Garry Kasparov is the greatest chess player the world’s ever known. While few of us can replicate his impressive mental powers, we can leverage the methods he used to achieve the chess world’s highest ever rating.


His secret?

He played the game backwards.

A Strategy For Success

Most chess players view a game’s current position as a starting point, and simply search for ways to improve their position.

Kasparov’s method turned that thinking upside down. According to chess writer Jacob Aagaard, Kasparov envisioned what he wanted to see on the chessboard – creating a “fantasy” position in his head – and then calculated a way to make that fantasy chess position a reality.

The result was the highest rating ever achieved by a chess player, and an unparalleled run as world champion.

Chess teacher Jeremy Silman outlined a similar method in his hugely successful chess training book, so clearly, it’s an idea with legs.

The parallel for marketers and copywriters is plain.

You can invest your energy incrementally improving your current situation (your life, your business, your latest campaign).

Or you can decide where you want to be, then find a way to make it happen.

The difference is subtle. But significant.

One method moves you forward, but slowly.

The other finds you working towards your dream situation.

The Application of Fantasy

What do you really want to write? Who do you want to work for? What kind of work situation would you like?

Construct that situation in your head. And then figure out what it takes to make it happen.

To help, I’m offering you the design for a simple worksheet – something I adapted from a leadership workshop I attended years ago.


It’s simple and effective. You simply outline the current situation in the lowest box (Now). Then create your fantasy scenario in the top box (the Wow).

What then becomes apparent are the steps in the middle – the things you need to do to make your situation come true (the How).

Write down the steps, editing out those that aren’t truly necessary or don’t move you towards your goal.

What’s left is a simple set of steps that lead you to your fantasy situation.

Best part? You can use this simple worksheet to complete short-term goals, or even while taking individual steps towards your larger goal.

It’s a simple idea, but one that turns most people’s thinking upside down.

Figure out where you really want to be, and only then figure out how to get there.

Keep writing, Tom Chandler.