70 Inspirational Joshua Waitzkin Quotes [2021] An American Chess Player

70 Inspirational Joshua Waitzkin Quotes [2021] An American Chess Player

Joshua Waitzkin is an acclaimed American Chess player, Martial Artist, and Author.

Waitzkin won the U.S. Junior Chess championship back to back in the years 1993 and 1994. He is also known as Josh Waitzkin.

He got several US national medals and a 2004 world champion medal in Martial Arts competitive sport. He is the author of two books: Attacking Chess: Aggressive Strategies, Inside Moves from the U.S. Junior Chess Champion (1995) and The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance (2008).

We've put together an incredible collection of Joshua Waitzkin quotes to read.

Here they are:

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List of Inspiring Joshua Waitzkin Quotes

"Not only we have to be good at waiting, we have to love it. Because waiting is not waiting, it is life." - Josh Waitzkin


"So if you think that when you are better, it means that you can smash ahead and mate the guy, you are wrong, that is not what better means. What better means is that your position has the potential, if played correctly, to turn out well. So do not think that when you are better and when you are attacking that you can just force mate. That is not what it is about. Often the way to play best, the way to play within the position, is to maintain it." - Josh Waitzkin


"In chess you might find a good move. Then you might find a better move. But take your time. Find the best move." - Josh Waitzkin


"The key to pursuing excellence is to embrace an organic, long-term learning process, and not to live in a shell of static, safe mediocrity. Usually, growth comes at the expense of previous comfort or safety." - Josh Waitzkin


"Growth comes at the point of resistance. We learn by pushing ourselves and finding what really lies at the outer reaches of our abilities." - Josh Waitzkin


"If I want to be the best, I have to take risks others would avoid, always optimizing the learning potential of the moment and turning adversity to my advantage. That said, there are times when the body needs to heal, but those are ripe opportunities to deepen the mental, technical, internal side of my game. When aiming for the top, your path requires an engaged, searching mind. You have to make obstacles spur you to creative new angles in the learning process. Let setbacks deepen your resolve. You should always come off an injury or a loss better than when you went down." - Josh Waitzkin


"One idea I taught was the importance of regaining presence and clarity of mind after making a serious error." - Josh Waitzkin


"Everyone at a high level has a huge amount of chess understanding, and much of what separates the great from the very good is deep presence, relaxation of the conscious mind, which allows the unconscious to flow unhindered." - Josh Waitzkin


"He landed on cheap shot, but I knocked him out of the tournament." - Josh Waitzkin


"A key component of high-level learning is cultivating a resilient awareness that is the older, conscious embodiment of a child’s playful obliviousness." - Josh Waitzkin


"One of the most critical strengths of a superior competitor in any discipline—whether we are speaking about sports, business negotiations, or even presidential debates—is the ability to dictate the tone of the battle." - Josh Waitzkin


"In my experience, successful people shoot for the stars, put their hearts on the line in every battle, and ultimately discover that the lessons learned from the pursuit of excellence mean much more than the immediate trophies and glory." - Josh Waitzkin


"Of course there were plateaus, periods when my results leveled off while I internalized the information necessary for my next growth spurt, but I didn’t mind." - Josh Waitzkin


"The human mind defines things in relation to one another—without light the notion of darkness would be unintelligible" - Josh Waitzkin


"there are clear distinctions between what it takes to be decent, what it takes to be good, what it takes to be great, and what it takes to be among the best. If your goal is to be mediocre, then you have a considerable margin for error. You can get depressed when fired and mope around waiting for someone to call with a new job offer. If you hurt your toe, you can take six weeks watching television and eating potato chips." - Josh Waitzkin


"The secret is that everything is always on the line. The more present we are at practice, the more present we will be in competition, in the boardroom, at the exam, the operating table, the big stage. If we have any hope of attaining excellence, let alone of showing what we’ve got under pressure, we have to be prepared by a lifestyle of reinforcement. Presence must be like breathing." - Josh Waitzkin


