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It's Chess, Not Checkers!

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

One of my favorite lines from Training Day besides "King Kong ain't got nothin' on me!" is when Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) tells Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke), "The shit's chess. It ain't checkers."

If you do not know what I am talking about, I encourage you to watch Training Day. It's one of my favorites, along with Paid in Full, but I digress.

My point is this: How many times have you heard someone say, "Life is a game of chess," or "It's chess, not checkers!"?

Probably a lot. I hear it all the time. But I can't remember any of these people explain how. Like, really, How, Sway?!?!

Am I the only one that feels this way?

Nobody has ever said, "Life is a game of chess. You should study Magnus Carlson. He's the highest-rated chess grandmaster." Or, better yet, "Do you know Maurice Ashley? He's the first Black chess grandmaster. You should look him up on Youtube. He is absolutely brilliant in the middle and end game. He's another good one to study if you want to be good at chess and, as a result, life and money."

N-E-V-E-R, LOL!!!

In fact, if you've ever used a saying likening life to chess, can you honestly say that you play or are any good at it? If chess is such a great illustration of how we should conduct ourselves throughout life, why don't we see more of the bruhs learning to play chess and applying those lessons to the real world?

I believe it's because we fall in love with the idea of a thing - instead of the process of a thing. For instance, guys tell me that they want to be financially comfortable. They want to be able to live life on their own terms. They want to be their own boss. And when I explain to them the type of discipline, effort, resources, and time it takes to achieve and sustain their heart's desire, they grow uneasy with the process and almost immediately try to discount the toll they must pay to achieve their goals.

This type of response is a lot like chess. Especially when you are introducing someone to the game for the first time. Before you start, you have to teach him the game's objective - capturing your opponent's king while protecting your own. From there, you show him how to move his pieces and how to own the center of the chessboard. Then you tell him about the three stages of the game: the opening, middle, and end. You drown on further about the strategies and intricacies of the game.

Once you've gotten this far, you begin to realize that he is checking out on you. He thinks that learning how to move the pieces is enough. He wants to play. So, you let him. After suffering several defeats, he grows impatient and rationalizes that he isn't good at chess. Before he quits, and you can see it in his defeated eyes, you ask, "Now are you ready to learn how to play?"

"This is chess. It ain't checkers!" - LOL!

I see this in the way people manage their money. The financial consequences, however, are much more severe when someone feels like they can wing it. Regardless, people are perfectly okay with winging it. They believe they can win without the process. They have fallen victim to romanticizing the idea of success without falling in love with what it takes to be successful.

Chess is not an idea. It's a multitude of calculated actions. And, for those who love the game, it is poetry in motion. The same can be said about your financial wellbeing. It's not an idea but rather a series of proven actions that improve your odds of achieving your financial hopes and dreams.

If winning at life and with money is nothing more than a game of chess, are you ready to learn how to play?

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