The Secret Of Strength: Flex Your Kindness Muscle

USS Normandy Provides Aid in Haiti

I just read Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s amazing book Antifragile. In his book, Taleb points out that there is no word for the opposite if fragile. Most people would say that strong, sturdy or robust was the opposite of fragile, but Taleb posits that if fragile is something that gets worse when force is applied, then the opposite of fragile is something that gets better when force is applied. Sturdy he suggests is the middle. something that is sturdy neither gets worse or better when force is applied.

Taleb uses muscles one example of antifragile. When no force is applied they atrophy. When force is applied, say by lifting weights, muscles over compensate and get bigger and stronger.

Now I posit that kindness is also antifragile. In times of opulence, kindness seems to atrophy, but in times of crisis people of all social and economic levels come to one another’s aide.

Now Taleb points out that one way to avoid crisis is to become antifragile. Maybe the way to avoid catastrophic collapses like we have been seeing lately is to flex your kindness muscle.