Life lesson from Bobby Fischer

So a couple days ago a friend calls me.

He’d just finished watching a movie about chess prodigy Bobby Fischer.

There was one line from the movie impacted him so much, he just had to call and share the experience with me.

When he told me the line, it hit me pretty hard, too. Honestly, I can’t stop thinking about it – because it’s not just about chess. It’s about life.

Here it is (it helps to read it slowly):

“When you can see 150 moves ahead, there is only ever one right move.”

I’m not a serious chess player, but I do know this much: if you can see 150 moves ahead, you can see all the way to the end of the game.

Very often, that’s true in life. Yet the “moves” we make in life are often not in line the desired outcome.

The smoker lights one more cigarette.

The alcoholic orders one more drink.

The borderline diabetic eats one more glazed donut.

None of these decisions by themselves will ruin a person’s life. But they are all steps in the wrong direction. A tiny step leading away from rather than toward the goal.

In my own case, I haven’t worked out in years – I look fit, but ask me to run all the way around the block and I might not make it!

I know that if I just did 25 crunches a day, I would look better, feel better, and probably live longer. But I don’t do them.

I get busy with projects and ignore this list – even though I know that by building this list, I could get to a point where I don’t need to do project work anymore.

All day every day, we make little decisions  – little “chess moves” that either bring us closer to or farther from our goals. But we don’t consider the far reaching consequences of all those little decisions.


Because we would rather play the short game than the long game.

We do what suits us now, not what will necessarily have the greatest impact long term.

“When you can see 150 move ahead, there is only ever one right move.”

What if every little micro-decision made every day was made with the ultimate end game in mind?

What decisions would you change?

What would be the impact on your life one year from now? Ten years from now? At the end of your life?

For me, I believe the impact would be profound.

The more I realize what a difference it could make, the more I want to commit myself to make those changes. To live my life more “on purpose”, not only with the big decisions, but exercising every bit of control possible.

This is why I can’t stop thinking about that quote.

So now the monkey’s on your back.

I’ve shared this seed of an idea with you. Will you water it and nurture it and help it grow?

In the chess game of life, how will you play from now on? Will you just react to your opponent? Or will every move you make advance your game?

Will you play like an amateur or a champion?

Our days are filled with little decisions that collectively make a big difference.

But it’s only one decision to choose to make all those little decisions better.

Why not make a decision today to make all those little decisions work for you, rather than against you?

Make that change one time. Commit to it.

Starting today, play like a champion.

Carpe Numero (seize the numbers)

Jun 24, 2016