Simultaneous Chess

I was trying to explain a rather challenging day at the office to my wife; a day where I felt like I had a thousand things happening at once.

I struggled for a few minutes and then stumbled to a description that “it is like playing simultaneous chess” where you must keep a number of game states in memory and constantly switch between them.

I think this is a rather apt description. I also see that the ability to play this kind of simultaneous chess is a really key attribute for many senior executives. That’s not to disparage a single-minded focus on one thing, since I believe this kind of attention is really the key to creativity. But not many us work on creative tasks all the time. Sometimes we must play chess, and if you can play multiple games simultaneously then that is also a valuable skill.

As a footnote to this post, I am not suggesting any adversarial element in my work. Of course we all strive for a win-win result in any deal. I am only commenting on the complexity aspect.


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