Garry Kasparov is considered as one of the top ten smartest people alive today. With an IQ of 190, Kasparov is a Russian Chess Grandmaster.
Kasparov is the youngest ever World Chess Champion winning the title in 1985 when he was only 22. Now 51, Kasparov has the most consecutive chess wins in history, and ranked no. 1 for 225 months out of the 228 months that he played.
Having made a huge dent in the chess world, Kasparov is now a writer and politician with significant achievements in both fields. He is also the chairman of the Human Rights Foundation.
As one of the geniuses of our time, we can learn a lot of life lessons from Kasparov, his views on chess, politics and the world.
Think outside the box
“One does not succeed by sticking to convention.”
One of the biggest traits of successful people is that they approach problems and situations from an unconventional angle. Looking at things differently sometimes reveals secrets that we may otherwise never see.
The right amount of confidence
“Losing can persuade you to change what doesn’t need to be changed, and winning can convince you everything is fine even if you are on the brink of disaster.”
Confidence can be tricky. A lot of people go through life sitting on the two extremes of confidence; either being overly confident to the point of being cocky, or extremely under confident to the point of being a dormouse. Both can lead to failure; one of them shadowing you from truth and the other shielding you from risk and being bold.The key to having the right amount of confidence is self-checking. Introspect when failures happen, question your actions, and learn from your mistakes, but do not get caught up in retrospect or start to self-blame and self-doubt.
Winning happens in your mind first
“You can’t overestimate the importance of psychology in chess, and as much as some players try to downplay it, I believe that winning requires a constant and strong psychology not just at the board but in every aspect of your life.”
Part of the training of winning Olympic athletes besides their daily physical training, are visualization techniques. They practice seeing themselves winning in their minds first; crossing the finish line first, accepting their gold medal on the Olympic podium, perhaps even their welcome back home. Winning and success starts in the mind first. With constant repetition your psyche actually starts believing that what you are seeing in your mind’s eye is real. Going into any endeavour with this kind of preparation has extremely positive effects. So visualize, run a scenario in your mind of your public speech, your interview, your next client meeting or whatever you need an extra boost for.
Look for solutions, not problems
“Solving new problems is what keeps us moving forward as individuals and as a society, so don’t back down.”
Having a solution mindset saves you from wasting time on the blame game when problems arise, or plans fall through. But getting fixated on the problem solves nothing. So be a solution giver, not a problem maker to be successful.
Don’t be afraid to fail
“If you wish to succeed, you must brave the risk of failure.”
The only way to shield yourself from failure is to never start anything at all, but then your chance of success is always zero. When you pick up an autobiography of any successful individual, dead or alive, you will see that they faced many failures before tasting success. Failure is part of the learning process, so accept it with the same zeal as your successes.
Always set goals
“Without a goal [maneuvering is] aimless. You might be a master tactician, but you’ll have no sense of strategy.”
Goals are like the map that you need to guide yourself towards your final destination. Break your long-term dreams into short term goals. Without goals, you will find yourself waver from your path, as life gets in the way. But with SMART goals that are written down, you will always stay on track.
“Attackers may sometimes regret bad moves, but it is much worse to forever regret an opportunity you allowed to pass you by.”
Regret is probably one of the biggest waste of time. The whole concept of regret is to mull over something that you can never change. In turn it cripples you, with feelings of guilt. Instead of being consumed by regret, do something to make amends. If you have wronged someone, then apologize to them instead of sitting in a pool of regret. We are not perfect, any of us, and the only power we have is to change our present. So concentrate on the now, and do not waste time in regret.
Trust your instincts
“The biggest problem I see among people who want to excel in chess – and in business and in life in general – is not trusting their instincts enough.”
Recent studies have shown that the gut is our second brain. That is why it is so important to trust your gut feelings. Human beings are born with a natural instinct, as we are more than just physical beings. We are mental and spiritual beings too and if you trust that inner voice, it can take you places.
Always have a plan
“It is better to have a bad plan than no plan.”
Go into any endeavour with a plan. Making a plan is the first step to ensuring success. Think of it this way. When you take a vacation, you plan for it. You plan where you stay, what airline you will take and even what activities you will do. Of course plans don’t always go as planned, but having no plan would mean that you have no security or control over what may happen to you. So plan, even if it takes 2 minutes. If the first thing you do is plan out the actions of your day, then it’s more likely to be more productive.
Take a chance
“The only way to fail for me is just not to try.”
You have zero chance of success if you never try, and that is a failure in itself. So, the first step to success is actually to start. Take a chance. Start today!