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Ways to Improve Your Life - Learn Something New
“The Game Of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it.”
- Benjamin Franklin
Every year I make a few New Years Resolutions. I try to run a gambit and choose something that will improve my life in some fashion. Getting fit/loosing weight is a popular resolution and that can include working out more, eating better and other things to get healthy. Although that is always ideal this year I made a New Years Resolution which was quite different than years before and quite different than the norm. This year I decided that I wanted to learn a new skill. The reason why I chose a new skill was really to strengthen the relationship I have with my children. Part of my resolutions for last year was to spend more quality time with my family. So we started family night at least once a week (sometimes twice a week) depending on our schedules. Family night for us consists of playing a board game of some type and each week a different child gets to pick the game that will be played for that night. I also thought it would be good to teach my kids some games that I enjoy playing like Acey-Ducey they enjoyed learning how to play and took to it quickly.
Then late last year at the beginning of the school year my kids learned how to play chess at an after-school program. Chess was a game that I never learned how to play and still do not know to this day possibly because I was never really interested in the game. My kids wanted to play with me but I kept telling them that I never learned, couldn’t play and would ultimately choose another game to play instead. Finally I figured out that what I was doing was truly not fair to my children. They wanted to improve their play and to continue to learn and I was stifling that for them. I decided that the only solution was to learn how to play. So I made learning how to play chess my new year’s resolution. That to me was self improvement in many ways. Learning chess would help me by;
- Learning a new skill – Chess is something I have never understood, never tried to learn and was never able to play. The whole idea of chess is completely new to me and there is great skill involved in playing.
- Being able to interact with my children – Playing chess with my children is a great way to interact with them and a great way to get conversation going with them.
- Doing something that they wanted to do – The kids get the satisfaction of doing something that they want to do and they get to spend time with me at the same time.
- Learning and growing with my children – Because my kids are fairly new to the game and still in the learning stages I will be growing and learning with them as they develop their chess skills.
- Expanding my mental capacities – Since I always say that giving birth and raising kids is a brain sucker (if you have kids you can understand how your mental capacities seem to diminish) chess is just the cure I need to challenge my brain.
On New Years Day I made my first step. I learned how to set up the chess board. Small feat I know but it took me most of the day to figure out how to do it all by myself. I was new to the chess board but after a day I became very familiar with the board and the pieces. I am trying to learn something new about chess each week. The first week was learning the board, the second week was learning the rules and the third week was playing online. Playing on line gave me more insight into the movement of the game and helped me to understand a bit more so I will continue to do that until I get more comfortable. I also got a copy of Chess for Dummies to help me understand the strategies of the game a bit more. I am taking small steps I know but by the end of this year I will have learned a new skill; so you can teach old dogs’ new tricks.Learning how to play chess is not only teaching me a new skill set and a new game it is also teaching me important life lessons. Benjamin Franklin stated that there are several life lessons that come from the game of chess; 1. Foresight – In chess you have to look into the future and consider the consequences of your moves. 2. Circumspection – In chess you have to look at everything that is going on and how each piece is affected by the situation. 3. Caution – In chess you have to be aware of your moves and quick decisions can be fatal moves. 4. Not to be discouraged of the current state of affairs – There are so many twists and turns to chess that the current situation can change drastically with one move. These are important lessons that anyone at any age should learn. I know that learning to play chess will improve my life in many ways not only for 2009 but for many years to come and that is extremely important to me. So take that time and improve your life in some way shape or form; whether it be through fitness, diet, ending a bad habit or starting a hobby, make those changes it is never too late.
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