I started playing chess when I was in 11th grade in high school. I immediately became fascinated with the game (the art) after watching my younger brothers banging away at the pieces on the board. I asked them to teach me this ancient game and within weeks I mustve read a good 10 books on chess.
I really fell in love. I would devote hours a day of practice and playing with peers and online chess games. Those that knew me knew that I always carried my green rollup board around with me. I was like a chess warrior ready to challenge anybody anytime.
After about a year of playing, I began going to the chess tournaments in Manhattan. There, I would literally play amongst the best in the world. I played people on grandmaster levels (the highest).
I usually lost to these players, but I learned a lot in the process so losing was like winning to me. Week after week I would come back to play, losing only to come back stronger and stronger. Soon enough, I was winning against some of these experts.
These days I usually dont play chess like I used to. I miss all the time I spent with the amazing art, but my time and energy has been focused on entrepreneurial activities lately. I still catch a game or two every now and again with my brother so Im still a bit dangerous.
But heres the thing: even though I stopped playing chess on the board, I never stopped playing chess in my everyday life. Through chess I learned strategy, tactics, technique, discipline, how to study the competition, how to think when your competition is thinking, how to constantly be thinking of the next move ahead of anybody else.
Chess isnt just a game that you play on the board against your opponent; chess is a way of life that can be applied to any situation, especially situations that entrepreneurs face on a daily basis.
When you find yourself talking to certain people because you know that that person may have the potential to help your business or you may be able to help them in some way, then youre playing chess.
When you introduce your friend to another friend who is looking to team up with someone such as your friend, then youre playing chess.
When you see the next move before your competition or business sector does, and you implement your idea or strategy into the market and produce something great and unique, then youre playing chess.
When you study the current trends of whats going on in the market and figure out ways to solve certain problems that were once too complicated to be resolved, then youre playing chess.
Entrepreneurs must constantly be thinking of their business environment (friends, partners, competitors, market, business sector, niches, networking, marketing, etc) as a chessboard. A chessboard that must be played by using thought out tactics, strategies, and techniques to produce optimum results for not only your business, but the businesses of your peers.
One thing that Ive noticed is that too many entrepreneurs think that they are the king of the chessboard. They fall into this way of thinking that their business is superior to all others and everybody should bow down to them completely disrespecting the other chess pieces (other businesses) and thinking of them as harmless and inferior.
On the chessboard even a king can be cornered and trapped, so it must respect the other team members that are a part of the mission.
The right way to play chess in this hectic business world is to think of yourself as a pawn on the board. A pawn that is there to help all of the other pieces gain superior positions by supporting them, paving the way for them, helping them strategize, and offering them backup when needed. If you play your position right and help enough pawns and other pieces get to the other side of the board, then youll soon be promoted and your hard work will have paid off exponentially.
The life of an entrepreneur is an art, and your canvass is your business and the people you know. If you want to paint a masterpiece, then youre going to have to be smart and plan each move with the utmost preparations and strategy.
In time you will become the king of the board, but even then youll have to think of yourself and a pawn by continuing to help others and offering support when needed. If you become complacent and forget to respect the other pieces, youll soon find yourself off of the board back in the bag with the rest of the casualties of the game.
Never stop playing chess and helping others get to the other side of the board. Its not about checkmating your opponents, its about adding strength to their position as well as yours.