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Viswanathan Anand (Photo: Mint)
Viswanathan Anand (Photo: Mint)

Dreams don't need a dose of reality, but planning does: Viswanathan Anand

With 2020—a year that once seemed so far in the future that people set targets for transformation—just days away, Mint has been inviting leaders in various fields to share five ideas that will impact the decade ahead

Chess champion Viswanathan Anand tells Mint how to stay ahead of the competition, in work and life.

Prioritize for short and long term

When it comes to goals, dreaming is required. It’s not necessary to start from a realistic perspective; some ambition, even over-optimism is healthy. But when planning your next steps, be realistic and think about what can be achieved within a time-frame. You may want to change things in your game just before the big day (a client meeting), but decide what can be achieved in a short time-frame and what can be put off for later.

Do things to improve stamina

Exercise is needed today because of our busy lives, and the environment we live in. Try to do things to recharge your batteries and increase your physical capacity. I alternate between cardio, stretches, weights and yoga. I like this mix because while stamina is important I find that good posture and feeling comfortable is as important during a tournament. And yes, nothing can beat a good night’s sleep.

Manage your commitments

Conserving mental energy is all about avoiding anything that engages the brain too much while there’s a tournament. The mundane stuff doesn’t take a lot of mental space. When you pick a fight or something stressful happens, it can irritate you and it’s difficult to be calm. It’s crucial to manage commitments efficiently because you can utilize the conserved energy for problems you will face at the chessboard.

Be constant in preparation

There is sometimes a conflict during a tournament between preparation and rest. Someone who thinks they are well prepared can rest as much as possible before the game. But if they face something they haven’t prepared for, they are most likely to fall. On the other hand, if you keep preparing in the hope that you will guess what will happen on the board or in a meeting, then you will most probably succeed.

Know what others are doing

You should take an interest in what other people are doing even if it doesn’t seem to have any relevance for you right now. It’s a mixture of what is relevant to you right now and following it, and also scanning the horizons for anything which is not a priority right now but could turn up to be disruptive that helps in success.

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