“Life is always sweeter when the dice are still in the air.”


“Life, even at its best, is a gambler’s game.”


This is a little bit different than dancing on the icy brink, this is more when the game is afoot and certainty doesn’t exist although there will be a certain outcome at some point. This is a finite space and event. These moments are shapeless yet have shape. Things exist within the time and space when the dice are in the air, it’s just that the outcome is unclear. But. There is a beginning (the toss of the dice) and there is an end (the dice stop tumbling).

But before I get to my main point let me say this.

As soon as the dice are tossed there is an inevitableness and uncertainty of which that combination is not everyone mentally thrives, i.e., they don’t think life is sweeter in this moment. As a consequence some people will (a) refuse to believe dice are ever in the air and over-control everything or (b) refuse to actually throw the dice for fear of what happens when tossed. The former believes everything is controllable so no dice should have to be thrown and the latter simply fears the every day chance that weaves its way through any business. to both I say “pick your poison.”

Which leads me to gravity.

Gravity is inevitable. Dice do not remain in the air and eventually gravity brings them to a standstill.

Now. Before gravity takes over the space is actually in a state of oscillation.

Oscillation is a natural state between good & bad, better & worse, righter versus wronger.

That said. As a counter to the oscillation is the fact that all things, left to their own devices, will “irrevocably slide towards a state of maximum entropic dissemblance.” (Metamodernist Manifesto). Therefore, unfortunately, gravity, in & of itself, is ‘worse’. Conceptually this suggests ‘better’ needs to exert some force greater than gravity to not only achieve lift off but to also maintain some velocity/momentum against natural gravity. I imagine I am suggesting vigorously throwing dice in the air is possibly better than begrudgingly dropping dice. Am I suggesting doing so increases the odds of a better result? Not really. But air is air, movement is movement, tumbling is tumbling, and the longer the dice remains in the air theoretically positive oscillation can occur. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that if the dice are never thrown there is no oscillation therefore atrophy is setting in.

That said. Everything in business, process/systems/outcomes, gets compounded in the oscillation. Assuming oscillation exists in the ‘infinity’ loop ‘better’ is at larger risk in downward loop sections as gravity, as gravity does, snatches momentum & drags it down.


It gets worse.

Ponder the dimensions of gravity:

  • entropy (natural state to stagnate)
  • attitudes (failure begets stronger belief of future failure)
  • the natural order that there are more ways to fail than succeed (which is somewhat like a gamblers odds in Vegas).


“Negative things are real enough to be managed, we are bad at predicting positive things for ourselves (even with the help and wisdom of others), and we all create our own spice in life that makes things work for us in our own way.”

Zat Rana


This means fighting this gravity is:

  • a desire for happiness (which most of us view in a misguided way)
  • a desire for success (which most of us view in results/achievements rather than progress)
  • a lack of desire to gamble with our Life (yet, no risk, no return).


That’s a depressing formula.


Despite natural gravity, 99% of us do not find simply accepting chance, or bad, results acceptable. Despite all the depressing thoughts I just shared, 99% of us ‘get on with getting on.’

Despite having tossed the dice, 99% of us will seek to impact the oscillation in some way to increase the odds of a good toss.


Let me continue being depressing.

Unless you can change the dimensions of the dice themselves, i.e., maybe weight a side, all of your attempts to affect the oscillation of the dice is meaningless. The probabilities of any specific numbers arising do not decrease or increase no matter how hard you try and effect the dice while they are in the air.

This is kind of an important point because unless you are just starting out, you have tossed the dice before. It brings in something called the ‘disjunction effect’ or, in other words, how you think about the future tosses of the dice are affected by what happened on previous dices tosses.

Imagine that you have just played a game of chance that gave you a 50% chance to win $200 and a 50% chance to lose $100. The coin was tossed and you have either won $200 or lost $100. You are now offered a second identical gamble: 50% chance to win $200 and 50% chance to lose $100. Would you (a) accept the second gamble or (b) reject the second gamble? Whether they have won or lost in the first gamble, a majority of participants accept the second gamble. However, they are likely to do so for different reasons: In the win scenario, they reason that they can easily risk losing half of the $200 they have just won. In the lose scenario, however, they might take the second gamble as an opportunity to make up for their previous loss. In these two cases, while the choice is the same, the reasons for making it are incompatible. Thus, when participants do not know what is going to be the outcome of the first bet, they have more trouble justifying the decision to accept the second gamble: The reasons seem to contradict each other. As a result, a majority of participants who do not know the result of the first gamble reject the second gamble even though they would have accepted it whatever the result of the first gamble. The authors tested this explanation further by devising a comparison that had the same properties as the one just described, except that the reasons for making the “accept” decision were the same irrespective of the outcome of the first gamble. In this case, participants made exactly the same choices.

(Tversky & Shafir 1992)

My point here is people toss the dice for any number of reasons but they all do so hoping for some reward or prize. The dice don’t care. And that’s the mental game. Its not risk (if you have elected to toss the dice you have accepted in some form or fashion risk). Its chance. And chance is just not something that business is comfortable with. But the truth is that all uncertainty has at least some element of chance. And while chance is a universal characteristic of almost everything in business, business chafes at this thought and will encourage everyone to attempt to manage the oscillation of the dice in air in its attempt to eliminate chance, or, as Talleyrand suggested:


“The art of statemanship is to foresee the inevitable and to expedite its occurrence.”



Well. The dice are in the air. For that period of time your fate lies in the hands of chance no matter how hard you attempt to manage the oscillation. Uh oh. Chance is the turn of events that cannot reasonably be foreseen and over which we have no control. And while we business folk hate to admit it, there is a constant potential for chance to influence outcomes in everything we do. Like, well, all the time. So, maybe my point is life is sweeter when the dice are in the air, but most of us, in business for sure, only have a sour taste. Yet. The dice don’t care. Ponder.

Written by Bruce