To me it is the strength to look at reality without flinching.
The strength to make judgements and evaluations; to prioritise and have the ability to hold on to your plan in the absence of contrary evidence and the strength to change direction when the evidence dictates.
I was watching American Idol the other day and saw Simon Cowell critique the singers. I was amazed at how some of them took it. Accepting both the good parts as well as the bad. And in the correct proportion. And we see those singers improve so much just within that one season. They took the lessons and they shone. They were able to learn and learn fast because they had less mental resistance. See here.
Many people will just latch to a negative point and shut down their mind. They will see the black dot in that white space and so miss all the learning.
When I look at Li Tian, this is what I see. See here. I believe he saw and evaluated accurately that his percentage chance of winning was very very slim. Lets give it a number. Say 5%. That means he will win 5 games in 100. And that was enough for him to keep fighting. And so his mind conitnued to look for that win when there was destruction and pandemonium all around him. That is very impressive.
To me chess can be an amazing training tool, if we teach our young ones how to look and evaluate evidence, how to see into their own minds and stop the self sabotage. How to slow down their thinking and see the flaws in their reasoning.
I was once told by my former boss in Syuen that he liked bankrupts. I asked him why? He said it was because their minds are very clear.
I think we can help our kids have clear minds and without having to become bankrupts first. :)
Because you see, in chess we have the chance to correct our thinking move by move, game by game and tournament by tournament. So many many many chances to correct our thinking before going out into the big world. And if it is done right, they will make less mistakes out there and hopefully contribute to a better world. Can you see that?