One day into the New Year and so far I have: a blown brake line on my truck; a dead heater in my shop; frozen pipes, and my washing machine stopped working and started throwing error codes. None of these issues existed yesterday.
What if this happened to you? Show of hands, how many of you would feel gut punched by this? How many of you are adding up the repair costs in your head, thinking about your bank account, and would start thinking about what Christmas presents you can take back or sell? If such a morning would ruin your day or your week, you need to embrace the mental aspects of antifragility.
Antifragility is a concept that men need to embrace. Antifragility is defined as “a property of systems that increase in capability, resilience, or robustness as a result of stressors, shocks, volatility, noise, mistakes, faults, attacks, or failures.” Here is where mindset matters. You can look at these problems and despair. Or you can get mildly annoyed and look at them as learning opportunities.
I planned to go deer hunting this morning. We finally have snow cover and the cold should help keep the deer in cover. Got up early, got the truck warmed up and was ready to head out to my stand. At the end of my drive, my brakes felt very soft. I stopped and did a quick walk around the truck, and saw a wet spot along the frame behind a rear tire. So I very carefully pulled into my shop. I normally keep my shop at 40°-50° in the winter so I can work in it without it being too uncomfortable. It was barely above freezing. I walked in the house, and my wife told me that the washing machine wasn’t working. I went to wash my hands in the utility sink, and no water. Great start to the day. Do you crawl back in bed at that point? Do you rant or whine? Hell no, you get to work.
This morning the temperature was -32°F. I got into the utility space off my basement with a space heater. I found where the insulation sheet had fallen, replaced it and had it secured to it won’t come out of place again. Bonus, I now know where the lines are ran so I don’t have to chase pipe if this happens again.
Tackled the garage heater next. As cold as it has been, it looked like it just popped an internal fuse. Replaced the fuse, got the blower on, but it still wouldn’t fire up. More trouble shooting and there was no gas coming in from the inline regulator. A little time again on Google, and as long as I keep the tank under 80°F I can plumb it directly to the internal regulator. Done and the shop is warming up, and a new inline regulator is ordered.
2 minutes on Google and I had a PDF of my washers repair manual. Following the troubleshooting tree, something was dragging long the drum of the washer. Following the steps, pulled the drum and found a couple of socks wedged between the drum and the tub. Got everything back together and running fine.
So the only thing left is my truck. Jacked it up, pulled the tire, found the cracked brake line. With the power of the internet, I have parts ordered and they will be delivered to my preferred parts store in the morning. A full kit of pre formed lines is only $100, and I have all the tools I need to replace it.
By noon, everything was fixed or I at least I had parts coming and a plan. Got done in time to eat lunch with my family and get my kids down for afternoon nap. We adapt and overcome, rather than letting bumps in the road derail us. We talk about becoming anti-fragile in big terms, but it needs a foundation in mindset that setbacks are nothing more than challenges to be conquered.