Dove vs black swan

I’m reading Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb again. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a few weeks since I realized that my dove is actually a black swan.

The whole situation we are facing right now is a black swan, but one I do not particularly care about. I’m just waiting for it to fly by.

In 2020, I also had a personal black swan event.

The first time I read the book, all I retained from it was that a black swan is a rare and unexpected event and those kind of events cannot be predicted. You can only see them as “predictable” in hindsight.

I also know the book got me out of a depressive period back in 2017 when I read it first. Somehow this idea of rare events made me cope better with what was going on with me then. The book has so much more to offer, but often these books should be read at least twice with some difference between reads.

I discovered that some other ideas I appropriated come from this book, but if you asked me where I got them from, I could hardly remember to point this book. One such idea is that there is no such thing as experts …as far as rare and unexpected events come, I would add now.

Taleb separates the world into Mediocristan and Extremistan and I realized that contrary to my nature, in 2019, I felt the need to get out of Mediocristan. I value security (financial, psichological, social, physical, you name it) and control. I like taking chances from time to time, but I have a safety net and I need to get back to Mediocristan where things are predictable and rare events like a pandemic do not affect one as much, unless they are coupled with that unfortunate event of being a victim of the disease. Personally, I find getting sick as a matter of chance even in the current situation. I know people who took care not to get sick and they still did, while I did only the bare minimum and I’m ok so far. Sure, I could have been asymptomatic. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Anyway, my dove turned black swan is not so unexpected in retrospect. I was not surprised as things were unfolding either as I deliberately distabilized my life to create sufficient balance to be able to see alternatives to the life I was living at the beginning of 2019 and wasn’t finding quite right, but my friends were surprised of the effect she had on me.

In 2020, I went back to the life I wanted to escape in 2019 and not due to the pandemic, as the decision was taken before, but because I could not take another jump without a safety net. And I am greatful for the extra time to clarify to myself what I really want to jump to.

Anyway, the dove-black swan thingie, which looks in my head now like a large piegeon 😱, this person could have kept me out of Mediocristan, or at least that’s what I thought. Will never know now.

Mediocristan vs Extremistan – normal distribution vs power law distribution

Hopefully this is not all I’ll be left with after the second read. 😅


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