The game of chess is centered around the idea of ‘inevitability’.

In chess, quite early in the game, one player can often have a slight advantage – say an extra pawn. From there onwards, if both players play correctly for the rest of the game, it is inevitable that the person with the extra pawn wins the game. As the game develops, this slight advantage multiplies until it overwhelms the opponent.

The player with the advantage seeks to maintain the status-quo – to play predictable moves and avoid surprises. The player with the disadvantage tries to shake things up. Since they are losing by default, they play moves that are unusual and can surprise their opponent.

This idea also has real-life implications. A startup might be default-alive or default-dead. In the absence of additional  funding, if the startup can survive on its profits, it is default-alive. Else, it is default dead. Startups that are default-alive are fine even if they maintain the status-quo. Startups that are default-dead are forced to shift the status-quo via explosive growth or a pivot.

We can extend this to every idea, habit or routine we have nurtured. Which of our current practices serve us well in the long-run? Those are the ones to sustain. Which ones serve us less? Those are the ones where we need to shake things up.

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