According to OPEN AI: “Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a thought-provoking book that explores the concept of ‘antifragility’ – a property of systems that increase in capability, resilience, or robustness as a result of stressors, shocks, volatility, noise, mistakes, faults, attacks, or failures.Taleb argues that instead of merely being robust or resilient (i.e., able to withstand shocks), certain systems actually benefit from shocks and become stronger, which he terms as ‘antifragile.’
I could go down so many rabbit holes personally with this book and how it pertains to my everyday life. Raising kids, being a wife, running a several thousand acre farm, running a non-profit, actively working with an orphanage overseas and the many facets of having so many lives so far away depending on you, running a gifts shop for several years, getting a doctoral degree, or the latest endeavor which adds to the chaos is starting a new customer focused business within our small town. You all know that we have a busy life… I get asked often how do you do it all? I honestly am not sure besides my typical answer of we have a lot of help. If I had to break it down further I would tell you that we put in an extreme amount of hours each day, we don’t watch t.v. often, and we don’t relax often either. Neither my husband or I enjoy being stagnant. I paused on page 58 of this book talking about the frequency of stressors and how they matter. I joke that my stress has stress and sometimes I wonder why I even do it all. Taleb states that, “Humans tend to do better with acute than with chronic stressor, particularly when the former are followed by ample time for recovery, which allows the stressor to do their jobs as messengers.” How can stress become a messenger? What can we learn from them? Taleb states that for stress to become beneficial it has to have a ample time for recovery. Something I am not great at. Something my husband is not great at. Something that collectively as I was reading this book I lured him into it while he was driving the combine. Several phone calls later we agree that we have a lot to unpack and soak in with this book and also… “What kills us makes others Stronger.” For Glanzer the Rabbit Hole that I have chosen to go down for this blog is our newly opened Bistro called Fred’s Garage – which somehow actually falls in all three categories that Taleb introduces. I have created this chart above to help you have a pictorial representation.
It’s all about perspective….
Back stage – We are extremely fragile. We are tired: I couldn’t even tell you the amount of hours that I work per week on this business. Easily over 60 hours. Just SATURDAY I personally put in 16 hours. Together My husband and I on that one day consistently spend over 30 hours busing our booties with little to no break. Financially we have spent a ton of our savings, because we know we are supposed to do this… but the toll that it has taken on our family is unmatched.
Front Stage: As of last week ours is only one family sit down restaurant. From the beginning when we built it we have always been the only indoor place to eat, but there still was a food truck that was semi-covered with booths underneath. Our little town does not have a grocery store either. It’s lonely being the only one…. The community definitely sees us as robust… but I would argue that pushes me even more to keep things fresh and different so that it does not get stagnant.
Back Stage: The effort and finances that are put into this place are insane. Just our weekly food order cost us around $5,000 per week. I also spend hours working on recipes and new concepts so that we continue to have genuine interest.
The sad truth of being a small business as opposed to a corporation is that we are more likely to not stay in business than a corporation. We do fall under the category of antifragile according to Taleb because we are in a circumference of places to eat within 20 min of each other. We are close enough as a food establishment that people could choose to drive the short distance to eat anywhere and anything that they choose..
Because of this it is very important that we maintain a high quality visit and food. It’s also very important that we continue out of the box ideas. I mean… Where else can you get hand crafted pizza, coffee, a full bar, and a football turf from a real football field for your kids to run and play while you eat in peace? We have built this place with a community focus, and for that we have received many accolades from not only our town but surrounding communities. We also have a great community of restaurant owners around us that we can all lean on and ask questions. For example I talked with another small business owner about if they were going to be open after Christmas so that we could follow suit.
Opening Fred’s Garage is and has been a hard journey – a journey I am not sure I would repeat knowing the outcomes and stressors. However, I have to keep going. I have to lean in to what it is that God wants us to learn within the chaos its added to our lives. I posted some of these stats on our facebook group… but the only way that this would happen is with God at the wheel in our little town of a population of: 2,940 (2021).
Since the last week of May (6 months of Business):
Total Drinks Sold – Over 30,000 (5,0000 Lattes)
Lunch Items – Over 10,000 ( 5,755 Pizzas)
Breakfast – Over 3,000 (Just waffles are over 1,000)
Gross Sales- 6 figures. BUT GOD.
39 Active Employees in this one entity – Thats a full time job in itself! HA!
If this fails it will be because we have worked ourselves into the ground and burned out. My prayer is that we can hold on, and find a manager we trust! Thanks for staying on this journey with me. Thank you for your patience as my NPO comes to life quite literally. Now if I can just put it all into writing.
“Summarize Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb”, OpenAI, November 21, 2023, chat.openai.com/chat
Taleb, N. N. (2016). p.58. In Antifragile: Things that gain from disorder. essay, Random House.