“What type of strategy offers sustained traction?”

One that consists of a healthy interplay between creation and avoidance. That guides you to a destiny of choice – as well as protect you from the perils along the road.

We are raised by a system that obsessively rewards progress, not so much preservation. It measures outperformance over short intervals, to a lesser degree the ability to limit your losses over time. From an early age, we are tutored that success is mostly about breaking new ground – and to breathlessly explore the possible. They encourage us to build and create. And to top it all, they teach us that accomplishment is primarily a matter of taking risks – braving the jeopardies of the unfamiliar. 

These are all admirable traits and important ingredients to the fulfilment of ambition. But for a quest to be lasting, we need to season this ‘recipe of attainment’ somewhat. We need to remember to ‘bank’ our successes as we achieve them, and not squander our winnings; it is expensive to work for the same triumph twice. It furthermore serves us well to maintain what we build; a proper strategy provides for the upkeep of existing assets with the same diligence as it maps the road of acquisition. And we can improve substantially on the quality of our quest by preventing unnecessary setbacks; recoveries are costly.

The thrust accompanying ambition is wonderful, but some of the costs of oversight are forbiddingly expensive. It is good to push for progress – but to last longer and go further, our wishlist must be complemented with a checklist, our motivations ring-fenced by safety measures. As a wise man once said, it is exciting to cross a dangerous river, but not clever to test the depth of the water with both feet.