Years ago my son Dan was on spring break from college and challenged me to a game of chess. Although I hadn’t played in several years, I readily accepted. It had been a while for Dan, too, so I figured we would be equally rusty.
After making a series of errors in the first game, I realized two things: I was not as patient a player as I used to be and Dan was much more thorough and thoughtful; he was making excellent moves. I lost the first game—and then two more. I didn’t ever recall losing three games in a row.
With increased resolve and a commitment to focus, I started the fourth game strong. But after establishing a superior position, my play became haphazard and I dug myself into a hole. Its conclusion would have produced exciting commentary for chess aficionados, but I will spare you the details.Can you do multitasking? Click To Tweet
In short, Dan offered an intriguing gambit and I went for it. Though he played his endgame without fault, somehow I emerged victoriously. Garnering one win out of four, however, was not the outcome I expected.
Though I hate to lose, I am proud of how well Dan played. His academic focus on his engineering studies had served him well, developing his mental acuity and increasing his logical thinking. I am so pleased.
I, on the other hand, was dismayed at my difficulty in concentrating and propensity for the quick versus quality moves. The culprit, I fear, is years of trying to multitask (which is really only an illusion). Now, when I try to stop multitasking, I can’t. Rarely can I concentrate on a single chore without spurious thoughts impeding my focus.
And my chess game is among the victims.
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Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.