Last Friday, The Daily Post at WordPress.com issued their weekly photo challenge theme – Focus. While the intent of the challenge may have been to play with depth of field in photography to place the focus of a photo on a given subject, I decided to take a slightly different route and focused on capturing a photo that I hope will inspire people to take the focus off of the things in their life that are not important, and see the potential that each person has to be magnificent.
Looking at the photo, you see a small chess pawn looking in the mirror and seeing the queen looking back. But the more I think about the game of chess, the limitations of the pawn, and the role it can play in winning the game, this simple photo has a lot of symbolism in it.
At the start of a chess game, the pawns are all lined up – a first row of defense for the king and queen. As the game progresses, the pawn moves forward, closer to enemy territory. It can’t move backwards, only forward. The only time it can deviate from its course is to eliminate an opponent in a front-diagonal position. Slowly, but surely, it makes its way across the board with the goal of reaching the other side. Once reached, the pawn can be traded out for another piece, and for me, that piece would always be a queen. The queen can move in a straight line, in any direction. There are very few limitations on the queen’s movements. The pawn has therefore reached its potential of becoming limitless.
In life, we grow up looking across the chessboard of life, seeing numerous opponents or obstacles. While we have our family behind us, much like the king, queen, bishops, knights and rooks stand ready in the game, the board can look intimidating. But as the game progresses, we make one move at a time – forward toward the goals of life we seek. We may be blocked by the opponents pawns and wait patiently for a diagonal move to present itself, or one of our team members to remove the obstacle. But in the end, if we can stick with it, we can reach the other side of the board and reach the potential that we have only dreamed about.
I know from my own personal life experiences that chess is hard (life is too, for that matter). You win some, you lose some. But knowing that there is the potential of reaching the other side of the board and becoming more than you are now can inspire you to keep going when the game gets rough. When other pieces are falling all around you, focusing on the potential you have can be empowering.
So much like the photo portrays, when you look in the mirror, don’t get hung up by what you see now – strive to see the potential that lies in you, and let that help you make it across the chessboard of life so you can one day achieve your full potential.
Young Women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are taught certain values, one of which is Individual Worth. I’ve applied that value to the photo in a slightly different configuration and again hope it will inspire others to see their potential.