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015: Kick 2021 Off Like a Chess Master – Lessons From the Queen’s Gambit

podcast Jan 08, 2021

Grit and perseverance are essential elements to sustaining a High Flow Lifestyle, and that’s just what we’re going to talk about for kicking 2021 off like a chess master with a few lessons from the Queen’s Gambit. 

If you want to get 2021 off to a great start then there is a big lesson from the Queen’s Gambit we can learn and a few of my own chess strategies for you at the end as well.  

Inc magazine says that Netflix's Most Popular Show Is an Overnight Success that Took 30 Years to Make. This show, from the lead character to the producer is yet another example of how perseverance pays off. And perseverance is what we need to kick off 2021 like chess master.  

I think it’s safe to say that most of us aren’t going to miss much from 2020, but the fact is we are still in the midst of a pandemic and we need that perseverance to head into 2021 with some new found drive.  

If you haven’t seen it yet, The Queen’s Gambit is set in the 1960’s and features Beth Harmon, a fictitious female chess prodigy loosely based on the real prodigy Bobby Fischer, Although Beth’s character brings a bit more drama with the drugs and alcohol as she makes an exciting run at becoming the world’s first, female chess master. 

It's based on a 1983 novel by Walter Tevis, and brought to the screen by Scott Frank. 

According to Netflix, The Queen’s Gambit had 62 million viewers, since its debut on October 23rd, 2020. 

The show wasn’t just popular here in America, but placed in the top 10 in 92 countries and ranked No. 1 in 63 countries.  

Netflix says that since launching on Netflix in October:  

  • The Queen’s Gambit novel is now on The New York Times bestseller list - 37 years after its release;  
  • Google search queries for chess have doubled while searches for “how to play chess” have hit a nine-year peak; 
  • Inquiries for ‘chess sets’ on eBay are up 250% and Goliath Games says its chess sales have increased over 170% ; and 
  • The number of new players has increased five fold on  

The conversation around the show has also led to significantly higher interest in next year’s World Championship, according to the International Chess Federation. 


 Inc writes that: 

“More interesting, however, is the fact that it took producer Allan Scott more than 30 years, eight different directors, and nine rewrites before getting the show on TV... 

There is an obvious lesson here: almost nothing that appears to be an overnight success actually is. In most cases, like The Queen's Gambit, things that seem to appear from nowhere and rise to immediate success actually take a lot of hard work over a long period of time.” 


Scott must have wanted to give up numerous times along the way, but it’s pretty encouraging hearing he stayed with it, at least loosely over a long period of time, never giving up. He had a Massively Transformative Purpose, or an MTP. Even though it may have always been in the background, this MTP was his guiding light.  

Have you thought about what your Massively Transformative Purpose is this year? Don’t worry, this isn’t a silly New Year’s Resolution, this is something that goes much deeper than that. This is something that sparks a change in the world for the better.  

There must have been times over the 30 years trying to produce the Queen’s Gambit that Alan Scott thought that his “moment had passed," or "it just wasn't meant to be."  

The thing is, moments do pass, but then then new moments bring new possibilities. New doors open, new paths emerge. At least they do if you don’t allow yourself to believe that something just wasn’t meant to be.  

When you give up your life to fate, then you have decided on living a life with an external locus of control. In order to access more flow in life you need the opposite, an internal locus of control where you determine your future. You can’t let external forces outside of your control determine your fate.  

Perseverance is needed to get you beyond the phases when you look around and realize that you haven’t met your goals yet. Because the key word here is YET. This isn’t the time to give up, this is the time to hold on to that word YET and see it through.   

Just like the character Beth Harmon had to persevere through a rough childhood, less than stellar role models along the way, drugs and alcohol etc. she had a goal of becoming an international chess champion, and just like producer Allan Scott had 30 years of setback after setback, he persevered and shared this intriguing and inspiring story with the world.  

I encourage you to kick 2021 off with the strategy and perseverance of a chess master and start preparing for your overnight success, even if it comes years later.  

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