Month: April 2018

What I learned playing chess as a kid…

As a kid, I was unfortunately injured playing football.  Yes it was a head injury, and no they really didn’t know what to do at that time (it was the 70s.)  I will dig more into that story some other time, but it’s not the point of this post.  My parents got me into some other activities as I was a very “active” child.  One of the games they had my play was chess.  Being the over aggressive child, I would play at the speed of hockey, not chess.  I was attacking, and pushing the pace.  It worked many times, as most of the people I played were not “experts”

I never got great at chess, my parents got me the book “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess” and I read it, to some point.  But it had a lot of what I at the time thought was too much thinking and strategy, I was 12, and I wanted to win quickly.  The more and more I played, the more I realized that I did not know everything.   I learned the first from a movie,   I watched “Searching for Bobby Fischer” (Great movie by the way), and it put me back to my Bruce Lee thoughts, that a mix of aggressive style and traditional style (no style as style) led young Josh to victory.  That learning was the one key to life.  That no “one way” is perfect, and to reach the top you must learn all different ways something can be done.

The second key thing was understanding how to move backward and sideways, not just forward.  Many times in life, I had to reset, make a change or do something that wasn’t going straight forward.  The road I took was not in a straight line, and it was not a perfect resolve like a half-hour sitcom  Being able to make changes, understand you have to move in different directions to reach your goal is something that I should have learned earlier, but itis something that I have lived.   My late wife I convinced to change career paths, with my daughter her sport of choice is one that was just a side diversion, and for me, I changed jobs not so long ago.   All were turns, u-turns, and walking down different paths.  I don’t know many people who had a simple straight line and go to where they are going, knowing it is going to be full of turns, get in a sports car and enjoy the ride.

Maybe all kids should learn chess in school….

I wanted to protest and complain….

But I realized the problem was me, I need to change. And why I wanted others to make the change, was more that I did not have the strength to do it myself on my own, and didn’t think that one person making a change could make a difference. Buy asking for the world to change its laws, I was making it ok for me to act how I am acting, instead of doing the right thing.
Doing the right thing has many meanings, and if you change your point of view can vary. Doing what is best for me personally, could hurt someone else (non or intentionally), the community, the country or even the earth. So when I make decisions, the question is who am I making them for, and can I really start change. If I make changes to what I do, do I shout them from the highest mountain top (ok post it on social media) or just quietly go about making the change.

A simple story I have told before, about 15 years ago NJ changed so you can select your “energy” supplier. One of the choices was to get energy from renewable resources, albeit a higher price. It was not that much higher at the time. I chose that I could afford it and that it was the right thing to do (not for my finances it was more expensive) so I signed up. I asked a few people over the different political spectrum and got a lot of “I want the government to mandate it, this way everyone had to do it”. But to me, you had a chance to change. I almost look at home recycling as the same, I see a lot of people not put anything out, and others loaded bins. I can give my old friend Bill a break he found a use for everything, but he was unique. ‘The question is what are we waiting for? We have some of the ways to do the right thing in front of us.

Now I don’t think if you don’t do everything, you are a loser, more to say pick the things you think are important, and what you can or think you can add value, and then see what progress can be made. If everyone made one change, just one change, we could have a massive push for the positive.

I also don’t think this is an environment problem, its a financial problem, a social problem, a political problem, a health problem… you name it, there is a lot of problems, and it’s not a champion of all, but basically just a small change for the better. Do you wish there more local stores, well shop at one, do you want better schools, run for school board. The power is with us not with our elected officials or others we want to blame. If we want to blame what is wrong, and we want to change, I think its time we just did it ourselves. Don’t wait for heroes, do it yourself, you have the power.

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