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The "chess method mindset": a different approach to healthy detachment

I had a conversation with a friend of mine (who's connected to a lot of powerful people) that opened my eyes to the many secret deals that are made behind closed doors within the government.

By the end of that conversation, I felt like many people in society are simply pawns playing within the rules of the government's game that we call "society".

I went to the grocery store not long after that still thinking about that conversation. In the store, I felt a total sense of calmness and carefreedom. It was as if I was the only one who "knew the truth about the world" and everyone else was "unenlightened", so there was no need to care what anyone thought of me.

"What do I have to be nervous or uncomfortable about?" I said to myself. "I'm surrounded by powerless pawns who don't even know that they're trapped within a game they can do nothing about. They're simply forced to play by its rules and accept it — the shit deal that they've been handed."

That feeling of power over my mind (and, by extension, myself) was addicting in that moment. I loved it. It felt like never having to worry about having to behave a certain way in order to avoid being ostracized or isolated. It felt like never needing to be accepted or approved of by these "common pawns who know nothing about the real truth" ever again.

Note: And, BTW, I don't personally feel this way about others and I'm not a fan of the idea of viewing oneself as "above other people", generally speaking. This is only an honest recap of how I was feeling in that particular moment.

So, I walked up to the counter to pay for my goods and the cashier greeted me warmly. Working a simple, humble job — the same one that I had when I was first getting started in my career. But, he had a sunnier disposition towards me than I had to some of the customers that I had to deal with back then (at least, it felt that way because of how friendly he was toward me).

I saw his hand as he scanned my items noticing a ring on his ring finger and couldn't stop myself from thinking, "No, this isn't a pawn. This is a person. A man...with a family."

I sat in my car outside of the store with a large part of me wishing I could keep the emotional detachment I felt and still maintain my empathy for others as well. The mindset was too cold for me. It felt impossible to have both...as if the two cancel each other out.

So, after some long thought, I eventually found a strategic application for this attitude. I call it the "chess method mindset".

Here are some of my notes on it (and sometimes I take notes in Canva because it's easier for me to understand certain concepts visually):

Each piece on the chessboard is either helping to move you closer or farther away from your goals.

Similar to Ray Dalio's approach in Principles which he calls "looking at yourself from above" or "looking at yourself as a machine", rather than making yourself the cold, heartless machine, you're free to make yourself the intelligent social strategist and the value-takers exactly what they are: disposable pawns. (In this analogy, they're not pawns for your control over them, they're pawns for the little value they contribute to your goals in comparison to other pieces/types of people and are, therefore, undeserving of too much emotional attachment.)

So, now, whenever I come across a value-taker (see "dealing with book scammers"), I give them a label, thinking to myself, "You're a pawn. You're hardly worth any of my time, attention, energy, or mental space. Let's just get this over with as soon as possible so I can move on to more important things."

And, those more important things would also include other people you might meet and befriend along your journey who are more value-giving to your goals:

  • Horses: Driven, high-quality individuals with a high social ROI. They might not be very high-value right now, but with some effort, you'd be helping someone who has a huge chance of repaying you in the future.
  • Queens: More high-quality women who might be a better fit for you than your current relationship. Or, if you're single (or even simply interested in STRs), women who might be great value-givers for your overall life satisfaction.
  • Kings: High-quality men who are already high-value and/or high-status in some way. (Great value-givers for your goals.)

Either way, all of the above are far more worth your time and mental space than a pawn. And, it's easier to remember that (at least for me) when put within the context of chess.

Now, keep in mind, there is a caveat here. I don't take this attitude with someone who "does one thing value-taking". Some mistakes and certain failures can be forgiven.

This attitude is primarily for strangers who:

  1. Present themselves to you as value-taking
  2. Require much of your time/energy investment (due to the situation)
  3. Show no sign of a potential to grow/change

When locked into a situation with a value-taker that you can't walk away from for a while, it can be mental health-preserving to think of them as a low priority in your life as a way of remaining detached.

Right now, the chess method is how I'm exploring doing that.

P.S.:

Nothing is set in stone here yet. This mindset is still new and in testing.

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Lucio BuffalmanoPower duck

*Update:

This seems like a great mindset in theory on the surface, but after some field testing, it now feels like it's only a convoluted way of saying, "Hey man, don't let those guys get you down, you have bigger things to think about."

So, at least for right now, it seems like a better (more effective) approach would be for one to:

  • Surface their limiting beliefs surrounding why they give priority to those who might not deserve it: which is achievable through some high-quality therapy
  • Focus on resolving those root limiting beliefs: which effectively resolves the symptoms of those limiting beliefs (such as being emotionally pulled down by those value-takers, allocating too much mental space/time to them, etc.)

Maybe more testing is required for this one to change my mind about it but, right now, I'm in the process of testing some other mindsets that may prove more practically useful.

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Lucio Buffalmano

Some quick thoughts on this:

It seems like the approach's goal would be to feel empowered and independent of people's thoughts.

Originally, that came from feeling "above / better" than the people around.

And, in a way, that's an effective shortcut.

On top of the loss of empathy / connection though there is an other issue in my opinion: the approach of feeling superior doesn't work when you meet a top 1% and/or when you met another one of those "in the know" (VS the clueless pawns).

The approach in the "enlightened individualist" instead is that of looking at anyone who's at the top of anything and/or done anything great and feel like you can either do it too and/or that you participate with him for the simple fact of also being a human.
That approach / feeling doesn't have nearly as many downsides.

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Ali ScarlettJohn FreemanPower duck
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

BTW, I not only see nothing wrong with feeling "higher" / "superior" than most, but also don't see it as an impediment to empathy or as to seeing others as worthy of respect.

