Audio from The Art of Chess and Business given at San Jose City Hall to more than 300 teens in the silicon valley:
Since the year has just begun and people are super focused on new goals, I wanted to share something. I wanted to talk about the importance of making positive daily actions toward your goals. Having a goal is essential! If you are unsure about what you want to do with your life, that’s ok- everybody goes through those phases. But you must remain in constant search of taking in new experiences and information (never stop reading!) in order to see what your future options. If chess helps you learn one thing in life, its always take time to properly weigh your options.
More than ever, this planet is moving at a tremendous speed with constantly evolving technologies, political systems, social systems and economies. Even the way art is made, distributed, and sold is also in transition. It’s a beautiful time to be alive and there are amazing opportunities to learn from and grow through all around you. But without a clear goal, you might find yourself overwhelmed by it all and before you finish smiling, it’s over. Life really moves that fast.
Part of it is the intensity of the unstable economy and our broken educational system. It can leave you feeling unprepared at best and extremely stressed and depressed at worst. Negative thoughts can be crippling to the mind, body, and spirit. Sometimes negative thoughts are fed to us from our family, friends and the media. Despite meaning well, it’s common that those who love us mislead us. Not from a place of hate, but more often than not, it’s just a transfer of fear that they carried and put onto you.
Regardless of their intention these negative thoughts can invade your head like a virus and alter the normal function of your brain. Your sense of self worth and ability become distorted. Soon your bad habits and negative affirmations lead you to assured failure and unhappiness.
To free yourself of this virus you must first decide that your mind, body, and soul are sacred. The word sacred comes from a Latin root word sacrare mean “to devote”. One of the definitions of sacred is “properly immune from violence, interference etc. as a person”. After you recognize your inherent sacred nature, you quickly understand that anything sacred is worthy of defending. The easiest way to defend yourself against any threat (physical, mental, economic, etc.) is to keep yourself consistently in tune with the true current state of the world. You need to be clear on your place in it and where you are headed.
After many years of living a very distracted life, I recently developed a methodology to combat consistent distractions. I write is as 3PA > 1NT. Meaning three positive actions are greater than one negative thought!
The next time you find your mind idle on the couch or in front of the TV and a negative thought enters your mind you must first get up (if you are lying down, sit up, if you were sitting stand and if you were standing sit). Change your physical posture as you adjust your mind. No thought is stronger than action taken. Now we begin.
Example #1 : If you are worried about the big test, take three positive actions against that fear. Read 3 pages on the subject that were giving you the most trouble. Or you could read one page, look up an article on the subject online and call a mentor to ask a specific question you lack clarity on.
Example #2: If you feel out of shape when you look yourself in the mirror, then right there drop and do ten push ups (or as many as you can do) ten sit ups and ten minutes on the jump rope.
Example #3: If you want a new job, go sign up at 3 new sites online or dig deeper on the sites you prefer and send no less than three resumes out.
Those are the simple examples I can give but the equations are applicable to many more situations. To get started, write 3PA > 1NT in big letters on a piece of binder paper and place it on your favorite mirror, on your fridge, or make it your screen saver. Say the equation and its meaning when you look at it. As you do that, you’ll begin to slowly implement it more and more when obstacles clutter your path.
One of the best things about this method is that you will quickly learn how little effort it takes to take three positive actions. In no time at all you will be taking six, ten and twelve actions to breakthrough to the next level. Using the 3PA > 1NT will give you a much greater sense of peace in your personal, scholastic and professional world.
You will sleep better and worry less because you will make taking action your core instinct. In chess playing defense too long is always fatal. At some point you must commit to moving forward or die exhausted from reactive moves dictated by outside forces.
In order to ensure its full impact, you must use the 3PA > 1NT for 21 days straight. Studies show it takes 21 days for a habit to set into your mind. Allow this to become a part of your daily mental regimen and you will be unstoppable in any arena you walk.