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 attempting to make your life antifragile there are a lot of aspects you need to address. It’s a process, and one that I have been undertaking over the last 14 years, without knowing that’s what I was doing.
It has led to a lifestyle that’s unique compared to most normies and it’s probably not for everyone. Though I’ll admit I don’t think my situation could be considered 100% antifragile, I do feel there are a lot of situations where if the world went completely tits up my family would thrive comparatively to others.
It’s a grind to become antifragile and you need to look at different areas that lead to sovereignty.
Food is an easy place to start with a lot of low-hanging fruit.
Our food system is centralized and favors big businesses. It is built around just-in-time delivery and, as such, is inherently fragile. This is likely something you have witnessed firsthand over the last few years with supply chains being suddenly cut off and panic buying setting in.
On top of this just-in-time delivery, a large portion of what we’re sold as food barely resembles anything you should put in your body. A general rule of thumb is that if it comes in a package, you should be questioning it.
The best approach for antifragility when it comes to food is to divorce yourself from supermarkets. Ditch anything that comes in packaging as much as possible. Depending on your situation, this can be a challenge, but the reward is worth it.
Make a habit of spending with local farmers, small producers and at your local farmers’ market. When visiting farmers’ markets, be cautious of “resellers” that buy in bulk and try to pass the products off as their own — they are not much better than supermarkets. Make a point of meeting your farmers; ask them questions and talk with them. They will appreciate your interest.
Once you’ve divorced yourself from the big players, you can take a massive leap forward in antifragility by producing your own food. You might not have 100 acres of land but there’s always something you can do with the resources you’ve got. At the very least, you could grow some herbs or start with low-tech mushroom growing.
You will soon discover after a period of learning with producing food, it is easy to create abundance. When you are producing in excess to your needs, you can sell or trade for other items that you aren’t able to produce yourself. Work toward producing your food with minimal outside inputs — if at all possible, completely close the loop. If you aren’t relying on external inputs at all, the world can implode and you’ll keep on producing.
Learn to cook, preserve, pickle and ferment. Not only will these skills allow you to store your own food and experience finer culinary delights, they are all invaluable in any kind of shit-hits-the-fan situation.
For me and my family, the approach we took to food led us down a path of a chemical-free market garden: Feeding ourselves and our local community, generating income, connecting us with other local, like-minded producers and enabling us to thrive when the rest of the world was in a panic about possible food shortages.
Health And Fitness
Get yourself healthy! If you’re taking a decent approach to tackling antifragility in food, this will most likely already have you heading down the right path. There are many approaches you can take with food as far as your health goes. I’m not a nutritionist and I’m not here to tell you what is right or wrong, but if you put good fuel in your body instead of crap, you will reap the benefits.
So you’re fueling your body with optimal foods? Now, you’ll want to get yourself fit. There are very few situations in life where being fit and healthy won’t bring you advantages. Being “fit” can be interpreted in many different ways but ultimately when it comes to antifragility you’re looking for a general all-around fitness where you are physically able to complete 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 yards isn’t going to help you in the real world. You need to be an all-arounder. Start where you are and apply effort consistently over time.
I train five days per week and have done so for as long as I can remember (with just a brief hiatus before 2020). On top of typical intense gym work, I’ve also trained in a couple styles of martial arts for close to 20 years. As well as the obvious physical benefits of this, training has a number of mental benefits that all add up to antifragility.
Between food and training I have avoided needing to visit any doctor for more than 10 years. Health and fitness is key to becoming truly antifragile.
Income And Finances
Let’s tackle income.
There’s really two main things you need to consider: First, you need to bring in more income than you spend. To me (and probably a lot of you) this is just common sense. Either find ways to earn more or cut down on your expenses any way possible. When it comes down to it, people can achieve a fairly comfortable existence with far less money than you would expect. You need to snap your brain out of that consumer mindset and stop feeding your dopamine receptors with frivolous purchases. You need to look at all of your expenses and ask yourself if you really need it. Sure, you can spend money on enjoying life, but don’t make it part of who you are. Find a way to be content without the need to spend.
Second, you should be looking at where that income money comes from. If you are relying on a single income from one employer you can very quickly end up in a world of trouble. Start a side hustle of some kind or start multiple. It doesn’t have to be huge but have it as a safety net and something that you could scale up if needed. Potentially look at businesses that people will always need even when times are tough. For example, everyone needs to eat. If you’re running some kind of popular business producing food in good times people will be turning to you in times of need.
When it comes to finances, there are really two schools of thought: “Debt is bad” on the 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 correctly. When economies start to falter like we are seeing now, debt is definitely bad. Debt is leverage and as the saying goes, when the tide goes out, we see who is swimming naked. If you’re in debt, the chances of getting financially wiped out are exponentially higher. Protect yourself by not being in debt.
Between a lack of debt and income greater than expenses, you will be able to create a significant financial safety net over time. Use that to your advantage.
Community is generally the last thing that comes to mind when talking about antifragility. In reality, no matter how skilled and self-reliant you are there will always be a time when you need other people.
Find your tribe. Get involved or build community around yourself. Put yourself on the line and go out of your way to help people when they need it. Develop relationships.
Produce something that people in your community need.
It may not seem like it but this will bring its own rewards.
Skills And Knowledge Development
Teach yourself new skills constantly. Learn to build and repair things, service your car (or at least know how to), learn to weld, work with wood, cook, ferment and preserve foods. Constantly learn new, practical competencies and put them into application. You don’t need to be an expert at everything, but a broad range of capabilities will allow you to get the job done when needed.
Not only will this range of knowledge be useful for yourself throughout life and get you out of some sticky situations, you will also become valuable to others when they need you (see community above).
Dependency And Mindset
You can work as hard as you like to make yourself antifragile while the world stays the same. Everything around you, the system you are captured within, is inherently fragile. It has been built either to maximize profit or to extract value from you. It most definitely has not been built to react rapidly to changing situations.
You need to extract yourself from “the system” as much as possible and sever any dependency you have on institutions. The less reliant you are on government, medical, food or other big businesses the more antifragile you can become. They will throw you under the bus to save themselves far sooner than coming to your aid. Keep yourself out of their reach by never relying on handouts.
Above all else, becoming antifragile is about mindset. Become fiercely independent and self-reliant. Adopt an attitude of being able to achieve anything you set your mind to. Cast aside all tendencies towards laziness and always aim towards self-improvement. Accept trials you face 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. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.