"I knew how to block out my issues in a sprint, but in marathons I ran out of gas. Consistency became a critical problem. On days that I was inspired, I was unstoppable. But other days I would play bad chess. The time had come for me to learn the science of long-term, healthy, self-sustaining peak performance." - Josh Waitzkin


"I was unhindered by internal conflict—a state of being that I have come to see as fundamental to the learning process." - Josh Waitzkin


"To walk a thorny road, we may cover its every inch with leather or we can make sandals. Anger." - Josh Waitzkin


"we cannot calculate our important contests, adventures, and great loves to the end. The only thing we can really count on is getting surprised. No matter how much preparation we do, in the real tests of our lives, we’ll be in unfamiliar terrain. Conditions might not be calm or reasonable. It may feel as though the whole world is stacked against us. This is when we have to perform better than we ever conceived of performing. I believe the key is to have prepared in a manner that allows for inspiration, to have laid the foundation for us to create under the wildest pressures we ever imagined." - Josh Waitzkin


"Instead of running from our emotions or being swept away by their initial gusts, we should learn to sit with them, become at peace with their unique flavors, and ultimately discover deep pools of inspiration." - Josh Waitzkin


"It is rarely a mysterious technique that drives us to the top, but rather a profound mastery of what may well be a basic skill set." - Josh Waitzkin


"Whenever I made a fundamental error, he would mention the principle I had violated. If I refused to budge, he’d proceed to take advantage of the error until my position fell apart. Over time, Bruce earned my respect as I saw the correctness of his ideas." - Josh Waitzkin


"The fact of the matter is that there will be nothing learned from any challenge in which we don’t try our hardest. Growth comes at the point of resistance. We learn by pushing ourselves and finding what really lies at the outer reaches of our abilities. *" - Josh Waitzkin


"At the highest levels of any kind of competitive discipline, everyone is great. At this point the decisive factor is rarely who knows more, but who dictates the tone of the battle. For this reason, almost without exception, champions are specialists whose styles emerge from profound awareness of their unique strengths, and who are exceedingly skilled at guiding the battle in that direction." - Josh Waitzkin


"I believe that one of the most critical factors in the transition to becoming a conscious high performer is the degree to which your relationship to your pursuit stays in harmony with your unique disposition. There will inevitably be times when we need to try new ideas, release our current knowledge to take in new information—but it is critical to integrate this new information in a manner that does not violate who we are. By taking away our natural voice, we leave ourselves without a center of gravity to balance us as we navigate the countless obstacles along our way." - Josh Waitzkin


"The path to artistic insight in one direction often involves deep study of another—the intuition makes uncanny connections that lead to a crystallization of fragmented notions." - Josh Waitzkin


"In short, I was a mess. I had learned as a boy how to deal with distraction in a given moment, but the larger distractions of my life were overwhelming me. In an isolated situation, I could overcome the issues—I’ve always been able to bring it for the big game—but the kind of reckless intensity this required sapped me." - Josh Waitzkin


"In the end, mastery involves discovering the most resonant information and integrating it so deeply and fully it disappears and allows us to fly free." - Josh Waitzkin


"I found myself calculating less and feeling more," - Josh Waitzkin


"Musicians, actors, athletes, philosophers, scientists, writers understand that brilliant creations are often born of small errors." - Josh Waitzkin


"If I have learned anything over my first twenty-nine years, it is that we cannot calculate our important contests, adventures, and great loves to the end. The only thing we can really count on is getting surprised. No matter how much preparation we do, in the real tests of our lives, we’ll be in unfamiliar terrain. Conditions might not be calm or reasonable. It may feel as though the whole world is stacked against us. This is when we have to perform better than we ever conceived of performing. I believe the key is to have prepared in a manner that allows for inspiration, to have laid the foundation for us to create under the wildest pressures we ever imagined. It" - Josh Waitzkin


