Thoughts on chess as a game of kings
1. Chess can be a valuable corrective to character because it teaches us humility
Virtually everyone (including myself) is stupid and narrow-minded. If a man never experiences contradiction, he does not recognize his limitations. Overconfidence is dangerous, especially when you're running an entire country.
2. You can do something for a long time without getting better at it
I played for over thirty years and kept making the same mistakes. I played to relax and did not want to pay the price of getting better. Playing alone does not lead to a better understanding of the game.
3. You can benefit a lot from playing chess even if you don't have a talent for it
The game teaches you how to deal with stress. You can handle a difficult situation in a game. It can be a gauge of one's ability to focus and plan. Master games have a high aesthetic value. It's also a nice feeling to make mistakes and get away with them.
4. Progress requires targeted learning
After just watching ChessNetwork's videos, my rating on Lichess went up about a hundred points.
Really getting better would take serious training. Learning the short notation, knowing the standard variations of the most important openings, training the visual imagination, training the ability to concentrate.
5. Chess teaches us to make decisions quickly
...and live with the consequences