What’s the “But” that’s Holding You Back?

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  • GM Avetik Grigoryan GM Avetik Grigoryan

What’s the “But” that’s Holding You Back?

What’s the “But” that’s Holding You Back?

Psychology and Mental Toughness | 5 min read
What’s the “But” that’s Holding You Back?

We all chase different goals and dreams.
What stands between us and where we want to go?

It’s often not what we think it is.
It’s not the economy, it’s not the government, it’s not somebody who dominates the industry where we want to succeed.

It’s the story we tell ourselves about why we can’t achieve what we want.

Imagine you have a goal to raise your rating to 2,000, become a master, or become the champion of your country. You have your WHY – i.e. you already know why you want to achieve your goal...

But when you voice your goal aloud, you say:

I would love to raise my rating to 2,000 but…
I would love to become a master but…
I would love to become a champion, but…

Then whatever that BUT is, becomes your story.

For example, if you say:

“I want to raise my rating to 2,000, but I don’t have enough time to work on chess”.

or “I play good chess, but I blunder a lot…”

Then whatever is after the but, is your story and is the result you’ll get.

That story is the thing standing between you and the next level.
That’s what is holding you back.

What should you do with your buts?

It’s not just fine to have buts – it’s essential to have them!
But even more essential is that you’re honest with yourself about what your buts actually are.

Sometimes the buts can be big and scary and it’s important to have the courage to not be afraid of them.

Unfortunately, many people subconsciously know their buts are scary, so lie to themselves and create a fake but instead.

Sometimes I see people saying “I’m rated 1,800 but the only reason I’m not a Grandmaster yet is that I’m blundering a lot.” Or, “I would improve faster but there are no good chess clubs in my area.”

While blundering is an issue that should be solved, and it would be advantageous to have a good chess club nearby, they aren’t really the main reasons stopping you from exponential growth.

The 2 main types of but you might experience are either related to your chess or your life.

Let’s take a look.

Chess-related buts

For example:
I want to become a master, but…

• I’m struggling to play positions without queens on the board

• I’m getting bad positions from the openings

• I’m not good at attacking or defending

The list could be very long.
You just need to make the list and find solutions for each of them. It’s very simple🙂

Are you struggling to play endgames?
Learn the essential theoretical endgames and study classical games of greats like Capablanca and Rubinstein.

Are you getting bad positions from the opening?
Learn openings from trustworthy sources.

Are you struggling to attack?
Check out Alekhine’s and other great attackers’ games.

Are you struggling to defend chess positions?
Check out Tigran Petrosian’s games or find a good book or course about defense.

In this article, I don’t want to market anything, but within ChessMood we have material to help with all those topics.

You can learn somewhere else. It’s up to you.
The key is to make a list of your buts and come up with a plan.

Life-related buts

For example:

I want to raise 500 points and become 2,000 rated. I understand that I need to work hard, but…

• I have a full-time job and don’t have much time for chess

• I don’t know where to start and I don’t have a chess study plan

• I can’t afford to buy books or courses

Again… This list could be very long. You just need to make the list and find solutions for each of them.

You have just 1 hour a day to spend on chess?
Well, it may not be feasible to spend 8 hours per day on chess, but there’s definitely a way to spend 1.5 hours a day.
If you manage that, it means you’ll grow 50% faster. That’s a lot!

You don’t know where to start and you don’t have a study plan?
Well, when someone becomes a ChessMood yearly PRO member, they get a 1-1 welcome call with a Grandmaster to get a personalized study plan.
If you’re not a ChessMood student, then find someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve and ask them for advice.

You can’t afford to buy books or courses?
Are you sure it’s not an excuse and there is no way to solve it?

Let me tell you an inspiring story that happened to me recently.

The story of Kabir

A few days ago I got a very polite message.
A guy named Kabir was asking if he can become an affiliate partner. I asked a few questions about him and why he wanted to be our partner.

He said “I want to become a Grandmaster, but my parents don’t support my dream. I want to learn from your courses, but I can’t afford it. I tried to find a job, but I couldn’t. So I thought if I can refer my friends to ChessMood and make money, I can pay for ChessMood membership, learn from your courses and become a Grandmaster.”

Something was strange to me and I asked "how old are you?"

He said, “12, sir.”

A large smile appeared on my face, a shine came into my soul.

He’s just 12…but so focused, so determined, and so driven towards his goal.

At first, I wanted to just gift him a membership, but then I decided to give him an affiliate link and test him. I really wanted to see what he would do.

The next day he wrote “Sir, in my profile I see two people became PRO Members using my link. Instead of withdrawing the money, can I pay for my membership?”

Now Kabir learns from ChessMood and with his permission, I’m writing this story. I absolutely believe that with such determination and smartness, one day he’ll become a Grandmaster.

Being just 12-years-old, instead of finding excuses, he found his buts and solved them, at the same time inspiring me to write this article.

Action points

  1. Find the story that stands between you and your goal.
  2. Find your buts.
  3. Make a list.
  4. Come up with answers.
  5. Be honest with yourself and have the courage not to be afraid if the buts are scary. 
  6. If you’re not sure if your BUTs are honest and you’re not sure if the answers you came up with are the best ones, ask someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve. 
  7. Take bold action to achieve your goal.

You can use these principles to achieve whatever you want, not just in chess, relationships, or in your business – but for whatever you want.

Myself, I have goals and dreams, I have my story, I have my buts, and every day I’m trying to solve them. I hope you’ll start too!

P.S. Feel free to share your thoughts in our forum where you can share your buts. There’s a good chance that many of you may have similar buts and that you can become training partners and go on the journey together.

Originally published Feb 09, 2021

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