"In performance training, first we learn to flow with whatever comes. Then we learn to use whatever comes to our advantage. Finally, we learn to be completely self-sufficient and create our own earthquakes, so our mental process feeds itself explosive inspirations without the need for outside stimulus. The" - Josh Waitzkin


"I would take in vast amounts of technical information that my brain somehow put together into bursts of insight that felt more like music or wind than mathematical combinations. Increasingly, I had the sense that the key to these leaps was interconnectedness—some part of my being was harmonizing all my relevant knowledge, making it gel into one potent eruption, and suddenly the enigmatic was crystal-clear. But what was really happening?" - Josh Waitzkin


"Mental resilience is arguably the most critical trait of a world-class performer, and it should be nurtured continuously." - Josh Waitzkin


"When uncomfortable, my instinct is not to avoid the discomfort but to become at peace with it." - Josh Waitzkin


"But as with all skills, the most sophisticated techniques tend to have their foundation in the simplest of principles. As" - Josh Waitzkin


"The learning principle is to plunge into the detailed mystery of the micro in order to understand what makes the macro tick. Our obstacle is that we live in an attention-deficit culture. We are bombarded with more and more information on television, radio, cell phones, video games, the Internet. The constant supply of stimulus has the potential to turn us into addicts, always hungering for something new and prefabricated to keep us entertained. When nothing exciting is going on, we might get bored, distracted, separated from the moment. So we look for new entertainment, surf channels, flip through magazines. If caught in these rhythms, we are like tiny current-bound surface fish, floating along a two-dimensional world without any sense for the gorgeous abyss below. When these societally induced tendencies translate into the learning process, they have devastating effect." - Josh Waitzkin


"It is rarely a mysterious technique that drives us to the top, but rather a profound mastery of what may well be a basic skill set. Depth beats breadth any day of the week, because it opens a channel for the intangible, unconscious, creative components of our hidden potential." - Josh Waitzkin


"We must take responsibility for ourselves, and not expect the rest of the world to understand what it takes to become the best that we can become. Great ones are willing to get burned time and again as they sharpen their swords in the fire." - Josh Waitzkin


"In every discipline, the ability to be clearheaded, present, cool under fire is much of what separates the best from the mediocre." - Josh Waitzkin


"If I want to be the best, I have to take risks others would avoid, always optimizing the learning potential of the moment and turning adversity to my advantage." - Josh Waitzkin


"Once we learn how to use adversity to our advantage, we can manufacture the helpful growth opportunity without actual danger or injury. I call this tool the internal solution—we can notice external events that trigger helpful growth or performance opportunities, and then internalize the effects of those events without their actually happening. In this way, adversity becomes a tremendous source of creative inspiration." - Josh Waitzkin


"Finally, we learn to be completely self-sufficient and create our own earthquakes, so our mental process feeds itself explosive inspirations without the need for outside stimulus." - Josh Waitzkin


"Just as the yin-yang symbol possesses a kernel of light in the dark, and of dark in the light, creative leaps are grounded in a technical foundation." - Josh Waitzkin


"The real art in learning takes place as we move beyond proficiency, when our work becomes an expression of our essence." - Josh Waitzkin


"The technical afterthoughts of a truly great one can appear to be divine inspiration to the lesser artist. When" - Josh Waitzkin


"A heartfelt, empathetically present, incrementally inspiring mom or dad or coach can liberate an ambitious child to take the world by the horns. As" - Josh Waitzkin


"Of course there were plateaus, periods when my results leveled off while I internalized the information necessary for my next growth spurt," - Josh Waitzkin


"It is a little like developing the habit of stealing the test from your teacher’s desk instead of learning how to do the math." - Josh Waitzkin


"the study of numbers to leave numbers, or form to leave form." - Josh Waitzkin


"Not only do we have to be good at waiting, we have to love it. Because waiting is not waiting, it is life. Too many of us live without fully engaging our minds, waiting for that moment when our real lives begin." - Josh Waitzkin


