Ben was feeling frustrated when he caught up with his mentor Hemingway for their regular chat.
“I just feel as though I have no control over my life at the moment. My parents are telling me one thing, my friends are telling me another. Everything keeps changing and I’m not sure what I should be doing next.”
Hemingway nodded his head and left the room for a moment, returning with a chess board.
He set it down on the table between them and motioned for Ben to start.
They casually exchanged a few turns without any real intent, before Hemingway spoke for the first time.
“In the game of chess, who are you?”
“At the moment, I feel like a pawn. I’m limited in my movement and don’t have much ability,” responded Ben.
“Who would you rather be?” Hemingway asked.
“I would rather be the Queen, of course. She can move in any direction and is the most feared piece on the board.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Of course! Isn’t it obvious.”
Hemingway sat back from the table for a moment and said in a quiet, yet firm voice,“You don’t want to be the pawn, or the Queen. To be the person you were meant to be, you need to be the player moving the pieces around. Stop being pushed around by others and take charge. There are too many people in this world whose lives are dominated by the decisions of others. Their boss, their parents, their peers, the media, government decisions. You’re better than that, step up and take charge! We weren’t born to be pieces shuffled around on a board, we were born to positively influence and impact the world around us.”
Ben nodded his head and smiled, “Check-mate.”
With that, he rose from his chair and walked out of Hemingway’s cabin 6 inches taller, determined to change the world