Momma Sow knows that she’s headed to the big pig stye in the sky and divvies up her remaining money between her three sons and gives it to them. The sons will have to go out on their own and start their lives and provide for themselves.
Piggie 1 takes the money and builds a house of straw then buys the biggest flat screen tv he could find and a lazy boy chair. He spends his day watching the tv and seeing other piggies playing sports, rather than going out and doing things himself. He’s heard about wolves but falls into the fatal four-part trap:
Nothing’s going to happen.
Nothing is going to happen to me.
If something happens, I can handle it.
If something happens there was nothing I could do.
Piggie 2 builds a house out of sticks. He has protection from the elements and some predators, but not much. He’s not as non-chalant as the first biggie but none the less, he’s not too prepared.
Piggie 3, when deciding how to invest his money and time , takes a survey and identifies what he actually needs and what he wants to have for his future piglets. He does some research and finds that piggie necessities at the most basic physical level come down to oxygen within three minutes, water within three days, food within three weeks, shelter from extreme weather, and protection from predators, and all of this is obtainable with a healthy mind.
So being a smart piggie he builds a house of brick, with a solid core reinforced door, lockable shutters, and alarm system. He’s not paranoid, just prepared. He then builds a library and spends time developing his inner citadel, his favorite books being Sun Tzu’s the Art of War and Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.
One day the wolf shows up at the first little piggie’s straw door. He knocks, is denied entry, then proceeds to huff and puff and blow the house down. The first little piggie froze, had no time to recover, and was eaten. The first piggie is fragile. He gets hit, breaks, and doesn’t come back.
The wolf rests, enjoys his meal, but still hungry proceeds to the second piggie’s house. Same thing, he knocks, is denied entry and proceeds to blowing the house down. The house holds a little better, buying the second piggie some time to slip out the back window and run to the third piggies house in a panic. The second little piggie doesn’t get eaten at this point, but none the less he doesn’t have a house, but can rebuild later if he survives. The second little piggie is resilient. He gets hit, falls down, gets back up.
The second piggie makes it to third piggies house in a frantic state. Third piggie calms him down separates pertinent from impertinent, signal from noise, and knowing that second piggie needs to chill and that emotions are contagious he calmly tells piggie 2 that this is why he built a brick house and not to worry. He then gives piggie 2 a task to focus on to get his imagination under control.
The house secured, third piggie puts a cauldron of water over the fire and it starts to boil. He then sits back down with Sun Tzu and serendipitously gets to his favorite line, “prepared we await the unprepared.”
The wolf comes and huffs and puffs to no avail. Little piggie knowing that there’s only one point of ingress, the chimney, is unsurprised when he hears the footsteps on the roof. Sun Tzu again, “know yourself, know your enemy success in a thousand battles”. The wolf jumps down and lands in the pot and dies. Now if the third piggie stopped there and did nothing else he’d be robust. Gets hit, doesn’t fall down, but doesn’t really improve. He’s robust.
However third piggie is anti-fragile the opposite of fragile. He goes over to the pot and takes the wolf’s carcass out and proceeds to make a coat. The coat finished, he puts it on and heads into piggie village. Everyone is amazed. They’d never seen a pig with a wolf coat. He becomes a celebrity. Business piggies want to bring him into the fold. Piggies in piggie village want to elect him mayor. All the young sows want to marry him, because they know he can protect their piglets. Third piggie gets rich, has great piglets. He leaves a legacy and story to his future descendants and his DNA continues to be passed on long into the future and by the time the oceans rise, his descendants have gills and webfeet. The third piggie way of thinking becomes part of his family and business culture ensuring that they are Darwin’s fittest whenever change in the environment occurs.
The wolf was a crisis for the first two piggies, but an opportunity for the third. Opportunity favored the prepared mind.
Our minds are our homes. When the wolves of life come let’s make sure we can calmy sit in our inner citadel, prepared awaiting the unprepared.