I knew I was going to get thrown out of school. I had already failed three out of the four classes (we took one class a semester).
We would get these tests on a Monday morning and have to turn them in by Tuesday at 5PM. Everyone worked all night, for 30 straight hours.
I’m not ashamed to say I cheated on all of them. But still, I failed them.
Everyone was so smart in the program, I knew I had no way to compete.
My officemate – his name was CB – was the inventor of the best chess computer in the world at the time.
Several years later, after IBM swooped CB and the computer up, the computer (called “Deep Blue” then) became the first computer to beat the world champion at chess when it beat Garry Kasparov.
I worked on it a little. And IBM even offered me a job to work on it more. But I didn’t take the job.
I was afraid to break out of my routine. I liked a girl who didn’t like me. I liked my friends. I liked my easy life. IBM seemed too “real world” to me at the time.
BUT! Here is the secret to how a computer beat the world chess champion for the first time in history: They made the computer as stupid as possible.
Other chess computers were “smart.” They knew how to analyze chess positions very well.
Deep Blue didn’t do that. Deep Blue did the minimum needed to figure out if a position was good or bad. They stripped almost all of the intelligence out of it.
Then it had time to move onto the next position and the next position. Hundreds of millions of positions a second while other computers were wasting time with complicated formulas on each position.
Deep Blue did “Ready. Fire. Aim.” Entrepreneurs should do that also. And writers. And anyone.
By reducing the amount of software and intelligence, the computer became the best in the world.
Most intelligence should be subtracted. Most experiences should be said “no” to. The times when I thought I was smart are probably the times I was most stupid.
That’s why when they stripped all of the intelligence out of a chess computer, it suddenly became the best chess computer in the world. It beat the world chess champion.
And then, before IBM could take any chances, they unplugged the computer. It went dark.
They put it in the same warehouse as the Lost Ark, and Deep Blue never played another game of chess again.
When Gandhi died, he owned less than ten items.
Even though he came from a rich family. Even though he freed a nation of 300 million people.
He owned a pair of glasses, a bowl to eat with, a watch (but not an Apple watch), and sandals. Taking my advice, he didn’t even own a home.
Every day I get emails from younger and younger people all saying the same thing:
“I’m 28 and I’m miserable because I don’t know what I want my career to be.”
“I’m 25 and…”
And yesterday, “I’m 17…”
I’ve had very bad luck with careers. Every career was like sand being held in my hand. Every home I owned, I lost.
Most relationships I had, I clung, begged, demanded, pleaded until they left.
I’m sorry I clung to you as tight as possible. I’m sorry I demanded and yelled and pressured. But ok, it happened.
Sometimes I want to know in advance what to dream about. What to dream for. I NEED to know!
But before you can dream, you have to relax. You have to clear your head of everything that went wrong yesterday and could get even worse tomorrow.
Turn off the intelligence for awhile.
Go to sleep.
Then, I’m told, you can free 300 million people and be the champion of the world.