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Invest in Yourself

I started playing chess at age 10. My father bought me one of those chess/checker combination game boards. I taught myself how to play but did not learn the game until Junior High school. My art teachers started a chess club which met during lunch. I wasn't good initially and beat often by other students, especially the top player in the school. He would love to play against me so he could collect easy wins. The losing made me a student of the game. My mother got so mad at me because I would leave my homework in my locker but brought my chess board home every night. My instructors would give me chess problems to solve to help me think through each move.

My instructors announced a city-wide chess tournament for Junior High students. The school champion would represent the school in the district. I started the tournament as the lowest ranked player but beat every student I faced. I reached the school championship against the number one student in the school. He bragged about how he would beat me, that I did not have a chance against him. Our instructors and other students watched us play a game that lasted two weeks. I beat him and represented the school at the district tournament. Although I did not advance very far, I was proud to represent Whitney Young Middle School. I continued to play chess in high school and joined the chess team in college. I have defeated some impressive players over the years including a Grand Master who resigned during our match. (Resign means to quit)

Chess taught me that no matter how talented you are, you must study to perfect your skills. Greatness does not come easy, and you will not fulfill your destiny unless you invest in yourself. Maturity is a life-long process that pushes you to learn new lessons daily. If you want to be the best do what the best requires in study and application. Employment analysts constantly speak of a talent shortage in the workplace. I do not believe there is a talent shortage. I believe there is undeveloped talent, people with greatness who have never had anyone invest in their potential. If these people had a mentor, or someone to pull on their ability, their talents would be highly visible. Their gifts would open doors for them and bring them before other great people. Some people need a push and a pull.

I am always thankful for the people who invested in my purpose. The list is too long to name, but at every junction of my journey, God sent people to push me along. They taught me valuable life lessons. They taught me to invest in myself. Most importantly they taught me the value of greatness and the cost I should be prepared to pay to achieve it. Greatness comes from within and the greatest investment you can make in your destiny begins with you. One more thing about chess. The game has three phases, the opening, the middle, and the end game. The opening is the most important because the game can be lost quickly if the first few pieces are not properly positioned on the board.

Always make sure you position yourself to win.

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