― Nassim Nicholas Taleb
It is an often-heard complaint that "kids today" or "these kids" grow up without proper role models. Nassim Taleb, author, philosopher, and successful financial trader developed the concept of "antifragility." In his book of that name, he challenges readers to come up with the antonym of "fragile." Most people respond with "strong" or "robust" - things that can withstand stress. Taleb asserts that this does not go far enough; the opposite of fragile must be something that gets stronger under duress.
One fantastic way get students to be "anti-fragile" is to focus on cautionary tales. What have you learned NOT to do from the people around you? What behaviors could you learn to avoid? What choices do you know not to take? In this way, they will learn no matter who they are focused on. They won't need to wait for positive role models.
One potential problem with a lot of negative role models is that they are cool: they may be attractive and powerful and thus seductive.
Who are some useful inverse heroes?