Some billionaire decides to give up screwing super models in his golden palace 900 feet above the most powerful city in the world.
He loves the country that made him his fortune so much that he chooses to take the slings and arrows of evil media elites and global establishment to save it. He goes through an onslaught of pressure and smears that would destroy any other man in a day. How does this man do it?
How did he beat the two most powerful political dynasties of our time? He had to defeat the sitting White House administration, the media, both political parties, the deep state, the celebrities, the smears, the think tanks, the international organizations, the foreign politicians, the Pope…everyone.
Some call it luck. Some call it great instincts. Some call it intelligence. Some call it a talent for hiring great people. I think, yes, it’s definitely a combination of all those things, but it’s more than that. Trump is no ordinary man. Trump has formed himself to be something unstoppable.
Trump is antifragile.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb first coined ‘Antifragile’ in his fourth book in a four-volume “philosophical essay” on uncertainty, similarly entitled Antifragile. Taleb is described as “an essayist, scholar, statistician, former trader, and risk analyst, whose work focuses on problems of randomness, probability, and uncertainty”. Essentially, his books start with the premise that the world is random and he explores how to deal with the chaos.
His most famous book, The Black Swan, pushed for a “robust” society, able to withstand difficult-to- predict events (9/11, Google and the internet rise, World War I, etc.). Taleb suggests that a robust society is one with “antifragility in systems, that is, an ability to benefit and grow from a certain class of random events, errors, and volatility, as well as convex tinkering as a method of scientific discovery, by which he means that decentralized experimentation outperforms directed research”.
Whereas fragility is defined as a concave sensitivity to stressors, leading to a negative sensitivity to increase in volatility, antifragility is defined as a convex response to a stressor or source of harm, leading to a positive sensitivity to increase in volatility. It’s not just that something is resilient or robust and is able to stay the same. If something is antifragile, it actually gets better from shocks. It adapts to circumstances at the time and makes itself better. Basically, it’s as good as you get.
An antifragile company would consistently grow and become more profitable from market changes while competitors go bankrupt. An antifragile country would only improve the standard of living and safety for its citizens while neighbors suffer economic bubbles and recessions. An antifragile army would only get stronger and smarter when attacked while opposing armies would become weaker and stretched thin. Once antifragile, these people would prefer chaos. They would see chaos as an advantage because it destroys their enemies and competitors while they keep growing stronger.
A company becomes antifragile by decentralized experimentation and tinkering, adapting to stressors and becoming less fragile to future conflicts and surprises. It creates systems that aren’t negatively affected by chaos that might negatively impact other companies. So, the question I ask is whether a person can become antifragile too.
What if a person spends a lifetime in business, dealing with the media, lawyers, politicians, celebrities, institutions, newspaper smears, bureaucracies, fighting them all? Could they become antifragile? In theory, they could adapt appropriately and develop a system that gets stronger when chaos happens. They could develop a system that improves when chaos happens and remains unaffected by it. They could develop a system that prefers chaos.
By that standard, in a scenario where a person prefers chaos, that person could take on everyone else if only they could create enough chaos that everyone would collapse. Maybe you bait the media just enough and goad the politicians. You get them talking about whatever you want to talk about that week. You say things to get people riled up and wait for them to make a mistake. You get people out of their comfort zone. You make them get down in the mud with you. You make them fight a different way than they’ve fought their entire life. You make them have to adapt or die.
If you want the media cycle to be about Mexican illegal immigrants being rapists and murderers, you just say that and watch everyone stumble. If you want the politicians to take a stance on Muslims and risk betraying their base, you propose a Muslim ban after a major terror attack. As people stumble and mess up, being forced to decide between betraying their base, betraying their donors, betraying their colleagues, and betraying their media handlers, you watch them fall apart. And then when they finally think they’ve got it figured out, you hit them again. But this time you get them to talk about something even more ridiculous.
When people come to see you at rallies, you talk about jobs and the economy. You cater to their bread and butter issues. As media puppets fall apart, you become stronger.
When the torch holder for the oldest American political dynasty calls you the chaos candidate, you let him know that’s exactly what you want. You use his attack to your advantage, calling him “low-energy”, and make sure he’s aware that it’s his downfall. Then, as he tries to give a somber interview about decorum and the accomplishments of his brother to Wolf Blitzer, you send a tweet.