The best chess players don’t have a style

I have been watching the current chess world championship between Magnus Carlsen and Jan Nepo on Norwegian TV. Why? It’s entertaining, and there are many aspects of chess, and just about anything else, that apply to life in general.

One of the guests yesterday said something that resonated with me:

The best chess players don’t have a style. If they did, it would be too much of a weakness. It would mean a smaller repertoire. It would mean not being able to use the most powerful strategies in any given situation. And it would mean a predictable approach their opponents can prepare for and use against them.

That’s how it is in life as well. Having a certain way to approach all situations limits our repertoire. It often leaves out approaches that may be more appropriate to the situation we are in. And it leaves us more vulnerable in life in general.

The more healthy and mature we are, the more fluid we tend to be, the wider repertoire we tend to have access to, and the less we limit ourselves with ideologies and beliefs – whether these are conscious or held deeper in our system.

This applies to style and strategies, and not our more general orientations.

In chess, certain orientations are obviously helpful, for instance, passion for the game, curiosity, diligence, willingness to examine lost games and learn from them, and so on.

Other areas of life have their own orientations that support what we aim to do. If we aim for healing, awakening, and generally living a more content life, I suspect these typically include receptivity, gratitude, playfulness, curiosity, passion, authenticity, courage to follow our inner guidance, willingness to shed light on previously unexamined areas of our life, and so on.

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