Upgrade to Chess.com Premium!

On Motivation & Chess

 

Daniel  Pink is an author who has intrigued me with his findings in the area of behavioral physics -- (NOT the same thing as Newtonian physics). I have just finished my own personal study of the book, Drive and and upon finishing that book, I think that I discovered why I keep logging onto this site even though I lose game after game after game. I'd like to share what I learned about what motivates me/doesn't motivate me in terms of being apart of the chess.com community. I also very clearly see how chess.com either deliberately or nondeliberately employ these concepts of motivation.  

On a personal level, I always make it clear in my profile, that despite my rating, I still love to play chess and am here to "enjoy life" not to become some chess master in need of world recognition. I once had a player type a message in chat that stated, "I don't know why you play. . . . " How rude was that? I didn't disable chat. . . . I thought about the statement for some time. . . .and sought to answer the question for myself. . . . I did know that for one thing, I still deserve to "be here." But how does someone who can barely keep her rating at 1000 stay here? Is this site only meant for the elite? Why do I make this site a part of my day? Three reasons -- and they are all in Pink's book.

#1 Autonomy. Chess for me is self-directed. I can decide to play whenever I want. I can log on at work and sneak in a few moves if I'd like. I can play on the go with iphone when I'm waiting in line or sitting in a waiting room, riding in a car, etc. And no one is monitoring my chess games but me. If I don't want to play, I have the tactics trainer for practice. This site is a great resource for someone to learn how to play, refine techniques, play in a variety of ways on a personal or even an impersonal level against the computer. Plus I don't really worry about pleasing anyone -- I have no need for any kind of an extrinsic reward -- nothing bad is going to to happen to me if I slip into the "unrated" category.  If someone with a higher rating refuses to play with me, I just think that it's that person's loss! More often than not, the higher rated players have only made me stronger and have offered me encouragement along my chess journey. 

Of course, chess.com uses the old system of carrots and sticks to reward and punish players via ratings, trophies and the like - but even this has not deterred me. 

There are also the plethora of groups that unite people with various interests together for online storytelling and amusement. 

#2 Mastery. Despite what you've been taught to believe about practice, practices does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent. Simply being able to chart your own progress is freeing -- and that progress does not have to be dramatic.....being able to see small incremental steps in improvement over time is motivating. And this is true for me. I am not so much concerned with my rating but I am very motivated by the fact that I play the game with more understanding about what is unfolding before me. It's this very understanding that numbers of ratings often do not capture in terms of how one plays the game. If I get just a little bit better without having received elaborate rewards even, I am motivated to accept the next challenge. Chess.com has set up this site in such a way that the individual decides. 

#3 Transcendent Purpose. People want to feel that there is a reason to get up in the morning and face the day. I am propelled by the belief that my life must mean something in the greater scheme of things....no matter where I live or what I do -- my life on this planet is unified with the rest of life on this planet. This desire is a motivator as well -- that what I am doing is sending a ripple effect that extend outward into the world. (Hopefully for the good of the world.) "I wanna put a ding in the universe!" is now a common quote by Steve Jobs that can apply to all areas of existence. . . . and how I ding the universe is completely up to me. 

I have met people on this site who I would have otherwise never had the opportunity to know -- and so extending chess to the world community has caused people from all over the world to share ideas, knowledge, problems, recipes, musical likes/dislikes, etc.  I have even met people who have offered expertise in their fields and I have done the same. So again, chess.com seems to understand the whole concept of human drives. 

Here is a great clip from Daniel Pink's website also found on the infamous youtube that further explains these concepts over which I have only scratched the surface. 

Comments


  • 21 months ago

    winerkleiner

    I don't know if Bluegrass is here anymore.  We were friends months ago and just vanished.  Maybe she will come back...here's hoping!

  • 21 months ago

    Florentine

    Hey Bluegrass, excellent job with the article I just read. Your name caught me and so I read the article. What you said is really close to me in that I am trying to be a better student of REBT(not really that scarey-developed by Dr. Albert Ellis in the 50s-firestorm at the time but mainstream psychiatric therepy now) To oversimplify one aspect of it-and you hit it right on the head-we're not here to please you buddy-so we're going get the enjoyment out of it that we wantand not what you think we should want.

