Checkers is a game where all the pieces move in the same way and where preparing for one or two moves ahead likely suffices to mount a competitive representation. By contrast, chess involves many different pieces each with their own way of moving around the board. The best chess players think about strategic positioning of their pieces rather than trying to plot out all the details of the moves they will make to win. To win at chess, one needs to prioritize the prime objective and every move needs to be made with that objective in mind.

If we apply this dichotomy to our daily lives, it can reveal some interesting conclusions about how we should make decisions. For most of us, our prime objective is to be satisfied. Everything that we do in our daily life is motivated by that desire. But are our actions really leading to the satisfaction that we crave? If life were a game of checkers, just thinking about the next source of temporary satisfaction would probably give a us a reasonable chance of success. However, the reality is that these short-term gains are just that, fleeting.

We’re much better off  looking at life as a game of chess where we need to strategically position ourselves to take advantage of opportunities that actually make us satisfied over the very long-term. This kind of positioning is achieved by training in mindfulness so that we are able to respond quickly and correctly to life’s difficulties when they arise. This likely means a degree of sacrifice along the way but if we’ve prioritized correctly, those sacrifices will be what’s fleeting and the happiness we gain will endure.

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