The art of antifragility and how to get your book off the ground

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At the May PSASA Johannesburg Chapter Meeting, held on 20 May, we hosted Rachel Nyaradzo Adams, who captivated us with her learnings about antifragility, and a panel of published speakers-come-authors, hosted by Chapter President Arthur Goldstuck. This smash-hit meeting was emceed by Ian Bratt.

 

The Joburg chapter is really antifragile as we truly gained from our disorderly start to the meeting. We had such fun banter between the early arrivals, and it is recommended that you do join early in future to experience this atmosphere.

 

To start the meeting, Chapter President Arthur Goldstuck welcomed all the members in the meeting and gave the first Chapter Meeting Award to Stef du Plessis for best comedic presence in the time leading up to the meeting. Awards like these will be handed out and recognised in a separate blog post for the year: Johannesburg Chapter Meeting Awards – 2021.

 

Ian Bratt did a sterling job as emcee encouraging us to celebrate World Bee day, and the humour continued with comments around bidet, “to be or not to be” and BBBEE policies. Other celebratory days were mentioned.

 

Our speaker of the evening, Rachel Nyaradzo Adams, was eloquently introduced by Alex Granger. Based on the work of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, she started off by speaking about how the trees in a forest withstood the force of a strong hurricane and were not ripped out as was to be expected. She explained anti-fragility built by these trees over many years had prepared them for the big hurricane that eventually passed over them.

This teaching can be extended to people, where she said the practice of being anti-fragile takes a mindset of acceptance to be ready for the big disruptive events that eventually make it into one’s life. She spoke about how years of anti-fragility had prepared her business, Narachi Leadership, to naturally take on and grow around the challenges it faced during the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions.

 

Her fresh perspectives on survival, resilience, and the unique practice of anti-fragility were extremely welcome for speakers needing to practice resilience in a difficult speaking landscape.

Other key takeaways from her talk included:

 

  • Develop a relationship with hardship
  • Allow your hearts to be broken
  • Move out of your comfort zone and develop the courage to change and grow
  • Nothing is permanent and you can benefit from unpredictable events
  • Accept the evolutionary purpose within us
  • Make a conscious choice
  • Build an honest business and stay in your lane

 

Alison Weihe thanked Rachel with powerful and moving remarks.

 

Arthur welcomed four speaker-authors: Siphiwe Moyo, Gavin Moffat, Charlotte Kemp, and Ruramai Sithole. He asked the authors about their experiences with conceptualising their ideas, writing their books, and getting them published.

 

Key takeaways from the meeting are:

 

  • When in lockdown, write: With more time indoors, Siphiwe said more time is the perfect time to start writing.
  • Get an accountability partner: Writing your book alone can be difficult, and Gavin recommended you get an accountability partner to keep you on track and writing regularly.
  • Don’t be afraid to segment your ideas: For first time authors, Charlotte recommended not running one’s book too long, and fully developing ideas in writing instead of fitting too much into a single book.
  • Tie your book to your talks: Ruramai said having a book published is a fresh selling point for pitching speaking opportunities and it also makes for a sales opportunity at talks, where he said he sold a large number of copies after speaking about it during his talk.

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