    Im trying to use this REBT to not get upset over rude crap like he said(REBT is not a psydoscience-sp-there's a wealth of info online about it.

    I read "The Immortal Game" by David Shenk a few years ago and that motivated me to take up the game again-even though I got lots of losses because there's much more than the the cutthroat stuff. Good  Job!

  • 3 years ago

    ScooterVols

    Thanks so much for your articile... I am new to the game and not very good but I have grown to love the challenge... I played alittle in my youth but that was like playing checkers... Thanks for your take on this website...Love to play chess sometime..

  • 3 years ago

    SirTobyBelch

    Thanks for sharing that video. And keep playing.

  • 3 years ago

    bogonetic

    "Why do we always strive for perfection on the first attempt?" --> Now thats a GREAT question. I've been boggled by it for quite some time, and I find myself in that situation/pitfall on a regular basis. Stifles the progress to a point of being scared to make a move 'cause it may be a wrong one...

  • 3 years ago

    BluegrassPrincess

    Thanks, Bogonetic......I think making mistakes enables us to confront who we are.......in essence, this professor seems to take the fear out of trying......refreshing, isn't it? Why do we always strive for perfection on the first attempt? Glad you enjoy the blog but I change my music very often......in an 80s Falco mood. Love his style. :)
  • 3 years ago

    BluegrassPrincess

    Hey Anders, I agree, I see the value of combining new and old in terms of "leadership." I like the idea of dialogue and valuing everyone's sense of creativity. Gone are the days of thinking in a neat, little box. Too many variables, effects....
  • 3 years ago

    bogonetic

    There is a teacher (PhD) at the University where I study; he teaches computer science - Optimizations Research! trying to min-max the NP-complete problems. Very very technical and hard stuff...

    Anyway, his method of madnes <> TEACHING is to encourage students to make mistakes.

    Mistakes is when the real learning happens! ...and it fits right in with the "autonomous" (everyone makes their OWN mistakes), "mastery" (everyone gets better!) and "purpose" (solve the problem that no one has solved YET).. 

    This professor has the most post-graduate (master) students out of the whole department... He has no more funding to give - yet students flock to him.

     

     

    ALSO: your blog is awesome and the video is contageous! :) way to go and good job Cool

  • 3 years ago

    AndersBoHansen

    Some of us HR managers do :) and today the concept of management (like HRM) can be many things and has always been many things - and thanx for this Blog Post, it was very interesting to read...

  • 3 years ago

    BluegrassPrincess

    Change is a process/journey for individuals and corporations.

  • 3 years ago

    winerkleiner

    Very true Blue, management and corporations (normally) who, for one reason or another, refuse to change with the times, find themselves ill prepared for their future.  

  • 3 years ago

    BluegrassPrincess

    Yes, Ren, it makes me consider why I do anything at all . . . . and when we put the fact that rewards are out of the equation (because they have little bearing on motivation), I begin to at least understanding why I do what I do. . . . why I lose interest in some subjects. :)

  • 3 years ago

    BluegrassPrincess

    Thanks, Aslan, your words are encouraging. Put it in perspective. :)  And Macsys, you're very poetic. . . . never thought of it that way but it makes sense. . . . Perhaps in life, the rules aren't as "clear" as they are in this game. 

  • 3 years ago

    dr_dre

    Chess is more fair than life. In chess your pieces don't change their colours...in life they do sometimes.

  • 3 years ago

    Aslanjohn

    Deep, meaningful stuff!

    Chess is like life: some people may appear to win all the time but it is in the losing that we learn. Learning makes us stronger ad more fullfilled.  The real winner is the one who never quits and learns.

  • 3 years ago

    BluegrassPrincess

    Change takes time......some organizations are still hung up on 20th century techniques.....guess everyone will eventually will eventually start to tweak the old practices. 

  • 3 years ago

    BluegrassPrincess

    I personally don't know how they could NOT want to revamp the thinking. You see, the whole concept of management is compliance and that's as new as the 1840's? Not very 21st century minded. 

  • 3 years ago

    jimstaplja1

    I just wish every HR manager in the world could see the wisdom in this.

Back to Top

Post your reply: