©Arlene R. Taylor PhD


ArleneIn his book, Maybe (Maybe not), author Robert Fulghum relates a tale from the world of chess. During an international competition years ago, so the story goes, Frank Marshall was evenly matched with a Russian master player. In a crucial game, Marshall’s queen came under serious attack. His opponent, as well as the spectators, assumed that Marshall would follow conventional rules of chess and move the queen—the most important offensive chess piece—to safety.

He didn’t.

At the end of the time allotted for deliberation, Marshall picked up his queen and intentionally placed it on the most illogical square of all, a position vulnerable to capture by at least three other pieces. Marshall had done the unthinkable. He had sacrificed the queen!

There was a collective gasp from the dismayed spectators. Calmly, Marshall surveyed the board, seemingly immune to the murmurs of the usually silent crowd. Murmurs such as: Bizarre! Can’t believe he did that! He’s got to be nuts. No one in his right mind would do such a thing!

His opponent was initially puzzled. And then it began to dawn on the Russian, as well as on the spectators, that Marshall had made what has often been referred to since as the most beautiful chess move of all time. Regardless of how the queen was captured, Marshall’s opponent would eventually lose. Seeing that eventuality, the opposing player conceded the game.

By suspending conventional thinking, by being willing to consider an option outside of traditional expectations, Marshall had become the ultimate winner.

We all grow up learning certain societal expectations. Some of them are helpful. Many are not, especially when they run counter to the way in which our own brains work most efficiently.

In life, we sometimes glimpse a personal vision that requires us to think outside the confines of conventionality; a vision that requires us to take an imaginative risk. Actually necessitates this, if we are to honor our own innate giftedness and live the personhood we were intended to embrace.

Some find it too frightening to go against convention. The murmurs of society crush them into confusion, discouragement, depression, and even immobility. Thus, they lose the opportunity to serve from the basis of their own innate giftedness.

A few study the board of life, consider the options and choose (often to the consternation of those around them), to cross the line of societal convention. They elect to metaphorically sacrifice the queen for their own long-term good and, interestingly enough, often for the long-term benefit of society, as well.

How is it in your life? Evaluate who you are, your options, and the consequences of each. Select a course of action that matches your innate giftedness. Be willing to sacrifice the queen, if necessary, to follow your vision.

It’s your move!


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