I am not at the level of Satoshi Nakamoto or Mark Zuckerberg, at least not yet. But over the years, my all-of-a-sudden avidity and crave for a successful life has ignited a proclivity to engage in an activity that will always trigger the thought of reaching out for greatness.
This is my entry for the weekly Freaky Friday contest organized by Pete. For those reading my entry for the first time, this contest is one of the two contests organized weekly by Pete. Its essence is beyond necessity. It helps you think deep, put your thoughts in words, gain recognition for them and above all get rewards. Check the link below for more information
THE OLD ME
I returned home with a depressing look, same old Austin my sister would say as she watched me ignore her, climbed the stairs and straight into my room and landed heavily on the bed.
Another end of term, another bad result. I just couldn't figure out why exactly I was this terrible in life. Amongst my peers, I was the only person not good or at least average in one thing. The only thing I knew to do best was play video games and that was no longer an option deserving of bragging rights as my Dad confisticated every video game or anything related to gaming in my possession until I have a focus in life.
Insults were hurled at me at home, school and everywhere I apply my daily actions. I just wasn't seen as someone that was worth living and do you blame those involved in this despicable but rather indirectly spurring thought or deed?
On a very sunny but breezy Tuesday, I arrived school. I was walking sluggishly alone as always, I entered the student's locker room and every person I walked past was looking at me. I wondered why the uncommon looks of attention? I thought deeply of what I might have done badly at school to warrant another humiliation from the students. I couldn't think of one, I began to wonder if I was actually getting so dumb and dull that I can no longer remember when I faltered.
I finally took a deep breath and walked on. Besides, what would they do to me or what kind of embarrassment will they bring on me that I haven't experienced before?
I continued walking and gradually, I kept hearing footsteps behind me, it kept increasing that I had to turn around, only to discover every student I walked past followed me. When I stopped to turn, they all stopped as well and were all looking at me. I surprisingly decided to try walking and stopping again and the same thing happened. I became confused and hurriedly walked to my locker to see what will happen after I got there, only to see Stanley leaning on it with arms folded and legs crossed. I was shocked beyond comprehension. What could the most brilliant, brightest, neatest and cutest student that just enrolled in our school two weeks ago be doing in my locker? Could he have lost his way or something? I looked at him speechless for some seconds before he broke the silence, "Austin right? Please, let's have lunch together", he said and left. I stood like an abandoned "I" in an uncompleted statement. I couldn't move, everything gradually started making sense. The embarrassing looks from fellow students and the following. They were also wondering what Stanley was doing at my locker and anticipating the HAPPENING. What baffled everybody was, out of every other student, Stanley decided to pick me, the most dull student for lunch, the first time everyone has seen him interact with a student in a very friendly way.
I sighed, opened my locker, dropped my bag, picked my books and went off to lecture.
It was break and time for lunch. Stanley came over to me immediately the teacher left and requested we eat at the restaurant close to "The German's Park", if that would be okay by me. I looked at him sheepishly and nodded like an agama lizard that fell from hundred storeys.
I picked my things and went to drop them at the locker before going for lunch. Getting to Mickey restaurant, from the glass outside, I could see Stanley seated already looking and operating his mobile phone.
I opened the door of the restaurant, he raised his head, saw it was me and waved for me to come over. I went and sat with him.
We ordered our choices of meal and began discussing. We talked about family, hobbies and when I mentioned gaming as my only hobby, Stanley requested to know what kinda game I love to play most. I mentioned Mortal Kombat, we laughed at the funny moments of the game. The brutality and fatality the programmed computer dishes out to its victims. Stanley was not just brilliant, cute and bright, he was fun to be with, like a complete opposite of me.
Finally our discussion landed on a question from Stanley.
Stanley: Austin, do you know why I approached you today?
Me: No, I don't. Truthfully, I was even surprised.
Stanley: I picked you because I am trying to play Stanley. I know the students will always want my attention because I am a bright person, and with all the "all over me" and ballyhoos from fellow students, it is very likely I would lose my shine in no time, for I might lose concentration and be led astray. Whenever I arrive at a new environment, I take my time to pick the kinda friends I hang around with and I chose you because I would rather influence you than vice versa.
