The Unanticipated Consequences of Parental Leave

“Don’t Forget About the Love”

By Jonathan B. Wight

Joshua Waitzkin is the child prodigy and chess champion about whom the book and movie Searching for Bobby Fischer were written.

He since has gone on to become a world champion in the martial arts.

He’s been on the top of fame, surrounded by paparazzi, and yet somehow—he says through meditation—he’s been able to keep his feet on the ground.

His book The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance is on my list of summer reading.

Until then, you might want to listen to his wide-ranging interview with Tim Ferrus about peak performance, life, balance, and other issues.

This is of interest to those interested in virtue ethics. Waitzkin does not begrudge the standard utilitarian logic of the cost/benefit approach to life and success. But he notices that at the top of any field this approach will (he claims) lose out to more holistic approaches that embrace intuition and emotion that are critical for creativity.

Waitzkin extols the feeling of intrinsic connection with the activity as critical to ultimate success.  He calls this love. If you are doing something simply for the extrinsic rewards, fame, fortune, and so on, you will miss out on that secret ingredient.

The key point he ends with is, “Don’t forget about the love.”


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