ARTICLE #18 [First published in June 1988 Chicago Point]

The Seeds

There is a problem that develops as you become proficient at backgammon. In mastery of your skills, you might plant the seeds of your own destruction. As you start to produce some positive results, you will naturally increase your pride and self-confidence. If these qualities are left unattended, they may grow into vanity and arrogance. Vanity is a jealous consul that is inflated by fame and flattery. Its concern is not with the truth, but with the image it guards. When its interest is challenged, it becomes deaf to probing questions and blind to unsettling answers.

Some players may foster arrogance as a competitive tool of assertion, but it appears to be more like crutches for insecurity rather than an asset for performance. I believe that we all have these faults to one degree or another. If left unchecked, they may become a very expensive mouth to feed.

Most players may find it difficult to become introspective and deal with self-defacing issues. And if their ego is too fragile, they may totally avoid self-criticism. There may not be any reasonable cure for these inflictions, but learning to recognize the symptoms could moderate the damage.

If someone asks you about a play, the way you answer it may give you a clue into your own attitudes. One answer could be, “This is the correct play.” The other might be, “I would play it this way.” Both answers may be identical on play, but the tone of the delivery is completely different. The first assumes authority without indulgence, while the second one offers personal credibility without presumption.

If you usually respond to questions in the first manner, is it for the sake of the truth, or for your own recognition?

Fortune Cookie
Powerful players have the courage of their convictions, even if they are wrong.

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