Why You Should Stop Aiming for Perfection

Why You Should Stop Aiming for Perfection

One of the most famous chess games in history is what has become known as “The Immortal Game.” It took place on June 21st 1851 in London during a break at the world’s first international chess tournament, held as part of the famous Great Exhibition that showcased British industry and technology at that time.

The players were German Adolf Anderssen (who eventually won the tournament) and Lionel Kieseritzky of France. Although Anderssen sacrificed many important pieces, including both of his rooks, a bishop, and eventually his queen, he still achieved a brilliant win, checkmating his opponent with his three remaining minor pieces. Kieseritzky was so impressed by his opponent’s moves that he telegraphed them to his Parisian chess club. The Immortal Game went down in history as one of the most remarkable chess games ever played. (Author David Shenk even named his famous book about chess after The Immortal Game .)

Immortal – but not necessarily perfect

Chess, like most things, has evolved since 1851. When Susan and I were analyzing The Immortal Game for one of our chess videos about the importance of being active in investing, Susan mentioned that computers have since found various errors in the game.

At first, I felt rather disappointed when I heard this. How could one of the world’s most classic games of chess be flawed? But Susan went on to say that this didn’t really matter. Anderssen ultimately won, and his moves were still a work of sheer brilliance. And the bottom line really is whether you win or lose.

Don’t wait till everything is perfect

The Immortal Game teaches an important lesson that can apply to investing as well as to life in general. If Anderssen had tried to make all his moves absolutely perfect, it’s possible that the Immortal Game would never have been played. Similarly, you may think you should wait until market conditions are absolutely perfect before you make any investment decision – but because there’s no such thing as a perfect market, you will never get anywhere. But if you do the best you can with the information that’s available to you, and you make your move, even if it’s slightly flawed, you still have the chance of becoming a winner.

Be active and build your financial plan today… with whatever you have at your disposal. Don’t wait around for things to get better.  If you are actively involved in making the best of your situation, you may, like Anderssen, end up winning an immortal game… and who doesn’t want financial success?

To read more about the importance of financial planning, click here. And if you want to read Susan’s analysis of the game as well as hear her describe it in a fascinating video, read page 184 of Rich As A King: How the Wisdom of Chess Can Make You a Grandmaster of Investing, which will then direct you to the video page.