Mark was a good player. He was on our middle school Chess team and in a tournament, we could count on him to win a game or two. His strength was on setting traps. Traps in Chess are designed to lure inexperienced players into unfamiliar situations and surprise them with a devastating move. Not long after the first move was made, Mark would stand up from the table, slam down his opponents King and declare, “MATE in Seven moves.” This would crush his opponents’ spirit. Usually, a player only falls into a trap once or twice before finding a way to avoid it. More experienced players can see it coming and counter a trap with a more solid defense. For this reason, Mark focused his efforts on playing new players. He could easily get a win out of them.
Unfortunately, because he only played beginners, Mark’s game never really improved. His love for winning was greater than his disdain for losing. As a result he never grew beyond being a mediocre chess player.
Here’s our Character Lesson: “To get better, you must surround yourself with people who are better than you.” Success is often preceded by a series of failures. Success is different from winning. Winning generally happens in a moment. Success happens over time with continued effort. A successful effort is greater than a single win.
I want you to be successful in your life. That means that you must challenge yourself to do those things that are most challenging to you. Struggle through your losses and rise to the top of your class. This effort will build mental muscle and strength of character. And when you find that you are at the top and things are easy, let this be a sign for you to move to the next level. Surround yourself with a more competitive bunch. Make friends with people who are smarter, stronger, and more experienced than you. Challenge yourself to a higher level of achievement.
“Always be found losing. It is a sign that you are still growing.”