Recently I decided I wanted to improve my chess game.
So after some googling I found this great article by Michael de la Maza.
Michael tells the story behind why he created his 400 Points in 400 Days Chess Program. He said:
When I was researching chess coaches, one comment I heard again and again from students was: “I have been studying openings, endgames, middlegames, weak squares, knight outposts, etc. and feel that my understanding of the game has improved greatly.”
I would always follow these statements with the question: “So, how much has your rating improved?” Time and again, students told me that their ratings had not improved in the three months, six months, or year since they had started their coaching.
Why did these students’ ratings fail to improve? Class players who spend their time on openings, middlegame strategy, and endgames are doing an excellent job of increasing their chess knowledge, but they are not increasing their chess ability.
The author goes on to explain why he created a chess training program that focuses on increasing your ability (your chess score), instead of just learning chess theories, tactics and strategies.
It’s a good lesson to remember, not just for chess but for life and business too.
Knowledge is not the same thing as ability.
You can understand a topic deeply but have zero ability in that area.
I know a lot about the NFL but I have close to zero football abilities!
And I could go study to get an MBA but that doesn’t mean I’d be any more capable of growing my business then I am now.
You could read every sales book ever written but until you start having real life conversations with prospects, you’ll never improve your selling ability.
The point is this: you can be well-informed but unless you can get results, it doesn’t matter how much you know!
What matters is this: are your abilities improving? And how do you know?
If we’re talking about chess then you know if you’re getting better because your ranking has improved.
If you’re a business owner then you know you’re getting better because you’re bottom line has improved.
Remember, if you want to increase your ability at something you must engage in deliberate practice. You must find creative ways to convert your knowledge into action.
Because it’s only when we act, when we start to play the game, that we find out where our ability is.