Ep143: Mastering the “Chess Mindset” to Achieve Any Difficult Goal (and Get Really Good at Failing Along the Way) | with Misha Tenenbaum

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“Chess teaches you that losing is learning.” - Misha Tenenbaum

To master anything, whether it's actually playing chess, training for (and becoming) an American Ninja Warrior, or climbing to the top of your chosen career, you have to know that failure is a HUGE part of the equation. And in fact failure should be embraced as part of the fun of achieving any difficult goal in life. Chess is not just a game, it’s also a mindset I believe you must adopt if you want to achieve anything difficult, because nothing worthwhile is easy. And doing hard things requires the right strategy (which is why one of the “Key Mindsets” I share with all the students in my coaching & mentorship program is to “Play Chess With Your Goals Instead of Checkers.”)

Today I’m sharing with you a very fun, in-depth, and candid conversation with my friend and fellow entrepreneur Misha Tenenbaum. Before founding EditStock and EditMentor, Misha was a film and television editor and AE who edited shows for the Speed Channel, Food Network, as well as indie films. He also worked as an assistant editor on shows like American Horror Story, JOBS (the biopic about Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher), the Fox show Wayward Pines, and Quarry for Cinemax.

But instead of talking about Hollywood in this conversation, instead Misha and I dive deep into the meta skills necessary to achieve near-impossible (read: Ridiculous) goals. Misha grew up learning chess and spent several years in early adulthood climbing the ranks in the chess world. We discuss how the skills he's learned from spending years earning an 1800+ “Class A” ranking have transferred into many other aspects of his life. We also discuss the strange transformation that takes place along the path towards any goal where achieving that goal becomes irrelevant when you realize the journey is so much more valuable and rewarding.

Whether or not you have any interest in the game of chess whatsoever (Spoiler alert: I myself barely know how to play), there is a wealth of valuable information in this conversation that can help you apply a smarter strategy to achieving your own goals and mastering the art of failure along the way.

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Here's What You'll Learn:
  • The story of how Misha learned chess and his obsession with the game grew.
  • Not only is chess a game of strategy it is also a game of recognizing patterns.
  • If you don't understand the strategy or tactics you won't know how to play the game.
  • The differences between someone who memorized the patterns and someone who learns the strategies.
  • The rankings of chess players explained.
  • How to relate the levels of chess to editing or any other skill you want to master.
  • Becoming the best takes strategy and mindset shifts as well as dedicating your time and attention to that skill.
  • The story of Bobby Fischer and how the trends of chess change and recycle.
  • To break through a new level of your skill or craft, you have to innovate.
  • My story of deciding to train for American Ninja Warrior and the probability of it actually happening.
  • The side effects (read: benefits) of me FAILING at my goal to get on American Ninja Warrior.
  • The perseverance and dedication it takes to incrementally improve at any craft or skill you desire.
Useful Resources Mentioned:

Ep141: Michelle Tesoro (ACE) On Playing Chess With Your Career (Instead of Checkers) - pt1

Ep142: Michelle Tesoro (ACE) On Playing Chess With Your Health & Well-Being (Pt2)

The Queen's Gambit (TV Mini-Series 2020) - IMDb

EditStock | Practice Editing and Build A Demo Reel

The United States Chess Federation - Players & Ratings

Chess rating system - Wikipedia

Bobby Fischer - Chess, IQ & Death - Biography

American Ninja Warrior - NBC.com

Josh Waitzkin -- The Official Site of Josh Waitzkin & The Art of Learning

The Karate Kid (1984) - IMDb

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Guest Bio:

Before founding EditStock and EditMentor, Misha Tenenbaum was a film and television editor. He edited shows for the Speed Channel, Food Network, and indie films. He joined the Editor's Guild in 2011 and worked as an Assistant Editor on shows like American Horror Story, JOBS, the biopic about Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher, the Fox show Wayward Pines, and Quarry for Cinemax.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared by Debby Germino and published by Glen McNiel.

The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).

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