Antifragility isn’t the same as invulnerability. In many ways antifragility and vulnerability hold hands.
Without vulnerability, life is small. When we close ourselves to anything bad coming from outside of our lives, we also close ourselves to what is beautiful and breathtaking because these tend to be found around relationships, in those things we create with others, or in the creations we offer to one another.
There’s no other way. Vulnerability comes with me being really me and you being really you, When we contribute into one another’s life, these gifts can be misunderstood, rejected, or not valued.
We can always blame someone else – I didn’t make this, I don’t make the rules, take it our leave it – but we’re not being real to ourselves. When it’s the art of our lives, there’s always risk.
V is for Vulnerable is an alphabet book for adults from Seth Godin – it happened to introduce me to the doodling of Hugh Macleod who inspired me to add the challenge of doodling to an intention of blogging every day for a year. I just started even though my doodles were pretty dire – there’s always a risk.
When we make ourselves vulnerable, though, we provide ourselves with the possibility of beginning, or changing direction, of enlarging our world, and loving another human being.
Brené Brown has many things to share about making ourselves vulnerable in her crucial work Daring Greatly. The title comes from some words spoken by Theodore Roosevelt in a speech on republicanism that he made in France:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit goes to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly … .”
We have nowhere to hide but we are free to be our most true Self.
SOMETHING TO DO: If you have been criticised in the past and the revisiting of this still stings, and if you dare greatly, for a moment at least, take a journal and write out what had happened, being open to the growth points and moments of possibility you notice now, though possibly didn’t notice then. Write this story out again, this time with your learnings included. Each time we do this, we grow stronger.