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Life Lessons From Chess: What Does It Teach You?

Chess is more than just moving your pieces across the board. It’s a game of strategy, quick thinking, and being innovative. Every choice that you make will impact the result.

In so many ways, chess can be compared to real life in terms of how we think and how we act.

There are so many different lessons that can be learned from chess, big or small, that can give us insight into our daily lives. Read on to find out as we look at some of the life lessons from chess.

1. How to be Strategic

In chess, having a strategy will massively impact your game. Even if you know the fundamental rules of chess, knowing how to use them wisely to your advantage is essential. Figuring out your next move will be determined by what strategy you play.

In the same way, our daily lives are influenced by strategies.

For example, if you’re trying to get a job, you’ll need a strategy and a process to help you get there, i.e. CVs and Cover Letters, Industry Research, and Preparation. It’s all a part of working on how you can progress and achieve your end goal.

Putting together a strategy or a plan in your daily life helps you gain direction, and quite literally, strategy in chess does the same thing.

2. How to be Flexible and Prepared

In chess, you can’t always determine the other player’s moves, and that might sometimes affect your own strategy.

You have to have a backup plan and think about multiple moves you can take next to win over your opponent. 

Try not to get too comfortable. If you’re thinking that everything is going smoothly, then you might find it more difficult if something doesn’t go your way.

Whereas, if something doesn’t work out for you, you’ve already prepared your backup plan and choose your next move accordingly.

Life is unbelievably unpredictable and various obstacles may get in our way and prevent us from progressing.

How you originally thought things would turn out completely shatter and you’re back at square one. UNLESS you have a backup plan. Be flexible and think about how you can adapt your strategy to fit your new situation.

3. How to be Creative

Chess is not only a game for building strategic thinking but also creative thinking. Although strategy and formula are relevant to your gameplay, thinking of multiple creative solutions for your next move is vital.

To be creative in chess is to collate all of your options and ideas and formulate a solid plan. In some ways, It’s very similar to strategic thinking, but it also requires you to play out each of the options in your mind and that requires creativity.

In life, being strategic isn’t always the answer. Not every solution can be answered by a solid fact or figure. Instead, you’ll need to think of creative, sometimes out-of-the-box solutions, that may help to handle the situation more efficiently. 

4. How to be Proactive

If you haven’t formulated some sort of game plan, chances are that it’s going to affect how you play. If you’re completely winging it, your opponent has the opportunity to catch you off guard and gain an advantage over you.

If you have a strategic plan, you now need to put it into action. There are, of course, times when it’s wiser to sit back and follow your plan passively, but games of chess can be intense and you must be on the ball. It’s good to be aware of when it’s time to act actively or passively. 

It’s important that in life, you take control of your situations and be proactive. If you take a back seat in your own life and wait for things to fall into place, chances are that you’re not going to achieve all of your goals and dreams.

By being proactive, you can gain more access to opportunities, whether they work out or not, you’re still making a step in the right direction. 

5. How to be Prepared for Sacrifice

If your opponent takes one of your pieces, sometimes you just have to be prepared to accept it as a loss. It’s unlikely that every move you make throughout the game is going to be a win. So it’s important that when you do take a loss, you don’t let it affect the rest of your game.

Acknowledge it as a minor setback and continue in the same way, rethinking your strategy if you have to but be prepared for sacrifice to move forward. You never know, it could be worth it in the end!

Throughout your life, prepare for things to not always go your way. This is not to say that you should always believe that things will go wrong, but instead, accept that they might and learn how you can move on from it and use it to your advantage.

By not allowing sacrifice to affect you, you can continue on a good path and you’ll never know what might happen in the future.

6. How to be Observant

When you’re playing a game of chess, it can be easy to look at the individual tiles on the board or the individual pieces. Instead, you should focus on the bigger picture and be observant of your surroundings. 

Sometimes in life, it’s difficult to see the overall grand view of a situation. We focus and obsess over the small things that we don’t have control over rather than thinking about how much it actually impacts the larger scale.

Also Read: Why Is Chess So Fun?

7. How to be Mindful of Others

When you’re focused on your own strategic plan, you can sometimes forget that your opponent is thinking about similar strategies to defeat you. Chess is not only about attacking your opponent but also defending your own pieces from being attacked.

In life, we should not be self-centered and only focus on ourselves and our own issues, but we should be considerate and mindful of others around us. It’s important to be open to others’ experiences because life really is an endless learning opportunity.

8. How to be Innovative

So, if you’ve got a strategic plan in place, you’ll want to be adaptable because not every game of chess will be the same.

Whether you’re playing against a new opponent, or they decide to switch up how they’re playing, it’s important to create new strategies. Creating innovative strategies makes the game all the more exciting when there are endless possibilities. 

Throughout your life, if you continue on the same path and change nothing, it can become very repetitive and often boring. Introducing innovation into your lifestyle creates more varied experiences, and who knows what you’ll get the chance to do if you make small changes in your life.

9. How to be Logical

Like chess has phases of the opening, middle game, and endgame, our lives can also have these phases.

We transgress from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, and throughout each of these phases, we gain new insights and grasp new opportunities. What you do in your childhood may have an impact on how you grow and develop as an adult. Each move that you make determines what happens next. 

If you’re starting a new job, for instance, you’ll want to set an example and create a good first impression. Just because you put the effort in at the beginning doesn’t mean that it should fade away as you begin to get more comfortable.

Similar to friendships or relationships, you should continue to put in the work in the same way as you did at the beginning. If you don’t, then you’re unlikely to progress or develop.

10. How to be Decisive

Some games of chess will require you to make instant moves. You need to be decisive – will you move the rook, the pawn, or the knight? Your next decision should always be ready in your mind so that you can act efficiently.

Refusing to make decisions in life can perhaps be detrimental. Your decisions will tend to have an impact on others and it’s up to you to take control of that.

Of course, making small decisions might not impact too much, but larger decisions could potentially be life-changing. It’s not to say that you have to rush into a big life decision, but it’s effective if you list the pros and cons, make a firm choice, and then stick by it. 

Final Thoughts

There are more similarities between chess and life than some may realize. While it can appear to just be a game, it really does teach us how to be more open to our surroundings and others.

It can help us adapt the way that we think by not being so rigid in our thoughts. Although having a strategic plan is wise, it’s important to remember that won’t always be set in stone. As the pieces move across the board and weave into new possibilities, we also make our moves in life to try and make the ultimate positive outcome.

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