Do you know what happens when you apply strain to healthy human muscles? They grow stronger.
Do you know what happens when you put stress on healthy human bones? They grow stronger.
Do you know what happens when you put stress on a healthy human immune system? It gets stronger.
Do you know what happens when you put stress on a wine glass? It breaks.
That’s because a wine glass is fragile. Humans are antifragile.
Antifragile is a term coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to describe the properties of an object, system or being that gets stronger – more resilient, when exposed to moderate stressors.
And because resilience is such a foundational element of wellbeing, it would be negligent of educators and parents to deprive students of the chance to fail, or to shield them from healthy doses of guilt, fear, frustration, disappointment, sadness, and loss.
Because we are antifragile, these experiences tend to make us stronger – in the long run.
Of course, it’s natural to want our children and students to be safe and happy – all the time. But ironically, the more we try to protect them, the more we may risk doing them harm – in the long run.