Forward by Judith E. Glaser
Author of Conversational Intelligence
Si and I met about a decade ago. I had no way of putting words to his brilliance and insatiable curiosity. He had an appetite for learning – and it went further than that. He had an unbridled spirit to learn and to know more and do more with what he was learning than almost anyone I had ever met.
He wasn’t satisfied with learning what others knew. He was gifted with the desire and ability to learn something new, integrate it with other concepts, and transform his perspectives into new ways that could bring wisdom and insight to others. That framework for facing reality with gusto and curiosity has enabled Si to embrace and also add to our understanding of Antifragility, introduced by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder – a new concept that helps us think about and understand the new DNA for the 21st Century.
Behind this new word are concepts that Si brings to life – as he paints a world that is evolving around us; a vision that asks us to embrace rather than fear our world of constant changes; a world that calls us to work with others rather than against others; and a world that beckons us to see ‘shocks’ as activators of our next level of greatness, and toughness. With this comes a new wisdom for taking on and understanding that change will not recede – instead will become what defines success.
What Creates Growth
One of the most powerful and important aspects of our human growth system is the ability to overcome adversity. When our adversity is adversaries, we can use strategies for defending ourselves such as attacking back when adversaries come after us, we can run away and protect ourselves, and we can give into what is happening in order to quell the fire, so to speak. These are self-defence options that have been transferred from generation to generation – and represent I-centric thinking.
We are, however, in a new epic time in our history where changes drive us every day, 24/7. We have no choice; we cannot stop changes from taking place. We have become a highly interactive, highly engaging world, and engagements and interaction creates conflicts, disruptions and in the best of all worlds – disruptive innovations – and that’s a good thing. Healthy engagement extends our life span. When we become isolated, and fail to engage, we shorten our life span – this is part of the Neuroscience of WE®. Human beings need each other to grow and shared ‘growth challenges’ activate a higher performing immune system that extends our lives, gives us new strengths for tackling difficult challenges and prevents us from stepping back from the changes that bring us our greatest success.
So where does all this fit into this wonderful book, The Antifragility Edge?
Si nailed it when he identified that what human beings need to thrive, is to redefine how we think and act around the changes and challenges of our lives. To think of challenges and changes as something healthy – something that is built into our immune systems as a requirement for activating our immune systems for growth, and something that happens through our conversations with others. So in this incredible book you will discover how to become a ‘change Ninja’, and learn how to arrest the fear we have built up for ‘being shocked by lightning of change’ and see this as a new channel for growth.
Conversations activate growth and strength – if we know that we can create more space in our lives for the kind of conversations that bring insight and healthy change – we need to make more space for this. Our CreatingWE Institute has spent decades in researching companies comparing those that are enormously successful to those that are not. In Si’s new book we see many, powerful ways to get in front of the change curve and catalyze growth in our teams, our organizations and ourselves.
We’ve learned from the field of Epigenetics that 50% of our DNA has been encoded to be activated by the environment, and 50% has been encoded to be impervious to change or impact. This means – translated into everyday language – that conversations between and among people are the most powerful environment that activates change. So as you read this book, keep in mind that a new framework is emerging in the world. One that asks us to catalyze new thinking, to challenge each other – to even ‘shock’ each other into experimenting, testing out and partnering for success.
Judith E. Glaser is CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc. and Chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is an Organizational Anthropologist, and consults to Fortune 500 Companies. Judith is the author of Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results (Bibliomotion). Visit www.conversationalintelligence.com; firstname.lastname@example.org, @CreatingWE, 212-307-4386