My current intellectual stretch book is Antifragile by Nicholas Nassim Taleb. I’ve read several others in his series including Black Swan. An aside: I’m reading Evagrius Ponticus for my spiritual development book and for relaxation I’m reading again (first time in the 90s) the Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald. All excellent writers.

You know what fragile is. The banking system in 2007-2008. The good wine glasses or plates and cups in your cupboard. Your iPhone when you drop it (if you go case-less).

Fragile breaks when stressed. Antifragile gets stronger when stressed. Your muscles when you work out. You are actually tearing the muscle fibers and when they heal they are stronger. That’s why you don’t work the same muscle group every day, by the way.

My granddaughter is a swimmer. She was always at the top of her group earlier this year. The coaches moved her up a group. The stress of the competition makes her improve her times even though she isn’t at the top—right now.

I thought about this in terms of spiritual development. You can cruise along with the same prayer, books, service. Or you can challenge yourself with deeper learning, more intense service. Break the mold a little in order to be stronger as it “heals”.

What of the people we know with hard, brittle faith. When troubles, stresses, come along or when challenged by new ideas, the faith breaks. It’s fragile.

Or the people who grow stronger every time they step out in faith to experience something new, perform a greater service, learn something deeper from scripture. When stresses come along, they can deal with them. They are antifragile.

Where are you? And where would you like to be?

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