Antifragility – Difficult Conversations

Antifragility—Difficult Conversations


Welcome to #4 of the Series on Antifragility

Difficult Conversations


Previously we discussed the Mindset of Antifragility which is basic to changing behavior.  The Antifragility Mindset is  Open as Opposed to  Fixed. (link for first antifragility article)


The 4 Behavior Habits that build and assist Antifragility are

  • The Pause
  • Daily Bold Action
  • Difficult Conversation
  • Seek Criticism


In Antifragility the script is flipped whereby we see Stress as a strength and a confidence builder.  In other words, to be sought out rather than avoided.


Another Basic tenet of Antifragility is that we show up as a professional rather than as an amateur.  The definition of this state of being is:

The Amateur—I do things if I feel like doing them.  Feeling generates action.

The Professional takes action whether they feel like it or not.  They know that action generates feelings.


Summon your most courageous self.  Spend some time thinking about that version of you and ask yourself, “What does that version of me look like?”


 What are my fears, how would my most courageous self handle those.

The first two behaviors, the Pause and Daily Bold Action are individual or personal.  We do them ourselves to enhance Antifragility. 


Difficult conversations are social rather than personal behaviors.  They involve interaction with others.


The previous Script often says that we build our confidence to handle our fears. 

The flipped Script  says that confidence is built by walking into fears and a means to building confidence.  


Difficult conversations are often handled with avoidance.  Therefore they can  take too long to happen.  The conversation can change a situation for the better but when delayed time is wasted in the old dysfunctional way of being.  As a business professional who is concerned with the People Decision for growth and an A Player culture, the Difficult Conversation is essential.


Often the external or internal conversation about having the Difficult Conversation  is:

“Did you have that difficult conversation? 

“No, I’m not ready yet.”

Too often difficult conversations take way too long to happen, or never happen at all, with everyone suffering in the process.

It’s time to flip the script on when and how you should step into life’s ‘tough talks’.   

  1. We do not need to build confidence in order to have difficult conversation,  we gain confidence by having the conversation.
  2. It is essential to express what you feel and want and this aspect is often where agreement can be had if the expression is about a situation rather than blaming the person you are talking with.
  3. As a step forward, Determine, what are the conversations you are avoiding?
  4. Summon your most courageous self
  1. Use a Framework  that includes Discussion of the Situation, Complication and Resolution

The first two items, situation and complication can often be agreed upon.  Beginning with the agreement gives the time  to see that agreement is possible in the situation definition as well as the complication or difficulty.

Resolution:  What can we do to resolve?   This can include a set of choices one of which may not seem ideal,  but is necessary for resolution if other ways cannot be achieved.

This Behavior that can become a habit can be an extremely effective way to affect success.

Links to review all previous blogs.


The Pause

Daily Bold Action

Difficult conversations 

Seek Criticism

Thank you for reading.  


Eric Partaker,  The Three Alarms
Kelly McGonegal, The Upside of Stress, audio book
Nassim Nicolas Taleb,  Antifragile—things that gain from disorder
Mindset, by Carol Dweck