Underestimate Me, Please

Chess is an unusual game.

Supposed as the most thorough test of a person’s mind and logical skills, people play chess with few pieces, fewer actions, and a board.

Really, chess tests not whether a person has a logical mind, but only whether a person is trained to play chess. Yes, it requires a logical mind, but it also requires training.

Even a genius can be a fool at chess.

I have a friend who likes to play chess. Sometimes he even plays it with me. However, chess games are the smallest part of his chess life. He reads books about how to play chess better, he studies the strategies of chess masters from the past, and he even watches live chess matches on TV.

I didn’t even know that’s a thing.

He studies chess with diligence and commitment which highlights the difference between the two of us. The last time I studied a subject seriously was when I searched for the best kitten meme on the internet.

I’m trying to tell you that when my friend plays chess against anyone, it’s a crushing defeat. He takes his opponents in his jaws and snaps their proverbial chess spines. He’s a chess machine. No one can beat him.

Except me.

At one time I would win 1/3 of our games.

Once I tried to explain the phenomenon to him. I said:

Jack, suppose there’s a person who isn’t all that bad at chess. Remember, he isn’t particularly good, but he also isn’t too bad. He’s merely average. However, somehow -through no mystical feat of magic but simply through his personality- he is able to convince people that he’s a rotten chess player.”

This sounds strange, but go on.” my friend said.

Don’t you realize that such a person would be an unexpectedly good chess player? Instead of playing the game, he plays his opponent, and wins.”

I don’t think my friend realized I was talking about myself.

If such a person exists,” he said, “I think you would agree that this person is lazy. They don’t apply themselves to the game, and don’t learn it. They only win games by an exploit.”

I didn’t answer him because I disagreed. He didn’t understand that it wasn’t a case of me not learning to play his game, but of me forcing him to play mine.

Alright, time for some application.

Have you realized that the most dangerous person in your life is the person you underestimate the most?

If you respect some people in your life for being smart, beautiful, or clever, then there are other people that you completely write off because you think that they’re morons.

Maybe it sounds odd, but I like to live in that little gray area. Somewhere in between Potentially Smart Guy and Hopeless Dreamer. If I can get you to underestimate me, then I force you to expose your weak points.

If you can’t love and respect me as a friend when I’m drawing chalk hopscotch lines on the sidewalk, then I don’t care about how much money you make or how many people you can impress.

It is this small band of people who don’t mind how silly you look in public and aren’t impressed by appearance or stature that are the true gold of this world. When I pretend to be a moron, I find them so much more easily.

No one is immune from this prideful mindset of looking at people and deciding their worth. I do it too. We have to realize that we only do this to prop up our own insecurities.

When will we throw away our prideful habits? When will we realize that the worth of a man or woman is not gauged by anything that we can see?

Hopefully today.

The only way to come to this realization is to abase ourselves and see ourselves for who we really are. I’ll start.

Please underestimate me.

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