We’re back in the Big Smoke and spending more time than ever with our pal, Brian Johnson.
Philosopher extraordinaire and the mastermind behind Optimize —an online portal that delivers more wisdom in less time— Brian is inspiration on steroids.
If you’re as lazy as I am, you’ll love Brian’s minimalist approach to getting better at life.
Hero Training 102
In his Hero Training 101 seminar —which is based on Joseph Campbell’s well known book The Hero’s Journey and features the fascinating documentary Finding Joe— Brian emphasizes the importance of getting really comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Our five-part Hero Training 101 series chronicles the seven months we spent untethered. In Hero Training 102 we’ll look at how we can continue our learning now that we’re settled again.
Ed: This is the fourth post in our Hero Training 102 series. Here are the first three:
Building Your Antifragile Muscle (With a Friend)
Sporty and I are all about becoming antifragile. We got the idea from Brian Johnson who got it from Nassim Nicholas Taleb who wrote a book called Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder.
I spoke about it in the benefits of injury installment, but I figured it’s a meaty enough topic to warrant further discussion.
Meaty in the most plant-based sense of the word, obvs.
Antifragility Requires a Solid Foundation
Being antifragile means accepting whatever life throws at you in heroic style. Your mantra is: Bring it on. Not in a puffy-chested braggy kind of way, but like a warrior.
You have strength for two because you’ve been working on your fundamentals.
You eat well.
You sleep enough.
You exercise regularly.
You meditate consistently.
You make room for solitude.
Humans are a lot like houses. Without a solid foundation we quickly fall apart. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs highlights this perfectly. When our basic needs aren’t taken care of, we’re ill-equipped to face the day.
It’s boring and unsexy in the extreme, but if we’re to have any hope at all of getting good at life, we first need to focus on the fundies.
A quick (not so) side note on the subject of sleep. A recent study revealed some alarming findings when it comes people’s nighttime streaming habits. It turns out 85% of Americans watch Netflix in bed and 35% say that it disrupts their sleep.
I mean, if you know it’s messing with your shuteye, why do it?
How Fast Can You Bounce Back?
Once the fundamentals are in place you can turn your attention to loftier goals. The Equanimity Game is a great way to build your antifragile muscle. When stuff happens, use the opportunity to see how fast you can bounce back.
Start with small things, like when you drop your peanut butter toast facedown on the kitchen floor.
Wrong, You simply bend down, clean up the mess and then make yourself another slice. No moaning, screaming, wailing or foot stomping.
Here’s what the Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius says when he drops his toast.
“When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.”
See. Easy peasy.
Getting antifragile takes work and it’s no weekend gig, either. You’re in it for the long haul. It’s worth it, though. Like super flippin’ spectacularly worth it.
If you get my drift.
Sometimes You Need a Little Help from a Friend
Maslow reckons our ultimate need (it’s not a goal, it’s a need) is to self-actualize. Once we’ve got the first four levels of his pyramid squared away, we need to focus our attention on that.
But here’s thing. You have to do it by yourself. Only you can self-actualise you. You can’t pay your personal trainer or philosopher guru guy to do it for you.
Here’s the other thing. There’s no reason you can’t find a friend to support and encourage you on your hero’s journey to self-actualisation.
Sporty and I are blessed to have found our ‘someone’ in each other. For the past 21 years we’ve been supporting one another as we navigate life’s ups and downs.
Eric & Peety: a Mutual Rescue
Not everyone is that lucky. Take Eric for example. Diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, Type II Diabetes and weighing 340 pounds, his doctor gave him five years to live.
Then he met Peety—and everything changed.
At the suggestion of his nutritionist, Eric adopted a dog in a bid to get more active. While he was never labeled as such, Peety certainly played the role of an emotional support dog.
Eric returned the favor in buckets. These two were buddies, accountability partners, best friends and training pals. They saved each other for sure.
It just goes to show, you don’t need to be from the same species to form an unbreakable bond.
One that will quickly lead to you both becoming antifragile badasses.