5 Lessons 'The Queen's Gambit' Teaches Us About Achieving Greatness in Life - Cari Kenzie

5 Lessons ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Teaches Us About Achieving Greatness in Life

In 2020, like so many others, I found myself seeking new forms of entertainment during lockdowns to try and fill some of the monotonous time at home. It was during this time that I discovered the Queen’s Gambit, a Netflix limited series that has caught the world’s attention, and I became entranced.

For those unfamiliar with the program, the main character Beth Harmon, who is a young orphaned girl with a troubled past, picked up the game of chess with such ease and determination that every scene is mesmerizing. Will she win, how will she face her opponents, and where will this journey take her?

Watching Anya Taylor-Joy bring the character to life on screen with outstanding prowess allowed me to often catch a line in the show that directly related to the skills needed to accomplish anything in life and business while staying true to yourself.

I was often brought to the edge of my seat proclaiming aloud, “That is it!”, to anyone who would listen. The lessons taught by the challenges Beth faced were incredible.

As we look toward the promise of 2021 and all that the new year will bring including the much-awaited opening in the business climate, I urge you to marinate on a few of the brilliant lines and quotes that I find have the ability to make an impact on how you too can create success and achieve your goals.

1. Surround yourself with people who believe in you 
“We weren’t orphans, not as long as we had each other. I’m not your guardian angel. I’m not here to save you. Hell, I can barely save me. I am here because you need me to be here.” – Jolene

The journey through Beth’s life was one of tragedy, yet she continuously found herself surrounded by people who supported her, believed in her, and gave her the strength to face her opponents.

In life and business alike, this is a main key ingredient to success. We must strive to align ourselves with people who believe in us, support us, and stand by us even when things get tough. It is easy for someone to walk alongside you during the ‘good times’ but it is during the times of strife that your true supporters help you get back on the right track.

As human beings, we don’t always have the capacity to know what we can accomplish and at times fill ourselves with doubt. It’s natural for us to fall victim to the circumstances from our past or the struggles that currently surround us. Granting others the opportunity to walk alongside you and pick you up when you need it most…that is the stuff of champions.

2. Accept others’ help or guidance
“They play together as a team. They help each other out. As Americans we work alone because we are all such individualists, we don’t like anyone to help us.”  – Benny Watts 

Imagine, instead of embracing the need to prove our value, to go it alone out of fear of competition, we welcomed connection and collaboration. Imagine the possibilities. Yes, we are all individuals with personal needs and goals, and I applaud that as we all need to embrace who we are and know that we are worthy enough just the way we are.

However, there is no weakness in stepping forward and accepting or even asking for the help of others. Call it a mastermind if you must elevate the term, but if you truly wish to reach and go further than the goals you have set for yourself, enlist a team to help get you there.

3. Always have a plan for what you will do next 
“If you are world champion by the time you are 16, what will you do with the rest of your life?” – Beth Harmon

This quote comes during a conversation that Beth has with a young competitor with grand plans for his future. Can he achieve them? Yes, however, the question remains, what will he do then?

Your subconscious mind is always active and actively pursuing your dreams. When you put a vision board together or set goals for your future, there is a part of you that will go after it. How fervently you choose to chase your dreams, however, is what is held in the answer to this question. If you know you have all day to get a project completed, do you do it first thing in the morning or do you fill your day with other projects and only insure it gets done prior to the deadline?

Try this instead. Set a number of goals, not a singular one. Once you achieve the first, go after the next, and so on. Set your goals up like a to do list and watch how quickly your subconscious mind actively works to mark things as done.

4. Avoid settling for anything 
“You just let them blow-by and you go on ahead and do just what the hell you want you feel like. It takes a strong woman to stand by herself. In a world where people will settle for anything just to say they have something.” – Beth’s birth mother

Beth’s birth mother is a constant source of wisdom for her. Words so profoundly spoken, begin many of the episodes and could be seen as a filler and completely missed if not closely paid attention to.

How often do we do this in life and in business? The need for instant gratification winning out time and time again. We quickly hire to fill a position out of perceived desperation. We purchase the shoes that just aren’t quite right out of fear that we won’t find exactly what we want. Or we simply ‘give in’ as we don’t have the patience to continue the search.

Write it down. Get really specific about what it is that you want or desire, and I mean incredibly detailed with all the bells and whistles. When you take the time to do this, it puts a call out into the universe and, with a little patience, what it is you desire will either find you or you will find it. Avoid settling as it will only cost you more in the end.

5. Trust the truth within you
While there is no Queen’s Gambit quote to go along with this lesson, it is pervasive throughout the series and simply cannot go unmentioned. It, mind you, is the ultimate key to Beth’s success and possibly yours.

The only way to know which move to make next is to allow the truth to arise from within you, to trust it, and allow it to ultimately be the guide. This truth is accessible in any given moment and unlike your closest friend or business colleague, it has no personal interest in mind, other than your own. This, however, is the one thing that we tend to set aside, distract ourselves out of, or feel the need to have to validate. In doing so you dilute and prolong the journey limiting your success.

Instead, I invite you to take a breath the next time a decision needs to be made. Close your eyes for a moment and again, ask yourself what move to make. When that small voice arises, welcome it and take a step in the guided direction. Starting one small step at a time will lead you in a more direct fashion to your desired outcome.


“Darks nothing to be afraid of. In fact, I’d go as far as to say there is nothing to be afraid of.

The strongest person is the person who is not afraid to be alone. It’s other people you’ve got to worry about. Other people who will tell you what to do, how to feel. Before you know it you’re pouring your life out searching for in search of something other people told you to go look for.” – Alice Harmon