#1417 To Become a Master

We Must Start as a Beginner

Today Emerson and I played chess as I ate breakfast.

Him: “Daddy! Will you play chess with me while you eat breakfast?”

Me: “Yes!”

👆 Note: I said that as I remembered the Heroic commitments I had made earlier that day:

“Respond to a Bid from Emerson” 🎯
“Play with the Kids” 🎯
“Micro Moment of Awesome with E”! 🎯

Target swipe! 🎯
Target swipe! 🎯
Target swipe! 🎯


To be clear…

He destroyed me at chess. 😲

I’ve never been happier to lose at anything in my life. 🤓

I’m incredibly proud of how hard he has worked (/played!) to get better and better such that he can now EASILY beat me.

Parent tip: Chesskid.com is AMAZING.



Today Emerson told me that he would like to be a Chess Master.

To which I said: “AWESOME! I’d like to support you with that and everything else you’d ever like to achieve in your life!”

Then I said: “What specific level of Mastery would you like to achieve and by when would you like to do so? It’s important to get clarity on your goals. In fact, that’s Rule #1 of effective goal setting. Once we know the time target, we can plan accordingly.”

Know this: Specificity is the #1 thing Heidi Grant Halvorson says Successful People Do Differently do in THE most popular blog post in the Harvard Business Review’s history called 9 Things Successful People Do Differently. (Check out our Notes on her great book, Succeed as well.)


We looked up the different titles the international chess federation bestows upon different tiers of mastery. Emerson decided that he would like to be what’s known as a “National Expert (E) / Candidate Master (CM)” by the time he’s 12. (He’s now 10.)


Now, we have our “WISH.”

Then I asked him WHY he wanted to achieve that.

To which he said, “It would be fun! And, I’d be able to beat almost anyone!” 🤓


“It’s true!” he says!

I believe him.


Now we have our WISH and our “OUTCOME” (or the “benefit” we’ll experience) when the Wish comes to fruition.

First part of WOOPing and turning our dreams into reality complete. I dare say Gabriele Oettingen would approve! (See Notes on Rethinking Positive Thinking.)


We’ll need to run that Wish and Outcome up against reality and see what Obstacles will arise and what Plans will need to be put in place to see what price he will need to pay and whether or not he wants to pay that price and if his goal is doable/etc.

We’ll consult with a chess coach to walk through that process.


THAT isn’t quite the point of Today’s +1.

This is…

As we looked at the range of rankings, we saw that the LOWEST ranking is called “National Class J” which includes people who only have a 100-199 ranking.

Emerson saw that and said something along the lines of: “That’s not a very good ranking.”

Although that is, of course, true on one level, I told him: “BUDDY! That ranking is ACTUALLY the MOST IMPORTANT ranking.”

Then I said: “You know why?”

He said: “I don’t know!”

I said: “Because… If you don’t have the humility to be THAT BAD, you’ll never get THAT GOOD.”

And THAT’s Today’s +1.

Want to be a Master?

Be willing to be a Beginner.

Day 1. All in.


♟️ 👑 👑

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