Make your move…

Everyday we make hundreds of choices, both on a small and large scale, from what to eat, to where to work and whom to befriend. We are decision making beings using logic and rationale to come to the best possible choices for ourselves. We sensibly weigh up the pros and cons of situations arising in our lives and act in good faith, hoping for the best. Yet why do we find it so hard to trust our own instincts and the decisions we make?

Often the answers we seek cannot be found in the mind, where all our thinking and rationalising constantly takes place. In trying times, the mind can even be a hindrance to progress. Over thinking can often lead to complete exhaustion and unnecessary worry. Under pressure, you become stressed out and rather than taking positive action to address issues, your energy is thoroughly depleted. Thinking too much can sometimes be more harmful than helpful.

If we look at our lives like a game of chess played out on a mammoth stage, each piece representing a circumstance, a person or thing, a goal or dream, an intention or desire, then maybe we can see that success is not only based on skilful moves but also on instinct. Thinking about how to manoeuvre around the board does not guarantee a win, as you do not know what your opponent may do. Your opponent may be viewed as life itself, forever testing and challenging you to take risks and make a move.

As you sit and ponder your next move, life surprises you by taking an unexpected turn, altering the entire nature of the game, leaving you to rethink about your strategy. At this point, we usually look to our friends, families and colleagues for advice, however helpful their advice is we forget that advice is based on personal experience and everyone’s experience is different.  Our minds come in handy at this point, as we integrate the advice we find useful and discard the rest. Ultimately, we are the only ones who truly know which move is best for us.

Oftentimes, we seem to trust others more than ourselves when making decisions. When playing chess, there are only two players, you and your opponent. Often you see child prodigies who are chess experts, playing in worldwide tournaments. They have studied for years under a chess coach, but when it comes to the competition, they are left to their own devices with their coach on the sideline, hoping they will use the knowledge and strategy learnt. When it comes down to the crunch, it is just you and life playing the game. You can call on the wisdom of those more experienced but instinct and intuition are qualities that cannot be learned, they just happen.

Instinctively, you already know which move to make. You have all the skills you need to succeed. You know that if you stay put, the game will go nowhere, quite like a stalemate. A stalemate means the game has reached a deadlock. Any move will place your king in jeopardy and there is nothing you can do but walk away. When we find ourselves stuck by our own decisions, we often beat ourselves up for it. Sometimes, there is nothing we can physically do but be brave enough to make a move, so to avoid a stalemate. However, we can be kinder to ourselves and realise that we do what we think is best at the time. If things go pear shaped then we can start again and be better equipped next time around.

Of course, there is the dreaded checkmate. No player wants to experience this, as it means utter and undeniable defeat. In fact, you spend the whole time trying to avoid it. The game is over, your king is rendered powerless and there is nothing left now but to accept. If we make decisions that leave us powerless and defeated, we can always try to start over.  The failures allow us to learn. Hindsight allows us to reassess our previous moves and strategise purposefully for next time. In a sense, we can be better prepared, as personal experience is always the best teacher. There are no pointless moves, no empty decisions, as everything is wisdom.

In this great game of life, we can use tactics, strategies and skill to get the best from any given situation, but by relying on our own wisdom, our own instinct, we are better equipped to make decisions that will assist us in our losses and prepare us for a win.