A Reflection on Alpha Themes

We live in interesting times and our lives & careers are often dominated by anxiety, ambiguity, and ambivalence.


This is life’s great stopper overflowing into business; simply look at the market fluctuations, the international debt crises, the continual worry over hiring and expanding, the risks, the need for an economic safe harbor. We have pills for it, we work it out at the gym, and we look over our shoulders; who or what is gaining on us (Satchel Paige)?


All the management gurus tell us that we need to handle ambiguity (from the Latin: “to go both ways”) and that business is full of complexity. It is clear that we are drowning in complexity and that change is constant and even accelerating. Decision making is difficult when the information is unclear or even untrustworthy.


From the Latin again: “to be strong in two ways,” and therefore become paralyzed and frozen. Indecisiveness in business and in life drains away urgency and impact. We want more data, we desire more certainty, perhaps even, a form of perfection.

The Antidote:

The three A’s require an inner core of authority if we are to handle them succinctly, imaginatively, and urgently. A couple of truths present themselves:

■  Conformity, dogma & will not do. The exhaustion of the old is an occasion for the coming of the new.

■  Conscious choice (business or life) is an inner intention full of risk. Teddy Roosevelt indicated that; the best decision is the right one; the second best decision is the wrong one; the worst decision is to not decide.

■  There will be suffering and pain and mistakes to integrate. This is the great adult task (in business and life), to integrate the suffering and mistakes we experience.

Your thoughts are welcome!


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