Make better life decisions through Chess

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When you have to make a decision about something, how do you think and react to that particular situation? Do you take the time to analyze why you made that exact decision afterwards? Are you a quick decision maker and do not take the time to think things through carefully and then wish you had?  I have always found that making decisions based on emotions is not a good way to approach problems.  One of the things most people are guilty of is having difficulty understanding how to solve their own problems.  

The truth is all decisions have consequences, whether good or bad, but how you think, react, solve your problems, and make decisions is what transcends into a more positive outcome. With that said, a good plan to help you make better decisions in life is learn to play chess.  There are three main reasons why playing chess is so important in making better decisions.  First, chess requires you to utilize particular cognitive skills, which specifically relate to thinking, analyzing and planning.  Second, chess provides the foundation in which to focus, memorize, recognize patterns and learn to strategize your next moves.  Third, chess teaches you to learn from making mistakes or making wrong moves, yet learning to lose with grace and dignity.

If we compare playing chess and making decisions in life, those same skills you utilize in playing chess are exactly the same skills you use in everyday activities.   Chess emphatically helps you to develop your analytical reasoning, critical thinking and logical reasoning skills.  For instance, when you have a problem and you need to make a decision, you should first:

  1. Analyze your opponent’s move (Note: An opponent can be a person or thing.)
  2. Think about what your opponent is threatening
  3. Consider if this threat is important to you
  4. Consider what options you have in making your next move
  5. Anticipate your opponent’s next move after your move
  6. Consider if the move or decision you are about to make will benefit you
  7. Consider all possible outcomes
  8. Structure your plan of response, consider your options, and then execute your next move.

The key in making better decisions and solving your problems is to prepare for unexpected situations and develop your cognitive skills by playing chess. Recognizing the problem at hand and identifying an element of change, weighing your options, and then making your best decision to make your next move is what matters the most.  

Learning to think, react, and make better decisions in life takes practice – just like in playing chess.  Practice helps you to stay focused and keep your intellectual weaponry sharp.  The bottom line is sometimes we make good decisions and sometimes we make bad ones, but that is acceptable.  Nothing or no one is perfect. Just learn from your mistakes and then move on from there!  – Wendy Oliveras

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