After coming back to Vietnam from the internship in Wazuka, the first thing I did was to buy an abacus, the second thing was to register for a Go class. Nothing particular drove me to such decision, it was just an act out of boredom when I was in the middle of a job search.

In 6 months playing Go, I truly realise that this 19×19 board game somehow reflects the world I’m living in and the way I play it reveals so much about myself as a person. That’s why Yumi Hotta (author of Hikaru no Go) once said, “All you are is the Go you play”.

Of course, I do share the wish to become stronger with all lovers of Go. However the desire to understand myself and the quest for self-improvement are of greater importance. Just like how other friends of mine practice meditation to achieve a higher level of awareness and inner calm, I play Go to induce a state of self-consciousness, calmness, politeness and build up such positive attitudes and behaviors.

This note, therefore, is a record of the mental path I walk through when playing this game.

#1 “On Losing”

As a beginner in Go, I act upon an ancient proverb “lose your first 100 games as quickly as possible”. There has been more or less 50 losses (out of 72 games) in the past 6 months and still counting.

There are various lessons that I seize from every loss, but the most significant one is always about how to embrace the bitterness and disappointment after the game. Simply because losing is never a good feeling, and losing continuously is the worst feeling.

I would never forget my 5th loss, when I somehow reached the lowest point of confidence and burst into tears in front of a 6th grade school girl. My teacher got so frustrated with my beginner weird moves and I aggressively argued him back. Well, that day ended in such a low note. However, the emotional outburst made me feel cleansed afterwards, like my heart and mind just rubbed each other’s backs in a warm bath.

At this moment I am still very upset after very loss, but the feeling has become a kind of motivation rather than demotivation. My mentality manages to get into the mode of a roly-poly doll where it rolls back to balance much faster.

So what a Go beginner can gain after losing his 100 first games is less about great moves, tactics or strategy, but more about his never give-up-attitude and the courage to face his weakness and conquer it.

(to be continued)