"It is critical to realize that we can always evolve in our approaches to learning. Studies have shown that in just minutes, kids can be conditioned into having a healthy learning theory for a given situation." - Josh Waitzkin


"This journey, from child back to child again, is at the very core of my understanding of success. I believe that one of the most critical factors in the transition to becoming a conscious high performer is the degree to which your relationship to your pursuit stays in harmony with your unique disposition." - Josh Waitzkin


"Each loss was a lesson, each win a thrill. Every day pieces of the puzzle fell together. Whenever" - Josh Waitzkin


"He had to teach me to be more disciplined without dampening my love for chess or suppressing my natural voice. Many teachers have no feel for this balance and try to force their students into cookie-cutter molds. I have run into quite a few egomaniacal instructors like this over the years and have come to believe that their method is profoundly destructive for students in the long run—in any case, it certainly would not have worked with me. I" - Josh Waitzkin


"growth comes at the expense of previous comfort or safety." - Josh Waitzkin


"In my experience, successful people shoot for the stars, put their hearts on the line in every battle, and ultimately discover that the lessons learned from the pursuit of excellence mean much more than the immediate trophies and glory. In the long run, painful losses may prove much more valuable than wins—those who are armed with a healthy attitude and are able to draw wisdom from every experience, good or bad, are the ones who make it down the road. They are also the ones who are happier along the way. Of course the real challenge is to stay in range of this long-term perspective when you are under fire and hurting in the middle of the war. This, maybe our biggest hurdle, is at the core of the art of learning." - Josh Waitzkin


"The learning principle is to plunge into the detailed mystery of the micro in order to understand what makes the macro tick. Our obstacle is that we live in an attention-deficit culture." - Josh Waitzkin


"When aiming for the top, your path requires an engaged, searching mind. You have to make obstacles spur you to creative new angles in the learning process. Let setbacks deepen your resolve. You should always come off an injury or a loss better than when you went down." - Josh Waitzkin


"While a fixation on results is certainly unhealthy, short-term goals can be useful developmental tools if they are balanced within a nurturing long-term philosophy." - Josh Waitzkin


"the next national or world championship. I had spent the years between ages fifteen and eighteen in the maelstrom of American media following the release of the film Searching for Bobby Fischer, which was based on" - Josh Waitzkin


"The clear thinker is suddenly at war with himself and flow is lost." - Josh Waitzkin


"Growth comes at the point of resistance." - Josh Waitzkin


"I believe that one of the most critical factors in the transition to becoming a conscious high performer is the degree to which your relationship to your pursuit stays in harmony with your unique disposition." - Josh Waitzkin


"For this reason, almost without exception, champions are specialists whose styles emerge from profound awareness of their unique strengths, and who are exceedingly skilled at guiding the battle in that direction. With" - Josh Waitzkin


"Conditions might not be calm or reasonable. It may feel as though the whole world is stacked against us. This is when we have to perform better than we ever conceived of performing. I believe the key is to have prepared in a manner that allows for inspiration, to have laid the foundation for us to create under the wildest pressures we ever imagined. It" - Josh Waitzkin


"Since childhood I had treasured the sublime study of chess, the swim through ever-deepening layers of complexity. I could spend hours at a chessboard and stand up from the experience on fire with insight about chess, basketball, the ocean, psychology, love, art. The game was exhilarating and also spiritually calming. It centered me. Chess was my friend." - Josh Waitzkin


"Danny’s mom can help him internalize a process-first approach by making her everyday feedback respond to effort over results. She should praise good concentration, a good day’s work, a lesson learned." - Josh Waitzkin


"I had been to this tournament twice before and both times was shocked by the mendacity of the judges. This time the pattern was familiar to me. Basically, this is how it works: There is grand ceremony welcoming the foreigners, but they don’t want us to win. - Josh Waitzkin

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