What is the one thing you want to do in life that would bring you ultimate fulfilment? The thing you would do if money were not an option?
Most people can come up with this idea quickly. When asked what they need to do to get there, most people can tell you this too, but they are not doing it. Commonly the issue people raise is needing ‘money’, but this is rarely the barrier people think it is.
Many steps can be taken before money becomes the limiting factor and people tend not to have done the work to calculate the financial requirements to get their dreams off the ground. Outside of some manufacturing, most things can be started in the internet age with little to no money.
The information on starting most things can be found for free on YouTube or across various web pages. Hiring a coach or buying a course can speed the process up with a curated set of steps and feedback, and it is often much cheaper than people think. Multiple courses can be purchased for the same skillset by various experts in a field to provide further information and training to get started with dreams.
Nicolas Cole’s (@Nicolascole77) Four-step mastery framework can be a helpful exercise when starting on this journey:
Do you know the right thing to work on? If not, who do you need to talk to and/or what do you need to read/consume to know?
Do you know the right thing to work on but aren’t doing it? If not, what luxuries do you need to deprive yourself of, what distractions do you need to get rid of, what escapes & coping mechanisms do you need to avoid, what new habits do you need to build etc.?
Are you doing the right thing but could you do it better? If so, who do you need to learn from/surround yourself with, where do you need to live, what community do you need to join, what ‘teacher’ do you need in your life, what habits do you need to improve, what techniques do you need to learn, etc.?
Are you doing the right things as best as you can do them, and are just waiting for time to catch up? If so, optimise for consistency, keep showing up, get the reps in, and focus on falling in love with ‘monotony’ until it’s clear you’ve plateaued-then start back at #1 again.
What is the one thing you should be working towards, and do you know the right thing to work on right now to make it happen?
My chess teacher described my gameplay today as ‘a millionaire with a Ferrari in the garage but with no gas’. It was my second lesson, and my tutor reviewed some of my recent 5-minute games on Chess.com. His point was that I had built up lots of raw ‘power’ but did not have a framework to use that power, resulting in inconsistent performance.
This observation was fair; I recently gained and lost 150 rating points in the space of a few days. 150 points are equivalent to what most amateur players would hope to gain in a year with hard study and hours of play each day. This gain and loss is similar to a gambler winning big with a run of luck, then losing it all and staying at the casino all weekend without sleep, trying to win it back but making it worse.
There are two main ways to pick your next move in chess, intuition and calculation. Intuition is when you look at the board, and the move just comes to you. This skill is built over time as you train your brain to recognise positions, moves, and lines that you have experienced before in games, book study, and puzzles and can call on to make your next move. Calculation in chess is a series of steps where you assess all avalible ‘candidate’ moves on the board to decide your best course of action.
Calculation is considered the most critical skill for success in chess and is developed in longer-time games. Intuition is required for shorter time frames where you have less time to assess all the possible moves on the board. I almost exclusively play short time frames currently, so I rely on intuition; however, my recent jump and drop in rating indicated I need to improve my calculation through deliberate practice.
A good coach is helpful for three reasons; the first is they have an objective, expert eye on your current ability. Second, they help you to identify where you want to go and realistic timeframes to get there. Thirdly, they can help you create a personalised plan for what you need to do to get there, monitor how well you stick to it, and update the program based on this feedback.
You can get most of the way there on your own by focusing on three questions: