“Grit and determination has always been difficult, in a lot of ways the 9 to 5 helped coast through that.”
That comment from Karl, fellow writer, life hacker, and confidant, is the inspiration for this post (possibly to his surprise). He’s referring to the fact that we are creatures of habit, and we can easily make the mistake of assuming that the way things have been and the way things are also represent the way things will continue.
Ain’t necessarily so. Go back and look at Trump’s tweets from 2005, if you’re curious to see just how much things can change.
(That’s a trick. Twitter wasn’t invented until 2006.) But notice how now a trio of concepts that form a common headline now were unthinkable just a little more than a decade ago: Today, President-Elect Trump Tweeted…
Here’s a more chilling thought: life without twitter. Or Facebook, or whatever social media platform you usually use to communicate or consume news? You may say “no problem. I can quit any time I want! And you may be right. Great, you quit! You deleted the app from your phone, got rid of your account, and it’s done! Maybe you’ll even go whole-hog and lock your phone in the refrigerator for a week, just to prove how unwired you can be!
Now let’s pretend you are standing in line, enjoying your phone-less existence, and you hear the people behind you talking about that horrible explosion in Springfield. You remember that your friend Xerxes lives in Springfield. You have the perfectly natural desire to check on him, and you reach for your phone before remembering you don’t have it.
How would you check on Xerxes? Do you have his phone number somewhere? Do you remember his email address if you want to borrow a computer at the library? Heck, for that matter, can you check your own email on a stranger’s computer?
For bonus points, can you check your email securely on a strange computer?
What’s the Worse That Could Happen?
That’s not a typo, it’s a simple question. The above scenario was you without a computer. What if all the computers stopped working? What if all the ATMs shut down – do you have a way to get cash? What if you couldn’t drive your car? What if you found out that your city’s water supply was no longer safe (this is, unfortunately, not a hypothetical for a lot of people).
So here’s a three-step process for increasing your anti-fragility:
- Look around and pick one of the things you use every day. Amazon.com. Coffee maker. Toll roads. Your watch. Your furnace.
- Imagine how you would work around that thing being gone from your life. Not “left at home” gone, I mean gone. Can you still function without it, or find workarounds?
- Assuming the answer to number two is a positive, plan some time try out “Plan B.” Work out the kinks. Share it with your friends and family: “Hey, can we try talking on the phone instead of texting for a week?”
It can be a fun game to play, trying to imagine what could go wrong and what you’d do. It’s not quite doomsday-prepping, but considering how volatile things have been and are likely to become, there’s not really a downside to being over-prepared.
Me, thinking about this resulted in me ordering a water purifier. We live near lots of water sources, but not necessarily the kind that I’d want to drink straight. What kind of things do you depend on? How are you prepared to do without? I’d seriously like to know!