Situational vs true alpha

This is something that has not been clarified to much among the usage of the term alpha vs beta.  There was a big debate about when general petraeus was found cheating with a women not really that hot.  A lot called him beta, and a lot defended him as a ‘leader of men’.

He is beta.  Obama is beta.  All of these ‘leaders’ are what I call ‘situational alphas’.  Just because someone is in a roll that is powerful is by no means an indication that this person someone is that way.  As an easy counter example take any of these so called alphas and throw them into a position their gilded life has not prepared them for, and watch them crumble.

Could you imagine obama in an intercity (without recognition of who he is) trying to get by?  Would he even become ‘leader’ of the local gang?  Not a chance.  He would be hiding and keeping his head down like everyone else.  Or how about patraeus that arguably never saw real combat, and his single mission: to occupy the countries we are currently in- has been on the largest military failures in recent history.  Even beyond the game he was raised in, would he stand a chance at bar, a local construction site, anywhere ‘normal’ people congregate and not be utterly laughed at?

In my mind a true alpha is not a guy who can pull any girl he wants.  While that indeed may be a side effect, is it NOT the end all be all.  A true alpha is someone adaptable, someone that will dominate ANY position he is in.  Especially in this economy it is possible to find true alphas working at this job or that job.  There is only one president, and only a few generals.

Further, jobs like the president, despite claims to the contrary, are really open to a very very select few who are groomed from an early age for their gilded lifestyle path.  Generally it is an undergraduate in economics followed by a law degree from a place like harvard. ALL major politics have followed this path, from obama, to ‘bussiness man’ romney, to pretty boy pau ryan.  When trapped in the bubble it is very hard to learn any adapting skills.

Swap obama and patraeus with some true alpha out there and the learning curve for the alpha will be much shorter than the reality shock of O and P realizing their power came from their posistion – and nothing to do with themselves.

Think a fake alpha would survive a real collapse?


3 thoughts on “Situational vs true alpha

  1. Well said.
    Military (or former military) people I would classify as alpha, two off the top of my head:
    Recently departed Schwarzkopf (Rip), and former Major Richard Winters (of Band of Brothers fame).

    • Military by its nature is a very alpha thing to do. It is unfortunate that the upper levels of military is following rest of society that it is this soft, golden path that people I hardly would call ‘men’ occupy.

  2. All Alphas are leaders, however not all leaders are Alphas.

    Even an Alpha who is independent and doesn’t lead others in the traditional sense, is still a leader because the things he says, knows, and does are still the right thing to do.

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