Chapter I – Part 7

$ I told you last time that I had three types of exercise for you and we did one.

$ Right, the fucking attitude.

$ “Fucking” sounds like praying for a change of attitude towards attitudes.

$ It’s just the fact that this whole work piles up.

$ Do you mean the work on yourself inspired by studying a language?

$ Yes, that’s correct.

$ So let’s get started with an exercise that is tricky. Tell me, please, what are the advantages of not mastering a foreign language or of not making satisfactory progress in learning it?

$ Advantages? There aren’t any advantages. I despise myself for not having closed this chapter yet. How can I benefit from this? I came to you because this situation has only shortcomings.

$ You started to learn foreign languages over 30 years ago and for over 30 years you have been nurturing this state. The state of not knowing. It must pay off somehow.

$ I resent that. I don’t nurture this state. I just so happened. When I was a student, I founded my company, I got very much involved in my business, we were doing fine and the company was my priority. I was absorbed by things more important than languages.

$ You are angry with me because I remembered you how long you had been struggling with languages, with less than average result.

$ Yes, I am angry with you! You don’t understand me. Foreign languages are your passion and you have no idea what it feels like to work on a language and to get the only salary in form of weariness and regress.

$ I heard this objection once in a coaching class and it resonated with me. And you know what I did? I chose an area of mental work (dancing dropped out then) far from languages and I applied there what I teach students in the coaching classes.

$ What was it?

$ Chess. I have been playing for almost a year and I haven’t won . Not a single time.

$ I’m laughing because it’s unthinkable to me. You play in order to win, don’t you? If you don’t win, maybe it’s better… say that for me, please.

$ To leave it?

$ Exactly.

$ If children had a similar approach to learning how to walk, none of us would probably walk. Chess means to me much more than winning/losing. Firstly, I haven’t been on the other side for years, i.e. I always teach somebody; in chess, somebody teaches me. Secondly, it is a chance for me to test my methods in an area that is – as you noticed – neither my passion nor a piece of cake. This gives me a third gift: inspiration to deliberately reforge my methods and adapt them to other disciplines, e.g. finance. Fourthly, playing chess helps me understand better Garry Kasparov’s “How Life Imitates Chess” and consequently tackle the development of my company and my own more tactically and strategically. Fifthly, I have a real context to practice: sing as if nobody could hear you, dance as if nobody could see you, love as if nobody had hurt you.

$ Play chess as if nobody could lose.

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