Posted On January 27, 2023

Thre are three types of people, he said, and my mind has been racing ever since.


In a Zoom call this week I chatted with another speaker for an upcoming conference. He and I want our messages complement each other and he offered some of his presentation highlights and one thing he said has rattled around in my head since our call.

He said there are three types of people – and when he said this he was quoting someone else but I don’t remember who – he said there are fragile people who when pushed or dropped or damaged, they break. Once broken, they don’t heal. We all kinda know people like this.

The second type of person is resilient. When dropped, they get back up. They don’t break. And though it sounds laudable, they don’t change. Each time they’re pushed or dropped or damaged, they simply get back up and resume.

And there’s the third type which he very inelegantly referred to as anti-fragile. When pushed or dropped or damaged, they get back up, learn from what’s happened, and change so that it won’t happen again. These people prove remarkably successful over time, he said, in both business and in life.

And he went further and applied this concept to organizations. In this post-pandemic business climate, he said, we’re seeing organizations who were fragile and broke due to the pandemic, the organizations who were resilient but simply resumed what they’ve always been doing, and the ones that are anti-fragile and are using pandemic-learned lessons to become stronger.

Well, I can’t hear stuff like this and not start thinking about the people around me. My wife is anti-fragile. She learns from her mistakes, and they’re seldom made twice. My business manager is definitely anti-fragile. She negotiates for me and though we may have been taken advantage of in the past, it’s never happened the same way twice. She learns. She changes. Which is good.

And, of course, I think about my kids. They’re a mix and it’s situational. I have children who have their athletic weaknesses revealed and they change to fix the weakness. However, they may make mistakes with friendships and get right back up to only to have those same mistakes happen again and again – a resilient behavior. They’ll learn what’s necessary to perform well in class but repeat the same mistakes regarding rules my wife and I have about our home – again, a resilient behavior. None of them are fragile, they’re either resilient or anti-fragile depending on the situation.

And the questions continue: how do we raise our kids or groom our colleagues or employees to become anti-fragile. Are we born one way or another or is this a learned behavior? And is today’s coddling society today raising our kids to be fragile and can we fix it? Or them?

And what am I? I don’t think I’m fragile but am I resilient or anti-fragile? I don’t know.

I do know this though – this other speaker needs to bring the goods next month. He’s started my head spinning and I didn’t allot enough time in our Zoom call to ask these questions and we had to cut it short – a simple mistake I’ve made too many times.

And, well, I guess that answers it.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep It Real.



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