Mar 06, 2021

Thrive on setbacks

It is not enough to be resilient and merely survive setbacks. To be unreasonably successful, you must learn to positively thrive on them.

Paradoxically, setbacks can validate unconventional views and contribute to a sense of greatness. If you follow the herd, you are unremarkable. If you are controversial, you are noticed. As long as you don’t run out of self-confidence and conviction, you can eventually be successful despite your setbacks.

Nassim Taleb discusses this landmark in great detail in his book, Antifragile. In it, he states:

Wind extinguishes a candle and energizes fire. Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos: you want to use them, not hide from them. You want to be the fire and wish for the wind.

To innovate, first get into trouble. Setbacks are a mechanism for discovery. Exposure to failure is essential for success.

The players discussed in Richard Koch’s book all had an antifragile spirit. They had a highly developed sense of their own potential and strong, unconventional opinions. They not only had a strong ego, but also an ability to overcome adversity with a curiosity about themselves and the world and a degree of stoicism.

Take big risks. You can’t know the future, but you must trust it. What you will achieve matters. Expect extreme lows to be followed by extreme highs. It must be done. Your audience expects it.