I came across an interesting article entitled “Are you significant” recently. It compares chess pieces and how they compare to people and their attitudes.
Specifically it refers to how there are a large number of “pawns”. The pawns “go first”, move forward and eventually can be promoted to a queen, although this is rare. The article states that most people are “pawns”.
It categorises a “pawn” like person like this:
- You live life day to day, but don’t have a real plan for your entire life.
- You see the bad before you see the good.
- You usually have trouble getting motivated to do much of anything.
- You are content as long as you have a place to sleep and food to eat.
- You are quick to criticize and judge other people.
- You have trouble focusing for more than a short period of time.
- You don’t like trying anything new.
- You are generally a selfish person.
- When things get difficult, or results are not seen, you stop trying.
- You don’t spend much time on your emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
It’s a confronting list, as some of these attitudes are obvious in many of the people around us and ourselves. It’s powerful to see it in print. Note that the language indicates apathy and unwillingness to exert effort.
By seeing these warning signs I think it can inspire you to be more and do more.
The “bigger” pieces have more flexibility and can do more. The qualities of kings, queens, bishops, rooks and knights are:
- You have a clear idea of where your life is going and what your future holds.
- Though you recognize the bad in the world, the good far outweighs it.
- You are motivated to accomplish many things.
- You are not content with just the basics of life. You want the most out of life that you can get.
- You seek first to understand others before making judgments.
- You prepare well beforehand and have a razor sharp focus.
- You love trying new things and new adventures, regardless if they succeed or not.
- You think of others constantly.
- When things get difficult, you rev up your engine and give even more effort.
- You constantly are refining your emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
This contrasting list uses very different wording. Every point indicates taking action and doing something. Note the use of words such as “constantly”, “motivated”, “seek” and “constantly”.
The article sums up this choice between being a “regular” person and someone who achieves great successes with:
Those who achieve success in life are motivated, driven, and passionate about what they do. They spend the necessary time trying, tweaking, and moving forward with what they are seeking to do. They do not give up, and while the average person is watching TV or bored, the successful person is busy creating their legacy in the world.
This article, and other like it are certainly influenced by western protestant work ethic and belief. Originally pioneered by Napoleon Hill (“Think and grow rich”), these ideas of success as well as the “prosperity gospel” certainly may lead to a fuller life.
Is this the only way to “success?
Taking the chess analogy further, the “bigger” pieces do move differently. The knight for example hops over obstacles rather than directness of the others, yet it is valued equally with the bishop.
Perhaps there are many paths to “success”. It could be that they don’t all involve “preparing well beforehand” and having a “razor sharp focus”.
One thing is certain however, whether you choose positivism or your own path, the attitude and habits of a pawn-like average person should have no place in a significant and successful life.