Recently I took up chess again.
I used to be very interested in chess when I was young, so coming back to it feels good.
This time around I’ve started by learning some chess strategy, unlike back in the day when I was playing it by ear.
So I started learning some openings (an opening is a sequence of moves that is played in the beginning of the game) and my first one was The Queen’s Gambit.
Now, this opening requires that white (who begins play) put up two exposed pawns in the middle of the table, with little to no defence. And all this is done to gain positioning with other pieces and weaken black’s defence.
Reading a bit more about chess strategy and playing this opening made me better understand why–as with so many things in my life that I’ve started but never finished–I never pursued chess seriously.
One of the reasons I didn’t is because, whenever I did play, I would lose.
Which, obviously, I didn’t enjoy.
And found very frustrating.
I would lose not because I had no training, no one to teach it to me properly, or because I wasn’t smart enough to think a few moves in advance.
I would lose because I didn’t have patience, I didn’t have discipline, and–probably most importantly–I couldn’t sacrifice pieces.
I was obsessed with protecting my pieces.
My play was always focused on putting out fires and reacting to the here and now, the present threats that my opponent would create on the board.
I would do my best to protect what was mine and many times, although I could see the bigger picture, I could think ahead and understand my opponent’s potential moves, I WOULD NOT SACRIFICE ANYTHING for the sake of gaining an advantage that could help me win the game.
But that’s not how this game–or life for that matter–works.
If we want to achieve something–like winning a chess game–, we need to make sacrifices to get there.
The same in life.
You need to learn to sacrifice some things in order to get what you want.
Be it time, money, energy, friendships, status, a job, or even close relationships.
You can’t keep the status quo AND benefit from what change brings.
You need to be willing to accept some loss for achieving your goals.
Otherwise, you’ll be just like my young self–stuck and trying to defend the status quo, then asking myself why I can’t get what I want.
Your better bet is to accept there will be loses–some important, some not–but keep in mind the ultimate goal is to achieve what you set out to do.
But here’s the catch: make sure that what you’re playing for–and sacrificing for–is worth it.