Now, he continued. Why are you not liked by most people if not all at school?" I looked up but not at him, deep in thought. The question sent shivers down my spine as I was already lost in the world of "This is how my life should be" ,,with Stanley I was totally happy, forgetting people outside still know me for what I was, a dullard.. For a moment, while we were having fun, I forgot I was considered and referred by virtually everyone I come in contact with as a dull and uninteresting somebody. I felt what it was to confide in someone about what you know to do best and be praised for it.
I took a deep breath and replied,
Me: "Well, I don't really know, but I am certain it is because I am not good at anytiii" (He cut me off before I could complete the word).
Stanley: Don't ever say that again. Let me ask you a question, have you ever completed the Mortal Kombat game?
Me: Yes, I have.
Stanley: Good. How did you complete it?
Me: When I started it newly, I failed each level and learnt what made me fail and tried again. Also, I got knowledge of skills needed to beat each opponent after several trials. Gradually I progressed level by level until I won the last and toughest opponent.
Stanley: Brilliant! Now Austin, have you thought of applying same occurrence in your life?
I couldn't reply him, I was in the middle of so many thoughts centered on "HE IS RIGHT". Stanley continued, I will be introducing you to a game this weekend, can you come over to my place? I promised to be there without hesitation.
We both stood up after eating and walked back to the class talking about the forthcoming soccer competition.
It was on Friday, the day my bad life story was destined to change for good. I went home after school and didn't hesitate to get prepared for Stanley's place. On getting there, I met the mother and I was introduced by Stanley as his competitor in class. The praise was so huge that l almost rebuffed him in her presence. I managed to smile while the mother kept advising me to continue the amazing trend.
Led by Stanley into his room, I dragged his hand, made him stop and asked. What was that with your Mom? Stanley laughed and said, do not worry Austin, when we are done with the reason we are here today, you would see that I am damn right.
He asked me to sit while he promised to be back. I sat and looked around, the picture above was seen on the wall in Stanley's room. While looking at the amazing drawing Stanley returned with a box, dropped it on the floor and opened it, behold it was chess.
Stanley asked, have you played this game before? I replied No, but I have heard and watched stories about it.
Stanley continued.. Now, this game has a link to so many things in life, its advantages are numerous. It helps you focus, it helps you learn how to be calm amidst difficulties and design a strategy for another battle. It enhances your thinking ability and makes you creative. It teaches you of the necessity of failure in life and how you should stand up and try again after falling, learning from your mistakes and perfecting your work. With this game Austin, I am betting your story will change for the better. You will make people eat their vomit, their previous negative perception of you will turn positive.
He further went on to show me how the game is being played, he arranged the 16 pieces of equipment needed for the game. Showed me the king and its duties and when it is expected to be moved. Showed me the Queen, and told me it is the most powerful. He also showed me the two rooks, two knights, two bishops and eight pawns and told me of their duties.
We began playing, we played for hours, Stanley kept directing me and correcting my flaws. I have never been so focused in my life. We also found out I was a fast learner, Stanley kept encouraging me to think harder and beat him in a round. I tried and tried but couldn't.
It was getting late and I needed to leave for home. We bid each other goodbye and decided to continue next weekend.
I went home thinking of how to beat Stanley next week, I had a picture of the chess board and pieces in my head, predicting Stanley's moves and how to beat him with mine. This went on inside my head up until the next Friday came
THE NEW ME
I couldn't wait to get to Stanley's house after school. I freshened up, rushed my meal at home and out to Stanley's home. We started the game of chess again. Stanley was very much impressed that my ability to read the game has improved. After a deep thought, I pushed a pawn of mine forward and captured three of his pawns. Expecting another easy move from Stanley again, it was to my surprise that after 2 minutes, Stanley was yet to make a move. I was forced to look up and surprisingly saw him smiling at me. Next he said, "YOU ARE READY", I replied "ready for what exactly?", "ready to improve your life in all ramifications", he said.
I felt a bit embarrassed but saw it as more of a compliment. He continued, "sometimes in life, you need to sit down and analyse the happenings in your life. What you should do, when you should do them and why. You are destined to be a winner Austin and not a loser as people protray you as. Decide today to work on your flaws, stand up to criticism and see them as stepping stones to success and nothing within the realm of the possible can prevent you from attaining greatness.
Fast forward today, with chess as my best game, and Stanley as my best friend, I became great. Rivalled Stanley through school before graduation and became a versatile being. Improved in every areas of life and was successful until becoming the CEO of a great firm.
THE POWER OF CHESS SHOULD NEVER BE UNDERRATED