How often do you intentionally learn from others?

Today is July 24 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you intentionally learn from others?” Those who navigate the chaos understand they have a good deal to learn along the way. With that in mind, they seek to learn from as many people as possible. Unfortunately, life provides many examples of those who have attained some level of success by ignoring others, disrespecting them, or failing to listen. Life is unfair. If you witness someone attain success and they blatantly disrespect others you need to ask yourself if that is a strategy you wish to pursue.

Most people who translate their dreams into reality intentionally learn from others. Listening, respecting, and learning from others offers valuable lessons as you travel your path of navigating the chaos. Bobby Fischer understood this and in so doing became one of the greatest chess players ever.

Robert James "Bobby" Fischer was an American chess grand master and the eleventh World Chess Champion. Many consider him to be the greatest chess player of all time. In March 1949, 6-year-old Bobby and his sister Joan learned how to play chess using the instructions from a set bought at a candy store.

When Joan lost interest in chess and Regina did not have time to play, it left Fischer to play many of his first games against himself. With little money, his mother moved the family from Manhattan into a small apartment in Brooklyn in 1950. Fearing that her son was spending so much time alone playing chess, she sent a postcard to the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper, seeking to place an ad inquiring whether other children of Bobby's age might be interested in playing chess with him.

The paper rejected her ad because no one could figure out how to classify it, but forwarded her inquiry to Hermann Helms, the "Dean of American Chess", who told her that Master Max Pavey, former Scottish champion, would be giving an exhibition on January 17, 1951. Fischer played in the exhibition. Although he held on for 15 minutes, even drawing a crowd of onlookers, he eventually lost to the chess master.

One of the spectators was Brooklyn Chess Club President Carmine Nigro, an American chess expert of near master strength and an instructor. Nigro was so impressed with Fischer's play that he introduced him to the club and began teaching him.

Since Fischer’s father and mother divorced when he was young and the young chess player who had no contact with his father, became a fixture at the Nigro household in Brooklyn. “As Dylan Loeb McClain wrote in a September 2, 2001 New York Times obituary for Carmine NigroOver the next three years, Mr. Fischer would go over at least once during the week for a lesson, spend Saturdays with the Nigros and then go into Manhattan with Mr. Nigro on Sundays to play chess in Washington Square Park. This routine continued even after Mr. Fischer surpassed his teacher as a player.”

Nigro left a lasting impression on Mr. Fischer. Mr. Fischer dedicated his first book, ''Bobby Fischer's Games of Chess,'' to Mr. Nigro and wrote in the forward, ''Mr. Nigro was possibly not the best player in the world, but he was a very good teacher.''

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden noted "Never try to be better than someone else. Learn from others and try to be the best you can be. Success is the by-product of that preparation."

Fischer learned from others. Do you?