Play Life Not Like Chess, but More Like Tetris
Chess is a classic competitive strategy game. It can also teach you a lot in life, right? In fact, if you want a game that represents real life, you should probably look at Tetris.
As writer and former chess player Thor Bair notes, many of us treat life a lot like chess. You have to make certain predetermined strategic moves, choose the optimal path to defeat your opponents and win the game. In fact, almost none of this reflects exactly how the real world works.
Unlike chess, in real life there are hundreds of equally powerful opening strategies. You can change course in the middle of the game. You rarely have competitors that you need to defeat in order to “win.” You may have rivals, but unless your job involves competitive sports, there is rarely a time when you win and someone else has to lose. But most importantly, chess has a defining moment when you win. In life, no.
Tetris is another matter. In Tetris, you cannot plan ten moves ahead. You can only see the next piece. You have to deal with what comes your way. You have to improvise. There is no other player to beat. Just keep going as long as you can. The game never ends, it only speeds up.
For some, Tetris is the epitome of frustration. It repeats itself! It’s impossible to win! It has to do with luck! But for me it became the most truthful representation of life. By comparison, chess is just a silly war game.
Obviously, life is not like any of the games, and you can learn from both. However, as the author notes, life is definitely chaotic. Trying to make your situation conform to certain principles or rules that you’ve learned from competitive play may not apply in a world where there are many winners and many equally correct paths (and definitions!) Of success.