It would be a shame if we went through all this and everything stayed the same


A good way to test something is to add stress and see what happens. Which is currently happening on a global scale. Ready or not, our governments, our leaders, our healthcare systems, and our individual ways of life have all been exposed to the fire.


/ˈstres ˌtest/

: (sometimes called torture testing) a stress test is a form of deliberately intense or thorough testing used to determine the stability of a given system, critical infrastructure, or entity. It involves testing beyond normal operational capacity, often to a breaking point, in order to observe the results.

Only a crazy person would have chosen this. Almost everybody is hurting in some way. These are challenging times, to say the least.

That doesn’t mean we can’t use them.

In his book ‘Antifragile’ Nassim Taleb posits 3 kinds of system:

  • The first is Fragile which, when tested will break.
  • The second is Robust which, when tested, will hold up for a while, before breaking.
  • But the third type of system is Antifragile. This kind of system actually grows stronger when confronted by stressors in the form of chaotic inputs.

(A good example of an Antifragile system would be your own body which, when given a small dose of poison (through the process of hormesis) becomes more resistant to that poison in the future.)

Think about that for a second.

First, if this pandemic is the mother of all stress tests, how are your systems holding up? And second, how can you move them along the spectrum from Fragile to Antifragile?

In other words: how can you use your current circumstances to better and more bulletproof your future?

Now, this is only a small thing. A little idea. But ideas can be powerful. The concept of antifragility may not be the light at the end of the tunnel for you. But it may be a light you can use to get yourself through the tunnel (and better prepare yourself for the next one).

In the prologue of his book, Taleb remarks that:

Wind extinguishes a candle and energises fire… You want to be the fire, and wish for the wind.


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46 thoughts on “ Stress : Test ”

  1. Hi J Always enjoy your posts. Trust you are keeping well. Often wear my kintsugi pin and think of you and Jenny. Give her a hug from me. Take care. Bev

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bev Bev!
      First: Thankyou. Second: it is lovely to hear from you. How are you guys doing with everything?
      Will absolutely give Jen a hug from you. I know that she’ll really appreciate it.
      Big hug back. And all the good things.
      – J xx


  2. I believe my own strength has been tempered by the wind blown fires of stress. Hand-to-mouth single motherhood determined to provide a rich, positive life for a child provides just such stress. You dig down deep and live each challenge as though it’s just the next step in your life — which, of course, it is, even though it may not have been your choice.

    This time is just now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thankyou so much for this. Your honesty is beautiful. And you’re right. Fire burns some people down and tempers others. This is largely due to the choice of how to face a situation. So well done, for choosing to face it in a way that tempered you. You are badass. ;-)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for (1) strangely finding my hidden blog and commenting on it, and (2) writing this, which gives context to an insane spiritual adventure I’m currently in the middle of.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. If this had happened to be several years ago, I might have been a mess, but my hubby and I are having no trouble getting through this. A few years back, I/we had mounted considerable debt, but once we eliminated it and kept it off our boards, we then found ourselves not as stressed as someone with no job at all and debt on top of that. I am ever so grateful for that too because even though I cannot work, the one income suffices. But part of it too is because we are no longer spending the money we might be if we were out and about. Staying at home, we spend less.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This is really great. Leverage is a huge source of both stress and fragility for a lot of people. You guys have done good work here. Well done!
      Thanks for reading, and for writing this. You are awesome. – J

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Hello James, Your posts always give me pause to think and sometimes I read and wait days to let my thoughts come through. This post, while brief in length is so deep in application. I am thinking of this idea of fire. Around the globe we are being tested tremendously, our systems of every kind stressed, etc. And I can’t help but contemplate the difference between burning things to the ground on purpose (for reasons of incompetence or even more sinister, cruelty for profit) versus systems breaking down under pressure because they were not strongly built in the first place. I suppose I mean, some systems will not sustain through this pandemic because they are not meant to. This idea of letting go of what no longer serves, letting burn what must burn so we can start over. Maybe we do not have all the answers yet but isn’t it such an important time to pay close attention, as you I know always do. As you say, look inward at ourselves, and then also out into the world in which we each have a place. Please I do thank you for sharing your grand and gracious mind. :)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes. Yes. Yes.
      I agree. Wholeheartedly. It is not always bad to let some needless structures fail. We should be looking after the individuals, and letting the companies that could not survive for two weeks without bail-outs burn.
      Sounds kinda harsh. I guess it is. But it is a strange thing, to squander resources which could be put to much better use to maintain such fragile and useless structures.
      I love reading your words. Wherever I find them. Big hug, and all the love x

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh, yes, 100%. So funny as I received your kind reply I was reading Rebecca Solnit, her emphasis on the idea that the process of transformation is mostly decay, the breaking down of the way a thing was, so that a new thing, more beautiful, may eventually emerge. But as you say, not without the harsh. I am hopeful that when we rebuild we do so from a place much stronger and more worthy of lasting. You spark much thought life inside of me. I love reading your words, too, dear friend. Sending you so much love and hugs always. xx

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I love Rebecca Solnit.
          Did you know, before a caterpillar turns into a butterfly it literally dissolves into goo? This is a real thing.
          I love our conversations, and feel blessed to have them. Big hug back xx

          Liked by 2 people

          1. That is absolutely wild! I did not know it. And in her writings Ms. Solnit references this, we have this mythical image of a creature in the cocoon, half caterpillar, half butterfly, but you will not ever find such a thing, it does not happen that way at all. Just a thing rotting, gooing. Just incredible what that reveals, right, about our natural processes. Miracles, really. You are such a joy to speak with, J. Every. Single. Time. Our conversations are a big bear hug and I am so grateful to have them. :)

            Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks James. This is the mother of all reality. While some are yet to accept it,others have and are already moving on by setting up machineries for success. I belong to the latter. We do not have to allow life happen to us,We must strive to happen to life.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Great post. I think that the first thing to consider is the current position of the systems itself (some people are naturally more stress-prone than the other). Then the level of stressors would be different for various systems :)

    Liked by 2 people

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