When I was in high school, I learned to play chess, and I liked it so much that I convinced my teacher to participate in the intercollegiate programs, but we didn’t have enough girls to register, so I set about getting them!
Among the girls I recruited was my younger sister, who turned out to be – by far – the best player in school, even gaining recognition among the tournament participants, both men and women, thanks to her skills. Together we enjoyed chess and until we graduated from college we were the team captains.
Knowing my love for the sport, a friend from the office recommended that I watch “Lady’s Gambit” on Netflix. When I saw it, I loved it! because it reminded me of many of the things I liked to play for, the beauty of the game, the importance of anticipating the plays, the nerves before going to the tournaments, the fast games with a one-minute clock, as well as being a spectator in the games of the best players.
Additionally, remembering my love for this game, I kept thinking about the valuable lessons that chess left me and that apply to our professional lives:
1. Anticipate the next plays. In chess, it is important to think about the move you are going to make and the one your opponent is going to make, the more moves you can anticipate, the better your game is going to make. In the world of work, it is like that, sometimes it is necessary to know not only what we are going to do but also what our competition is going to do, anticipating and seeing the market can make us better in what we offer to others.
2. Talent is not enough, you have to study. When we have been winning for a long time, we think that we are the best and that we always will be. However, if we do not prepare ourselves, we may fall behind without realizing it, therefore, without prejudice to the fact that we are very talented in what we do, we must continue working and studying to be the best, there are always things to learn.
3. The importance of body language. When I started playing I was like 12 years old, and when I went to tournaments I felt a bit intimidated when the other players very hard the chips on the board, I know it sounds silly at this moment that I’m big, but at 12 I was scared. I told my older sister about this situation and she told me they do that because they want to intimidate you because they are afraid of losing if they weren’t afraid they wouldn’t need to resort to those tricks, don’t you think? So when it happened again, I no longer was scared, I felt calmer with my game and that it was good that my opponent was aware that he could lose playing with me, so from then on I began to pay more attention to what people were not saying and what their body language was telling me. Sometimes people want to intimidate us, or treat us badly, is because deep down they are afraid of our talent.
4. Losing is part of the game, you just have to keep playing, with enthusiasm. My first chess teacher told us: “you should always play with better players to improve your level”, and well that meant that the first time you faced a person who played more than you, the most likely thing is that you would lose the game. However, this was the cost that had to be paid to get out of the comfort zone and continue to improve, with this I am not saying it was easy, I did not like to lose, but over time I learned that that was the cost that I had to pay to play better.
5. All the tiles have a function and are necessary to win the game. In the working life, it is normal that we have different functions depending on the area and the position to which we belong. However, although our roles are different, we all contribute our talents and roles to achieve the company’s goals. We see the same thing on the chessboard, not all the pieces have the same movements, and that is what makes them so valuable, sometimes it can be the knight and a rook that allow you to win a game and at other times they can be other chips.
6. The pawn can become a king/queen. It does not matter the position in which we start working, but where we want to go. Take into account the importance of our position and the contribution it has to others, in chess all the pieces are necessary, and although for many the pawns do not look so interesting, there are pawns with which we can win games and there are pawns that after traversing the board they become kings/queens. So the learning is that no matter what position we are in, we can stand out and if we don’t like our current role we can work hard and go all over the board to get to the position we want.
7. Don’t give up. It is normal that in the learning process there are many times that we make mistakes and that we lose the games. However, if we want to win and apply what we learned by losing, then we have to keep playing. When we make mistakes, sometimes we want to quit, but if we quit, we don’t have the opportunity to apply what we learned. So, even if the ego hurts to make mistakes, we have to keep trying.
Therefore, this week I invite you to review those hobbies that you have or that you had as is my case, and that you find those little treasures that we learned to apply in our personal and professional lives. It is necessary to take some time to look back and review what we learned to apply it to our daily challenges and those that will lie ahead for us in the future. Well, and if any of those I shared with you today like, I invite you to apply them, not all of them are easy, such as not giving up and continuing with enthusiasm, although things do not turn out as we hope, for the love of life and the game there is the need to keep trying