Imagine this :
You were the world champion in a particular sport for over 6 years, you lost that title to someone almost half of your age, your performance declines further and people have started writing you off. There are comments with a near cetainity that you were finished and your days were over. Next year you enter into the tournament, winner of the which would be challenging the world champion. Before the event you are not even amongst top 3 favourites. And you emerge as a winner with a thumping victory.
This is the real story of Vishwanathan Anand who just won the candidates tournament, undefeated, earning the right to challenge the current world champion – who defeated him in 2013, in November 2014.
On his return to Chennai on April 2, in an interview on NDTV among other thing, Vishwanathan Anand talked about “what it felt like playing with his young son, Akhil” The response to that question had a great insight and a message. I have enclosed the audio clip of that response here. For me it had three insights :
1. Change of context : When you can not control what has happened or what is happening, you need to find a way out by changing the context or getting into another situation – mentally or physically. This is what he said he did when it was a tough time to accept that he was no longer a world champion. He spent time playing with his son. Which basically relaxed him, helped him forget what had happened and most importantly helped him prepare for the next phase.
2. Playing with your son (or kids) : This is another important aspect. Spending time with your son is so much relaxing, it is such a stress buster. It gives so much happiness that it makes us mentally strong to face the world.
3. When I was listening to the interview, I thought his son might be 8 or 9 years old, old enough to play chess with world champion dad. But when I googled, I found that he is just 3 years old. And if a world champion dad feels good about playing a 3 years old boy, he must be really really good, another world champion in the making? Lets wait and watch.