Yearly Focus

2023 Focus: Half Year Update

Better every year. That is my goal. I believe that through focused effort I can keep improving and ensure my best years are still in front of me.

With that in mind, at the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. By being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split my attention.

More details about the process are in this blog post and you can review the results from past years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022).

2023 Theme: Strategy

I’m continuing to enjoy this subject. Strategy is essentially identification of levers and applying focused pressure on them – its a bit puzzle, and I love puzzles.

In terms of reading, here is my progress

  1. Good Strategy Bad Strategy
  2. HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Strategy – IN PROGRESS
  3. Blue Ocean Strategy
  4. The Crux – IN PROGRESS
  5. Playing to Win
  6. Understanding Michael Porter
  7. The Art of Strategy
  8. Competitive Strategy
  9. Your Next Five Moves
  10. Measure What Matters
  11. Your Strategy Needs a Strategy
  12. The biggest bluff
  13. Carl Von Clausewitz – On War
  14. Art of War
  15. On grand strategy

2023 Challenge: Become a Chess Expert

My chess game has begun to catch up with my puzzle ability – which means I’ve internalized more of the heuristics and can use them in a 10 minute timed game. That has helped my get my ranking up into the 800s, which. puts me in the top 30% of players on Still a ways to go to the top 10%, and I suspect the path from here is harder, but I have hope I can continue to find ways to improve my ability.

I’ve noticed my progress comes in bits and spurts. After cracking a rating of 700 in April I hovered between 600 and 700 for a while before June came along and I made a few big jumps. I think this has to do with a few things. One is that sometimes I need to break down my game to get better. I decide a different path will offer me more options long term, but in the short term I’m not as good at that style of play and so my score goes down some. Another is just my general mental energy. I notice when I’m I don’t play as well – I miss easy things I should have caught.

One thing I’ve been having fun with is finding the right level of aggressiveness to play with. Sometimes I can attack very quickly and get the opponent to make mistakes. Other times I’ve found it more effective to just play very slowly and defensively and wait for them to make a mistake. I suppose as I get better, I’ll get a read for what opponents I should utilize each strategy with.

When I play white I’ve still mainly been playing the Italian Game, specifically the Giuoco Piano. I know most of the variations well and can easily capitalize on a mistake and if the opponent plays along, the game ends up complex enough that I usually do well in the midgame dealing with a complex puzzle. I suppose at some point I’ll need to put some more games in my repertoire, but for now this one is still serving me well.

2023 Habit: Weekly Strategic Analysis Reading

I’ve continued to struggle with this one – mainly because I haven’t been good specifically acknowledging this time a recording it. A lot of what I read, including a few newsletters I signed up for this year, should probably count as strategic analysis, but I might read a few things in 15 minute chunks and then don’t count it. I’ll try and put some more rigor into the tracking for the second half of the year.

2023 Exemplar: Genghis Khan

The only thing I’ve done in this category is continue to read ‘The Mongol Art of War’.

2023 Bucket List Item: SUP Adventure into Untouched Wilderness

The 70 mile SUP I signed up for ended up being a bit more of a challenge than I anticipated. Not the paddling part of it, that I was fine with, but dealing with the weather. You can read more about that here. After that adventure and being away from home for extra time, I’m not sure that I am going to be able to make another big trip happen this year. I might still find a way to get a bit remote without traveling quite as far.