The Dangers of Being Results Oriented in Chess

TLDR: Focus on the process, not the immediate results. Focus on cultivating right attitudes and efforts. The rest will take care of itself.

A child beginning their quest for chess learning and improvement

Nurturing Positive Approaches: Lessons from a Chess Mentor

This letter invites you to explore a story, aiming to inspire reflection on your methods.

The Tournament Journey: A Range of Emotions

Starting his tournament journey, one of my students, young and talented, is navigating a relatively unfamiliar terrain. To unfold the tale of his recent tournament experiences, a story rich with insights, let’s delve into the details.

A Promising Start

Beginning with a successful 1st tournament, he moved quickly into a higher division for the next one.

Facing Defeat

However, after his initial loss, silence prevailed. After the second loss, emotions surged, teetering on the brink of tears, and accusations of foul play surfaced. Interestingly, the opponent used an approved digital scorekeeping system, negating any suspicion of cheating. Scrutiny revealed blunders on both sides, affirming the fairness of the play.

Unraveling Expectations

Following the third loss, his father suggested withdrawal, citing illness. Yet, a thermometer debunked this, revealing no fever. Surprisingly, the narrative swiftly pivoted, attributing his struggles to fatigue and physical discomfort.

The Potent Interplay of Psychology

Witnessing the body’s remarkable ability to manifest physical ailments under emotional duress is intriguing. In this instance, the underlying cause was an unwavering fixation on results.

Shifting Focus: Prioritizing Process Over Results

Reflecting on my own evolution, I concede to once being excessively results-oriented, inadvertently sowing the seeds of performance anxiety in my students. Engaging in profound conversations with esteemed coaches sparked a shift. Presently, I fervently advocate for students to set achievable, process-oriented goals in every game, irrespective of the outcome.

A Call to Parents

Parents wield a profound influence in this narrative. I ardently champion an exuberance of smiles, high fives, and warm embraces. Nurturing a process-oriented mindset is paramount, underscoring that profound results emanate from an unwavering focus on the journey rather than fixating solely on the destination.

A Universal Message

Whether assuming the roles of a parent, mentor, collaborator, or an individual navigating their unique trajectory, I implore you to anchor your goals in a process-oriented paradigm. Revel in the intricacies of your journey, celebrate your tireless endeavors, and extend a metaphorical pat on your own back. Forge your distinctive path, and be well.

Respectfully Yours,

Jesse