Raising your floor : Notes from Magnus Carlsen
Counterintuitive thoughts on raising your roof
So, I absolutely love chess. I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but I am presently enthralled in it.
Anyways, that’s not the point, the point is that I was watching a very interesting interview given by current World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen.
In this interview, which you can see here, Magnus was talking about Super Grand Master Ian (pronounced Yan) Nepomniachtchi, who at the time was his upcoming opponent for the World Chess Championship, and childhood training partner.
What Carlsen said about Nepo is what’s spurred me to write this article.
So, Magnus was asked why Nepo constantly falls short when competing at top level , despite being clearly one of the most gifted chess talents around.
Carlsen, who has trained with Nepo, said this :
“When he’s inspired he can play really well..he’s very much influenced by his mood on the particular day, which is what’s been setting him back…It’s been proven time and time again, that being consistent, and raising your floor, is just as important as raising your ceiling”
Nepos problem isn’t that he can’t play better than everyone else (including Carlsen at times) it’s that he can play a lot worse.
Maybe greatness is a habit?. Maybe great is just good - over and over again.
What if our floor is a better measure of our progress than our ceiling?
How does me on my worst day today compare to me on my worst day a year ago?
Speaking for myself here, I think that it’s easy to spend so much energy on trying to reach new heights that you forget to look down and see how far you’ve climbed.
Anyways, just something I was thinking about.