I played a game of chess recently for the first time in many years against a pretty good player. One of the things I learned from this chess game was how resourceful the other player was. They had an uncanny ability to stay out of check mate even though I gained a board advantage. By the end of the game, I was sweating due to just how difficult it was to finally check mate their king. I think being resourceful is a useful skill. It lets you stay in the game of life longer or lets you push through challenges better. If you want to have a good life, learning to be resourceful – make the most of everything around you – is valuable.
Probably the biggest way to be resourceful is to understand what VALUE is. Value is simply how important something is at any given moment. This importance can be related to winning a game, surviving and thriving in your life, or accomplishing some goal. A good example is the chess game I was talking about. When looking at the board, there is a numeric value for each piece and here is one way to calculate that value.
- pawn = 1
- knight = 3
- bishop = 3
- rook = 5
- queen = 9
- king (infinitely valuable)
If you understand chess at all, then you know the king is the most valuable because if it is check mated, you lose. Beyond that, a person should be able to deduce value based on the capabilities of each piece, such that the queen, rook, bishops and knights, and finally pawn’s round out the most valuable of the pieces. Keeping and using value to its maximum potential is the name of the game. In a sense – keep value alive – don’t let it die.
Imagine being stranded in the wilderness. You might create a value hierarchy as follows:
- water = 9
- fire = 5
- shelter = 3
- food = 7
- finding civilization 8
If I were stranded, water would be the most valuable thing to me, followed by finding civilized life, food, fire, and then shelter. All of these things would be extremely valuable, but the most highest priorities for me would be what I’ve outlined. And it doesn’t even mean this is the right answer. Someone else may place more value on shelter than I did, for example.
The way to understand value is relative to life itself and what people want – including yourself, as well as what an outcome might be. If you are playing basketball, for example, then value is probably in the people you are playing with. The most valuable one’s will probably be good shooters, passers, re-bounders, fundamentally sound, good team players, etc… This value can be extracted by fist learning about basketball, and then just observing people.
The power of knowledge and observation
Resourcefulness to me comes down to two things – the ability to obtain knowledge, and the ability to observe your environment and what is in it. The knowledge is critical because it is the rules of the game – whether it is your company you work for, a game you are playing against someone, or life itself, there are always rules. For instance, in life right now, I place high value in not being at great heights. I know I have a greater chance of death if I get up high due to gravity. So being on level ground is very valuable to me.
It is the knowledge of the laws of physics I have that allows me to come to that conclusion. I know gravity does not stop, and therefore, if I go up, I have a chance of coming down and dying. It’s as simple as that to me.
I think the ability to survey everything around you and deduce its value is a big key to being resourceful. Use all of your sense. Watch what is going on, listen to it, touch it if possible, smell it, and feel it. Learn everything you can about it. If you are trying to find people to be friends with, think about what you place a high value on. Is it a sense of humor, being smart, or having lots of money? Simple observation and listening can help you answer that question. Use your eyes and your head and use your reasoning to see what makes sense.
Being resourceful means learning the rules of the game and keeping yourself and anything around you in play or alive. In the end, a resourceful person is probably going to find a way out of a situation or a way to win a game that the average person was not able to do. And it’s because they have a keen ability to learn, observe, and understand the VALUE of the things around them. As you go throughout your daily life, pay attention to those around you and especially those you compete with. See how resourceful they are. See if they understand the value of the things around them.
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