Playing a losing chess game

When I play chess, as soon as I hit some internal threshold where I feel like I’m sure to lose the game, I want to (and usually do) quit.

Now how does that translate to the rest of my life I wonder?

Today I won a game even though I was a bishop, a knight, and a pawn down within the first 20 moves. Granted if I was playing against a Grand Master, It’d probably have been a waste of both our times for me to continue playing.

Or maybe the Grand Master wouldn’t think so, and that’s part of being a Grand Master.

This time though, I swallowed hard and didn’t quit. Mainly because my opponent doesn’t quit either no matter how down he is. Eventually I was able to make solid moves until my opponent made mistakes while I kept increasing my advantages.

Before long I was only  down one pawn, but that didn’t matter because I had a discovered check that would allow me to capture his queen.

The game was over, I had won.

When re-analyzing the game, we found that I was allowed to continue forking or skewering his queen on different variations of those last few moves. It was because he made the fatal mistake of moving the king out of his protected pawn structure.

So far in my life I’ve worked to overcome my fear of pursuing goals that might seem unattainable. But I keep becoming hindered because I quit the first time things begin turning sour, when the curve of progress stops going up.

If I had to venture a guess as to the nature of success, I bet that it includes several dips on the road, no matter the pursuit. And yah, I’ve learned to start taking the first step and beginning the journey. But I haven’t been so good at finishing it.


Failure is key to success

When I was younger and smarter I used to have a theory that for every bad thing that happened to me, I should get something good in return. And for all the good things that happen, something bad will happen in return. I was always afraid of feeling good too often because then I knew that something terrible was about to happen. And I got through bad situations with the faith that something good will come soon.
I once used to be really cocky, a long time ago, back before I became modest and humble like I am today. And I explained to my first boss this theory and then proposed to him a corollary to this theory. What if we can create the bad situations and thus take charge over our lives? But it’s not so simple. I’ve learned since then that messing with the natural progression of things will result in things becoming even worse than ever.
But I don’t think I was that far off. I believe failure, even though we shouldn’t try to induce it on purpose, is necessary for success to occur. Life offers us lots of moments of failure, and these failures are an opportunity for us to finally hit the “delete” key in our mind.
In any moment where I have felt uncomfortable, bad, wrong, off, unhappy, angry, and all other negative type emotions there is some failure on my part involved. Even if there seems to be some obvious proof of “this is TOTALLY not my fault” there is some part of it that is my fault. It takes two to tango, even with fate.
The failure comes from a behavior I have and some actions I’ve taken or have not taken. The behavior is determined by the things I believe, my core values and principles. So if there is a behavior that got me to the crap-bucket I’m sitting in, then there is a faulty belief associated that drives the faulty behavior. Failure is an opportunity to finally “delete” this faulty belief.
Humans are dictated by habits. We have good habits that gives us what we want in life and we have bad habits that give us what we don’t want. We are creatures of habits and we have lots of them. We’re actually nothing but habits. We define ourselves to others by our habits even:
Hi, I’m an engineer. I have a habit of going crazy if I don’t know why something isn’t working like I think it should.
Hello, I’m a teacher. I have a habit of getting really annoyed at stupid people and so I try to make sure my future isn’t full of annoyances.
When we fail, there is some habit at play, and the emotions attributed to failure is a strong indicator that there is now an opportunity to make a difference in our life. Once we are aware that a faulty habit has caused a failure, we can analyze what that habit was and what belief or set of beliefs led to that habit. Then we can “delete” the bad habit and re-create a new habit that is geared towards success.
But when we try to avoid failure we cannot have progression. We either get complacent with how our life situations are and so we stop doing anything further to improve. Unfortunately in life, if you’re not improving, you’re degrading. Or we try and find lots of good habits that we try to take on so that we can become better. But, because all we’ll be doing is just trying to add more good habits on top of very old bad habits, nothing really changes. It’s like trying to keep a collapsing building from falling apart due to faulty foundation by adding more floors.
When you fail, you’re gonna feel like shit. There’s no avoiding it. Don’t even try. But after you’re done feeling sorry for yourself, stop and think about what exactly YOU did that helped that failure to occur. Then analyze what system of beliefs you have that caused you to behave that way and then change those beliefs.
If you never fail, you’ll never get such an easy opportunity to improve your internal system.
But don’t worry, that’ll never happen to you, because you will definitely fail eventually.