November 21, 2010

The Chess Wheel

Many times we happens. Many times we win, of course, we are extremely smart:) What about trying to win more than we lose?! What about becoming psychologically stronger, because this is usually the main reason of our defeats? I would like to see some practical exercises for that, instead of words, words and again words. Because words...are said and than they are gone. And what remains behind?! Some vague idea that we know what we should do, but somehow we simply don't do it! Yes, I know I should be more calm, more patient, I should train more here and there...but yeah, easy to say, difficult to do it. But if we find some real practical way of improving our play, of training the problematic areas, than nobody can stop us in reaching the top! At least in theory:)
Here I made an adaptation from the Life Wheel, a classical exercise taken from Stress Management and Balancing your Life resources. And voila: we can apply it for our purpose: CHESS!

A brief presentation of the Wheel of Life you can find below:

The Wheel of Life:

When life is busy, or all your energy is focused on a special project, it's all too easy to find yourself "off balance", not paying enough attention to important areas of your life. While you need to have drive and focus if you're going to get things done, taking this too far can lead to frustration and intense stress.
That's when it's time to take a "helicopter view" of your life, so that you can bring things back into balance.

This is where the Wheel of Life (or Life Wheel) can help. Commonly used by professional life coaches, it helps you consider each area of your life in turn and assess what's off balance. And so, it helps you identify areas that need more attention.
Figure 1 below shows an example wheel of life with example "dimensions" (we'll explain how to choose the right areas of life or dimensions for yourself below).

Figure 1
Each segment of the wheel represents one area of your life. Consider each section - how satisfied are you with all these areas of your life? Are you putting as much time, energy and attention into these areas as you would like? The centre of the wheel is 0 and means you are totally dissatisfied; the outer edge is 10 and represents full satisfaction and achievement. Decide your degree of satisfaction from 0 to 10 and mark it on the relevant spoke. Now draw a line to join your degree marks together. How balanced is your life? Which areas make you happy, satisfied and fulfilled? Which areas need improvement?

The Wheel of Life is powerful because it gives you a vivid visual representation of the way your life is currently, compared with the way you'd ideally like it to be. It is called the "Wheel of Life" because each area of your life is mapped on a circle, like the spoke of a wheel.

Using the Tool

There are two ways you can use this tool. One is to use this interactive Wheel of Life tool below (click on the diagram to activate it.)

Alternatively, create your own Wheel of Life and assess your balance. (This allows you to define your own dimensions.
    How can we use this in our chess career? I am thinking about two ways:

    A. Chess is most probably a very important part of our life...and this wheel will help us visualize if chess is a bit more than just a part:) And if we should pay attention to different things as well. Strangely or not, using your time with something else than chess, will help you improve too! Your brain needs a break sometimes and it will be more helpful after a refreshing walk with your friends for example. And who knows with what kind of novelty you will come back after your walk?! 

    B. You can also use this wheel just for chess dimensions:

    1. Openings
    2. Endgames
    3. Tactics
    4. Strategy
    5. Playing online
    6. Physical training and so on...

    Once you have identified the areas that need attention, it's time to plan the actions needed to work on regaining balance. Starting with the neglected areas, what things do you need to start doing to regain balance? In the areas that currently sap your energy and time, what can you STOP doing or reprioritize or delegate to someone else? Make a commitment to these actions by writing them on your worksheet.

    Things I will START doing to regain balance:

    Things I will STOP doing, reprioritize or delegate:

    The Wheel of Life is a great tool to help you improve your life balance. It helps you quickly and graphically identify the areas in your life to which you want to devote more energy, and helps you understand where you might want to cut back.

    The challenge now is to transform this knowledge and desire for a more balanced life into a positive program of action.



    1. Only time with family is off-balance, so I'm allright...

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