By Megan Filipi
Chess is all the rage these days. Since we’ve been home during the Pandemic and binge watching “The Queen’s Gambit”, chess is the latest oldest trend. However, chess was played in our home long before this pandemic. Chess can help you in life in many ways. For example, it can help you make mindful, unrushed decisions, look at the bigger picture, and weigh the pros and cons of your choices.
Many years ago, I distinctly remember my 3-year-old son on his tippy toes, arms folded on the edge of the dining room table, chin resting on the tops of his hands, fully engaged and following the chess game being played by his Papa and Uncle Joe. Ever since, he’s been a chess player.
I’ve always wanted to learn this game my kids play regularly. I decided it was time for my son, who is now 21, to teach me. He started off small and slow, just what I needed! With pieces in place, he then described the role of each. Pawn “least powerful”, Rook “protector”, Knight “minor piece”, Bishop “minor piece”, King “most important”, Queen “most powerful”.
“Wait! Wait a second” I said. “What did you just say?” He then repeated it. “The King is the most important, but the Queen is the most powerful.”
I had to stop and take that in. What does that mean? Are they not synonymous? What does that even look like? Let’s apply that to us. What does it look like in everyday life? Important versus powerful. Don’t they have the same qualities?
I decided to investigate. Tony Robbins writes…”Let’s talk about one of the most sought after human needs: the need for significance. There’s not a person alive on the planet who doesn’t want to feel important or needed. Why is feeling special such a compelling force? Why does feeling insignificant make us feel so devastated? Once you understand why you’re driven to feel significant to those around you, you can better interpret your own actions and use this desire to help you work toward your goals.”
Why do we have a need to feel important? How do we do that? What are the characteristics of feeling ‘most important’? Let’s look at this more closely.
Some characteristics of feeling most important can be: haughtiness, overly self-confident, proud, productive, a go-getter, self-focused, boosts of self-esteem, being recognized, being acknowledged.
As I think more about this I wonder if one only feels important when being compared to others? Do these two terms ‘feeling more important than’ and ‘feeling important’ mean the same thing? Do you feel important because there is comparison to another? When you feel important you are gaining and getting all this attention. Attention can be paid to you but is it genuine interest? If the gained attention is only that then the ‘feeling important’ can be fleeting. Once that feeling is gone you want it back again.
Let’s look at what the characteristics are of feeling ‘most powerful’: quiet confidence, silent strength, self-assured, courageous, humble, vulnerable, intuitive, grateful, solid, calm, others focused, quick emotional recovery, self-disciplined, the ability to see with a wide-angle lens.
There doesn’t seem to be a comparison to another when feeling ‘most powerful’. It comes from within. It’s on the inside, not out. Take care of the power.
To me, feeling powerful is the most important. Be like the Queen. Move in any direction that’s best. Be surrounded by love and support. Know who you are and with conviction have the quiet confidence to live the life you were born to live.
So I ask you…which is better? To feel ‘most powerful’ or ‘most important’? Are there negative connotations for each? Does one have to be better than the other? Which one do you want to be? Can you be both?
Skills acquired while playing chess are nothing short of problem solving, patience, strategic thinking, creative thinking, or calm under pressure. These qualities can be used to live a fulfilling, daily life. Whether you want to feel ‘most important’ or ‘most powerful’, chess can show you the way.