Monday, September 7, 2009
Find a way further in
I'm watching a movie called The International. A high-ranking executive of a powerful but corrupt bank is teaching his son to play chess. His colleagues call him on a conference call to discuss a messy situation that is threatening the entire bank.
The executive turns to his son and asks, "What do you when you are stuck in a situation from which there is no way out?"
He's asking in terms of chess theory. His son understands this. His son replies, "If there's no way out... you find a way further in."
Whoa. He's exactly right. This is what the chess grandmasters do. They marshal their resources and launch an attack, and press it. They know that once they commit, it's do or die. They sacrifice and drop pieces to the left and right like shattered swords. And if they are clever, creative and persistent enough, they break through and topple the enemy's king. They play in a way that seems brilliant and reckless, but is actually brilliant, calculated and single minded. Bobby Fisher was famous for this.
I've often felt that chess is a metaphor for life. Imagine living your life that way. That would take much courage. But if you look at anyone who has truly made it big in life, you will see the same pattern, the same go-for-broke mentality.
I remember developing the website that is now my primary earner. It was back in 1998 or so. I hired a company in India to build what I needed for $5,000. I had no money and didn't know how I would pay them. Somehow I came up with enough money each month to pay installments until the website was complete.
Now I would not sell that website for less than $300,000.
Do you have a story of committing yourself fully to something, with no backing out? How did it turn out?
P.S. The photo depicts an antique Islamic chess set from Cambodia.