Garry Kasparov said,

The stock market and the gridiron and the battlefield aren’t as tidy as the chessboard, but in all of them, a single, simple rule holds true: make good decisions and you’ll succeed; make bad ones and you’ll fail.

It is that simple. Stop your immediate human reaction of searching for qualifiers to reject this statement. That is your ego.

Garry Kasparov sits at chessboardSometimes a decision seems good at the time and turns out to be bad. So define decisions as good or bad based on ultimate outcome, not on present circumstances. This leaves less room for excuses. But Kasparov’s logic is not about ego, it’s formulaic. We only read into it from an ego perspective when we have failed.

You have to operationally define good and bad for yourself. If you don’t consider it failure to make decisions that seem good at the time but are bad in the end, you will be forgiving of yourself and others forever. It is the sting of a really bad decision that incites true investment in making the next right decision at the moment with what information is available. It makes you look harder for the answer. Otherwise, you never fail; you are a victim of circumstance. Nothing is risked. Material may be gained, but the outcome of the game cannot be interpreted as anything but a loss, strictly speaking.