This is an opinion editorial by Michael, a software engineer, entrepreneur and regenerative farmer.
The “Once Bitten” podcast episode with Christian Keroles and Daniel Prince got me thinking about antifragility and what it means when applied to a human as opposed to a system.
If you’re trying to make your life antifragile, there are a lot of things you need to address. It’s a process, and one I’ve undertaken for the past 14 years, not knowing that’s what I was doing.
This has led to a unique lifestyle by most standards and it’s probably not for everyone. While I admit that I don’t think my situation can be considered 100% antifragile, I do think there are plenty of situations where if the world turned completely bosom, my family would thrive compared to others.
It’s hard to become antifragile, and you have to look at different areas that lead to sovereignty.
Food is an easy place to start with plenty of fruit on hand.
Our food system is centralized and favors big business. It is built around just-in-time delivery and as such is inherently fragile. It’s probably something you’ve witnessed firsthand over the past few years, with supply chains suddenly cut and panic buying taking hold.
In addition to this just-in-time delivery, much of what we sell as food barely resembles anything you should be putting in your body. A general rule is that if it comes in a box, you should question it.
The best approach to tackling food insecurity is to separate yourself from supermarkets. Ditch everything that comes in a package as much as possible. Depending on your situation, this can be a challenge, but the reward is worth it.
Make a habit of spending at local farmers, small producers and at your local farmer’s market. When visiting farmers’ markets, beware of “dealers” who buy in bulk and try to pass off produce as their own; they are not much better than supermarkets. Do not hesitate to meet your farmers; ask them questions and discuss with them. They will appreciate your interest.
Once you’ve separated yourself from the big players, you can take a huge step forward in the fight against frailty by producing your own food. You may not have 100 acres of land, but there is always something you can do with the resources you have. At the very least, you could grow herbs or start with low-tech mushroom farming.
You will soon discover after a learning period with food production, it is easy to create abundance. When you produce in excess of your needs, you can sell or trade other items that you are unable to produce yourself. Work to produce your food with minimal outside inputs – if possible, close the loop completely. If you don’t rely on external inputs at all, the world may implode and you will continue to produce.
Learn how to cook, preserve, pickle and ferment. Not only will these skills allow you to store your own food and discover finer culinary delights, but they’re all invaluable in any kind of shitty situation.
For my family and I, our approach to food has led us down the path to a chemical-free market garden: feeding ourselves and our local community, generating income, connecting with other like-minded local producers and allow us to thrive while the rest of the world was panicked by potential food shortages.
Health and fitness
Get yourself healthy! If you take a decent approach to tackling antifragility in food, it’ll probably put you on the right track already. There are many approaches you can take with food when it comes to your health. I’m no nutritionist and I’m not here to tell you what’s right or wrong, but if you put good fuel in your body instead of crap, you’ll reap the benefits.
So, are you fueling your body with optimal foods? Now you will want to get in shape. There are very few situations in life where being fit and healthy won’t benefit you. Being “fit” can be interpreted in many different ways, but ultimately when it comes to antifrailty, you are looking for a general fitness where you are physically capable of performing almost any task that life might throw at you. .
Being able to run a marathon but not lift 90 pounds isn’t going to help you in the real world. Having a 450 pound deadlift but not being able to sprint 400 meters isn’t going to help you in the real world. You must be versatile. Start where you are and apply consistent effort over time.
I train five days a week and have been doing it for as long as I can remember (with just a brief hiatus before 2020). In addition to typical intense gym work, I have also trained in a few styles of martial arts for nearly 20 years. In addition to the obvious physical benefits of this, the workout has a number of mental benefits all of which add up to antifragility.
Between food and training, I avoided having to see a doctor for over 10 years. Health and fitness are key to becoming truly antifragile.
Income and finances
Let’s talk about income.
There are really two main things you need to consider: First, you need to bring in more income than you spend. To me (and probably to many of you), that’s just common sense. Find ways to earn more or reduce your expenses in any way possible. In the end, people can lead quite a comfortable existence on a lot less money than expected. You need to get your brain out of this shopper mindset and stop fueling your dopamine receptors with frivolous purchases. You need to look at all your expenses and ask yourself if you really need them. Sure, you can spend money to enjoy life, but don’t make it part of who you are. Find a way to be satisfied without having to spend.
Second, you should look at where that money is coming from. If you rely on just one income from an employer, you can very quickly find yourself in a world of trouble. Start any side business or start several. It doesn’t have to be huge, but have it as a safety net and something you could expand if needed. Investigate potentially businesses that people will always need, even when times are tough. For example, everyone needs to eat. If you run some sort of popular business producing food in good times, people will turn to you in times of need.
When it comes to finances, there are really two schools of thought: “Debt is bad” on one side and “debt is good” on the other. In my mind, debt in a positive growth economic environment is not necessarily a bad thing when managed properly. When economies start to falter like we’re seeing right now, debt is definitely bad. Debt is leverage and as the saying goes, when the tide goes out, you see who’s swimming naked. If you are in debt, the chances of being wiped out financially are exponentially higher. Protect yourself by not being in debt.
Between a lack of debt and income exceeding expenses, you can build up an important financial safety net over time. Use this to your advantage.
Community is usually the last thing that comes to mind when talking about antifragility. In reality, no matter how competent and independent you are, there will always be a time when you need others.
Find your tribe. Get involved or create a community around you. Get online and do whatever you can to help people when they need it. Develop relationships.
Produce something people in your community need.
It may not look like it, but it will bring its own rewards.
Development of skills and knowledge
Constantly teach yourself new skills. Learn how to build and repair things, maintain your car (or at least know how), learn to weld, work with wood, cook, ferment and preserve food. Constantly learn new practical skills and put them into practice. You don’t have to be an expert at everything, but a wide range of abilities will get you the job done when needed.
Not only will this breadth of knowledge be useful to you throughout life and get you out of some sticky situations, but you will also become valuable to others when they need you (see community above).
Addiction and state of mind
You can work as hard as you want to make yourself antifragile while the world remains the same. Everything around you, the system in which you are captured, is inherently fragile. It was built either to maximize profit or to extract value from you. It was certainly not designed to react quickly to changing situations.
You need to get out of the “system” as much as possible and break any dependence you have on institutions. The less you depend on government, medicine, food, or other big business, the more antifragile you can become. They will throw you under the bus to save themselves long before they come to your aid. Stay out of their reach by never relying on handouts.
Above all, becoming antifragile is a matter of mindset. Become fiercely independent and self-sufficient. Adopt an attitude of being able to achieve whatever you set your mind to. Put aside all lazy tendencies and always aim to improve. Accept the hardships you encounter as challenges to overcome. It is a process that takes time, but with persistence you will become unstoppable. You will become antifragile.
This is a guest post by Michael. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.