The brilliant protagonist, Beth, in Netflix’s mind-blowing season “the Queen’s Gambit “suffers immense trials and tribulations in life before becoming the first female chess prodigy, and her struggles force us to look at life with a fresh perspective. While every bend of the show is strife with opportunities for mindful thinking, here are a few valuable lessons on life, success, and overcoming adversity that all of us can take away from this amazing season.
Talent without Hard work is nothing.
Beth is asserted as a child prodigy in chess, which makes people automatically assume that she just has to show up and sweep away the competition without putting in any real effort. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. While it is natural to assume that geniuses don’t have to work hard and always have it the easy way, talent alone won’t take you very far. Beth is no doubt gifted but as we have seen, she isn’t always the smartest person in a room. Before every game, she pores over her opponent’s games, brews up strategies, concocts a game plan, and study her previous games for any possible weakness. Everyone who wants to be the best at what they do has to keep learning and working hard.
Have a plan, but give yourself room to improvise.
While Beth always prepares for her games by studying the history of other great players, she isn’t very good at improvising according to the situation. As a chess phenomenon, she trusts herself to make the best possible move in any scenario and is often seen reacting to her opponent’s game in real time. However, as we have seen in the season finale, there are other, more seasoned players, who can use her style against her, entrapping her in ways that were unbeknownst to her.
Similarly, as an entrepreneur, it is important to find mentors who can walk you through the steps they took to help get you off the ground. Similarly, you should have a formal plan as well as a list of goals you want to achieve. However, in addition to having a plan, it is also vital that you give yourself room to improvise and try something new.
For instance, at the beginning of the pandemic, Whiskey distillers capitalized on the current market needs and started making hand sanitizer while clothing brands were seen making masks.
Build and Nurture Networks That Propel You Forward
“We weren’t orphans, not as long as we had each other. I’m not your guardian angel. I’m not here to save you. Hell, I can barely save me. I am here because you need me to be here.” – Jolene
Beth meets her friend Jolene at the orphanage who not only helps her stay optimistic in that dreary place but also appears later into the show to fund her tour. Beth’s life was no picnic, yet she continuously found herself surrounded by people who supported her, made her believe in herself, and gave her the strength to face her opponents.
We must strive to align ourselves with people who seem to have transcended the circumstances and are now capable of steering us towards our destinies. These people know all about our circumstances and cheer us on through life in any way they could. They are the people who make us believe in ourselves and our hidden power.
These friends could be acquaintances, family members, mentors or even organizations that have our best interest at heart. The support we receive from these people fuel us to greater heights, even when we doubt ourselves. Even when we fall victim to the circumstances from our past or the struggles that currently surround us, we all need people who can pick us up when we need it most.
Have confidence in yourself—even when others don’t
Do you recall Beth telling the incredulous workers at her first ever tournament that she only wants to play the best players? Beth did not let any ridicule get in the way of her dreams and let her acumen and game speak for themselves. As they say, “if your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough!” Beth wasn’t just a hopeless dreamer; she was an executioner. You can feel her relentless quest for perfection in every episode. She peruses through chess books and magazines, she visualizes games for hours on end at bed time, she even practices even during the flight on a mini chessboard to prepare for the games ahead. As her career progresses, Beth even takes a Russian course to prepare her for the prestigious overseas tournaments she has set her sight on. Talk about believing in yourself!
Avoid Settling for Less
“You just let them blow-by and you go on ahead and do just what the hell you want you feel like. It takes a strong woman to stand by herself. In a world where people will settle for anything just to say they have something.” – Beth’s birth mother
If you have not been paying attention to the nuggets of wisdom imparted by Beth’s birth mother in many recollections throughout the season, you need to watch it again. For most of us, the need for instant gratification always wins over our long term goals. We hire without much consideration to fill a position out of perceived desperation. We are quick to take on a job that doesn’t seem quite right out of fear that we won’t find exactly what we want. We give in because we don’t have the perseverance to push ahead.
However, like Beth, you should never settle down for anything less than you deserve. Get really specific about what it is that you want or desire, and write down the exact specifics, down to all the bells and whistles. When you put your aspirations and dreams into writing, it puts a call out into the universe and you will eventually find whatever it is you desire. Avoid settling for less as it will only cost you more in the end.
Get up after every fall
If there’s one thing “The Queen’s Gambit” teaches us throughout the inspiring season is that no matter how hard things may appear to be at times, we must never give up on our dreams. We must learn to catch the lemons that life throws our way and make lemonade. Self-respect, integrity, resiliency, and self-confidence go a long way towards propelling us towards our dreams. Just like the chess pawn, we should never move backwards in life or in business.
You will inevitably make a lot of wrong decisions, stumble into pitfalls along the way, make some wrong partnerships and trust the wrong people, but in the end, you should never forget your aspirations and how to make the most of your talents. Never let the inner voice of doubt hinder you from moving forward. Beth Harmon took the cards she was dealt, dragged through life, but in the end, she proved every nay-sayer wrong and emerged a clear winner; not just in chess, but also in the game of life.
Get Rid of all Distraction
The reputation Beth Harmon earned the hard way as a chess protégée is nearly destroyed due to her burgeoning habits for drinking and abusing prescription medication. However, Beth curbs her dependency on these addictions since she could never let anything get in the way of her aspirations. As an entrepreneur, you will inevitably face a lot of distraction. Be it the constant pinge of social media notifications to redundant meetings, or the urge to check your email frequently. If you don’t want to let anything sidetrack you from the finish line, it pays to curb these distractions in the bud.
The best thing to do in these situations is to take distractions, big and small, and kick as many to the curb as possible. Create to-do lists that will allow you to prioritize your work. Focus on making daily, steady accomplishments. Find ways to minimize anything that can be a distraction to you. Close down the number of tabs you have on your desktop, sit in an organized space where you only have the essentials on hand, and let friends and family know when you’re working so they may give you the space necessary to succeed.