___N 5. Make a companion. Pick between one or more of the four options:

  • Mentor

Pros: impeccable life advice, uproarious storytimes, connections to resources, and acts like a parent without daily annoyances.

Cons: treats you like a kid, misinterprets modern trends, has their own personal life, and high barrier of trust to topple on personal issues.

  • Partner

Pros: intimate interactions & frequent attention, further self-discovery, no more bullshit dating politics, and someone to shed love on the hated fragments of identity.

Cons: occasional self-consciousness, restricted freedom and time, relationship autonomy, and arguments are amplified tenfold in importance.

  • Pet

Pros: loyal as fuck, protector (either physically or spiritually), early cancer detector, and the best wingman of all time

Cons: additional expenses, can’t speak, allergies, and a 15 year time limit (plus or minus)

  • Books

Pros: at your calling 24/7, nosedives into alternative realities, can’t talk back at you, and an all-organic remedy for prolonged life.

Cons: perishes to liquids, prompts existential crises, can’t talk back at you, and makes you seem lonely in public.

 

___Y   ___N 6. Use negative emotions as a driving factor towards success. Allow misery from your first real breakup to power your health routine. Allow spite from years of distrust to propel you to rely on internal stability. Regardless of external oppression, remain steadfast in selfless support for the important ones. 

___Y   ___N 7. Keep a journal. Reflect upon grievances. Record triumphs. Break down scenarios. Black out irrational sensibilities.  Create a doodle page. List To-Dos. Vent secret frustrations. Compose abominable poems. Dream impossible fantasies. Detail cardinal memories. Read back writings in 70 years and smile.  

 

Post-Completion Evaluation

Check all that apply: 

After completing all the checkpoints: 

      • I have learned effective and honest communication
      • I am surrounded with faithful companions
      • I am content with my achievements
      • I no longer claim distress upon life’s scuffles.
      • I am happy

 


Kevin Zhu (he/him) is a Chinese-American writer and musician from Long Island, New York. His work has been recognized by INKSOUNDS, COUNTERCLOCK, Bennington College, and Scholastic. He is the EIC of The Incandescent Review and has a maltese.

Art by Steve Anwyll @oneloveasshole

Read Next: MY MAMMAW’S BOYFRIEND by Dalton Monk