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How to Achieve Your Goals by Playing Chess

Peter Kozodoy logo Posted Saturday April 18th, 2020 How to Achieve Your Goals by Playing Chess

Since we're almost at the halfway mark of the year 2020, I hope you've been looking at the goals you set for yourself last December and checking things off as you go along.

If not, and especially with the crisis we've experienced this year, it might be time to make some new goals!

What gets measured gets done, and if you're setting the right goals and achieving your milestones, you're well on your way to achieving what you want this year.

When smart people don't achieve their goals, it's always because they've made a mistake in one of two places: Either they've failed to set the right goals, or they've failed to achieve their milestones. And while most people think failure is a result of #2, I've actually found that most people who fail do so because they've messed up #1.

Mostly, I find that people set the wrong goals. How could that be? I mean, don't people know what they want? It seems so simple and easy, but in fact most people either don't know what they want or are afraid to admit it to themselves.

If you fit into one of these scenarios, then you're not alone. Here's a helpful way for you to make sure you're achieving the right goals: play chess.

Chess is a fascinating game of strategy, and it's all about the long play. Just because you can capture the opponent's knight, it doesn't mean you have a chance of winning. Just because you've trapped their queen, it doesn't mean yours isn't about to fall because of a move you never saw coming.

Just as in life, chess players lose because of the things they don't see coming. They're trapped in their perspective, and they fail to put themselves on the other side of the table and consider all the possible moves -- several moves in advance -- that could end up putting them into checkmate.

Thus, when entrepreneurs come to me and ask if they should do this thing or that, my answer is the same: How does this help you achieve your long-term, biggest, most important goals in life?

If you can't answer that -- or worse, if you begin to justify your short-term decision with obviously dubious reasons -- then you put yourself in the position of getting beaten down the road by things you didn't see coming.

Take a moment and consider that your life is exactly like a chess board. You have an objective, your big goals, and you have pieces, like your friends, family, coworkers, business, skills, abilities and so on. How you deploy those pieces every day adds up to either winning or losing, and it's up to you to make sure you employ those pieces in exactly the right order and position to help you win.

You can probably arrange your "chess board" in an afternoon; and yet, how many people just live life one move at a time, assessing only what's in front of them instead of pulling back and seeing the whole picture and how it relates to achieving their dreams?

Sadly, not many, which is why I beg you to live your life like a chess game: Consider all your pieces and possibilities, make sure you change perspectives frequently, look several moves ahead, and always keep the end goal in mind.

Otherwise, you may just end up in checkmate when it's too late, and it could have been easily avoided if you had only taken a moment to consider what you might be missing.