Why You’ll Win More Games If You Wait To Attack The King

If you’re new to chess, you may find yourself fixated on capturing your opponent’s king. Why? Because that’s how you win the game.

But this fixation can lead you to make some foolish moves. For example, you may send your queen into enemy territory unprotected. And in no time, your queen falls to a bishop, or a knight, or a pawn that protects the king.

It takes time to realize that the most effective way to capture the king is to take out some of his supporting pieces first.

This Holds True When Doing The Work As Well

Many people, when they are new to The Work, try to find the biggest stressful thought to work on. They try to identify the king of all the other thoughts, the deepest underlying belief.

And they think that if they question that thought, all the other thoughts will fall as well. This is good in theory. But in practice it doesn’t always work.

The Problem Is, Those Deep Thoughts Are Well Protected

Like the king, standing surrounded by his queen, bishops, knights, rooks, and pawns, our deepest stressful thoughts stand with an army of supporting thoughts and beliefs.

For example, you might want to do The Work on "I’m am a failure." In theory, if you were able to turn that thought around, you’d have a lot more confidence. But look at the army of supporting beliefs that will fight to the death to maintain the belief, "I’m a failure."

The bishops and knights in service to this belief look like this: "I don’t want to take the extra responsibility. I don’t want to grow up. It’s too much work to be successful. I get a lot of attention as a failure. I get to be the victim. I don’t want to give up all my spare time. I can’t work that job! It’s below me. I’m someone special who doesn’t fit into the world."

This List Is Just A Peek At The King’s Army

There may be many more supporting beliefs lurking in the shadows.

The moment you start to question the belief, "I’m a failure." You’re suddenly attacked on all sides by a host of other beliefs and underlying motives. You may be strong enough to slay them all, but any good chess strategist would say, "It’s an unnecessary risk."

Unnecessary because there is a way to deal with deep underlying beliefs without attacking the stronghold directly. What is that method?

Simply attack the lesser pieces first.

And What Are The Lesser Pieces When It Comes To Stressful Thoughts?

The lesser pieces are specific situations. Mere incidents. Things you wouldn’t normally pay that much attention to. Things you might not think to work.

But don’t be fooled. These mere incidents form the very basis of power for your underlying beliefs. Just as the minor chess pieces form the very basis of power of the king.

A deep belief is always held up by specific incidents. So if you want the belief to fall, it’s much easier to focus on a specific situation. It is much easier to bring down a belief in one particular instance, than it is to bring down a whole belief system at once.

Just as it’s much easier to capture an unprotected pawn or a knight on your side of the chessboard than it is to capture the well guarded king.

That’s What The Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet Is All About

It’s about dealing with specific situations. Not big, underlying beliefs.

As my experience with The Work grows, I find myself scanning for stressful situations, rather than trying to unearth the perfect belief to work on.

And I tend to focus more on little incidents, rather than on uprooting big beliefs. The result is the same. Big beliefs get uprooted. But it’s much easier to do.

But It Means That The Work Is Not The Quick Fix We Were Hoping For

Isn’t that the the secret hope behind finding the "perfect" underlying belief to work on? "If I get this one, I’ll never have to do The Work again."

But like all good things, The Work requires patience and practice. Both The Work and chess require this. Small battles are won, one after the other, until the war itself is won.

That’s why The Work is a practice. And a practice is a daily thing. It requires some sort of regularity. Chess cannot be won in one move, and neither can The Work.

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