It's my opinion that it's only 10% of people who move the world forward.
Does that make that 10% "better"? Well, in a way, yes.
Does that give them the right to treat others like shit? No. Should that stop them from being able to bond, connect, get along, or even love anyone else? I don't think so.

So I think it's entirely possible to combine the feeling of "I'm above most other people" with humanity and connection.

In good part though it depends on how you reach that stage.
If you reach it thinking "I'm better because they're nobodies", then it's more likely it will be an impediment to connection, plus it will come across with the way you speak and carry yourself -see the feeling Voss gave you in those mock interviews-, plus it also tends to be more fragile because the day you meet someone who's not a "nobody", then you may be back to insecurity, need for acceptance, and lower self-esteem.

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Power duck
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

The more I think about it, the more there would be to say.

There are links between a "sense of superiority", self-esteem, confidence, social power, "resistance to judges" and (emotional) independence.

But also with negative traits such as smugness, conceit, rudeness (why would you treat the pawns any good?), social inefficacy (your conceit will show, and you also become less effective at life as you cannot lead and recruit at the best of your ability), isolation (why would you want to connect with pawns?), and unhappiness (social ties and good relationships are one of the most consistent, most important requirements for happiness).

It would take a half book to properly explore.

There is a good overlap though with what we discuss here as "social climbing" and "social pegs".
The "less optimal" way to self-esteem needs the pegs -similarly to how the sub-optimal way to social status needs to pull power moves on the social pegs to step on them-.

Luckily, you can be your own judge here.
If you feel that your sense of greatness, superiority and confidence are tied to pushing people down and you're losing connection and (social) efficacy, then you can probably do better.

Power duck has reacted to this post.
Power duck
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

As a quick response:

Yes, completely agree with you 100%.

Couldn't describe it better than how you put it: a "shortcut" (with all of the downsides you noted above).

Moving on from this mindset for now and focusing on the longer yet more fruitful mental pursuits.

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Lucio BuffalmanoPower duck
  1. Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on April 6, 2022, 7:54 pm

BTW, I not only see nothing wrong with feeling "higher" / "superior" than most, but also don't see it as an impediment to empathy or as to seeing others as worthy of respect.

It's my opinion that it's only 10% of people who move the world forward.
Does that make that 10% "better"? Well, in a way, yes.
Does that give them the right to treat others like shit? No. Should that stop them from being able to bond, connect, get along, or even love anyone else? I don't think so.

So I think it's entirely possible to combine the feeling of "I'm above most other people" with humanity and connection.

In good part though it depends on how you reach that stage.
If you reach it thinking "I'm better because they're nobodies", then it's more likely it will be an impediment to connection, plus it will come across with the way you speak and carry yourself -see the feeling Voss gave you in those mock interviews-, plus it also tends to be more fragile because the day you meet someone who's not a "nobody", then you may be back to insecurity, need for acceptance, and lower self-esteem.

I think that changing the why youre better than them depending on the person or situation could do the trick.

E.g: if you do something stupid in public by accident, in order to not feel embarrassed (as It usually stems from what others will think of you) one could think something like: If those who've seen me are decent human beings who dont project their insecurities onto others, they will understand that it  was an accident, so theres no need to feel bad. If some of those who've seen me are people who havent addressed their insecurities, they will probably think that im an idiot, and will  laugh at me, but thats THEIR problem, im better than them as Im improving myself and i shouldnt care about what people-who dont even like themselves- think of me.

(changing the red parts depending on the situation)

The only downside is that if you tend to project your insecurities onto others this  could develop into a me vs everyone mentality. But solve that and your good. For me this has done the trick several times.

 

P.S. In a way Im saying the same thing you wrote, but i thought that adding some things i came up with could make the post a bit more useful/interesting.

Quote from Power duck on April 25, 2023, 12:54 pm
  1. Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on April 6, 2022, 7:54 pm

BTW, I not only see nothing wrong with feeling "higher" / "superior" than most, but also don't see it as an impediment to empathy or as to seeing others as worthy of respect.

It's my opinion that it's only 10% of people who move the world forward.
Does that make that 10% "better"? Well, in a way, yes.
Does that give them the right to treat others like shit? No. Should that stop them from being able to bond, connect, get along, or even love anyone else? I don't think so.

So I think it's entirely possible to combine the feeling of "I'm above most other people" with humanity and connection.

In good part though it depends on how you reach that stage.
If you reach it thinking "I'm better because they're nobodies", then it's more likely it will be an impediment to connection, plus it will come across with the way you speak and carry yourself -see the feeling Voss gave you in those mock interviews-, plus it also tends to be more fragile because the day you meet someone who's not a "nobody", then you may be back to insecurity, need for acceptance, and lower self-esteem.

I think that changing the why youre better than them depending on the person or situation could do the trick.

E.g: if you do something stupid in public by accident, in order to not feel embarrassed (as It usually stems from what others will think of you) one could think something like: If those who've seen me are decent human beings who dont project their insecurities onto others, they will understand that it  was an accident, so theres no need to feel bad. If some of those who've seen me are people who havent addressed their insecurities, they will probably think that im an idiot, and will  laugh at me, but thats THEIR problem, im better than them as Im improving myself and i shouldnt care about what people-who dont even like themselves- think of me.

(changing the red parts depending on the situation)

The only downside is that if you tend to project your insecurities onto others this  could develop into a me vs everyone mentality. But solve that and your good. For me this has done the trick several times.

 

P.S. In a way Im saying the same thing you wrote, but i thought that adding some things i came up with could make the post a bit more useful/interesting.

Actually what i wrote could be summed up in: dont care when people think badly of you because of a mistake as theyre probably projecting their insecurities.

Maybe this would fit better in another post.

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Lucio Buffalmano
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