Critical Thinking

“Everybody you don’t.”Similar was the case with me.

“Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” – Albert EinsteinIntroduction:There is a certain stereotype related to education system that it seeks to destroy creativity, and promote a syllabus. Much like in a dictatorship, a school system evidently works with a motive to promote whatever is written in a curriculum, and any outside and radical thought is immediately neglected and nullified. That is why genius like Einstein has been heavily critical of the education system. It is not that the education system possesses any harm or antagonism when it comes to their students; when it comes to the questions related to the curriculum, students are allowed to questions as much as they want. However, it is like a planned blueprint; every house has to be made in accordance to that blueprint and any outside design is neglected. Under such circumstances, it becomes increasingly difficult for students who possess other unique talents, to survive. Literally each and every person on this planet has their own unique talents and capabilities, which others cannot perfectly mimic. As Bill Nye states: “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”Similar was the case with me. I had my own ambitions and dreams, and yet was held back by the curriculum. It wasn’t like I was bad at studies; I was really enthusiastic about learning something new everyday. But the problem was, I wasn’t taught something new each day. My main priority was being creative, and not the grades, and this particular fact reflected itself in my homework; something which remained a cause for irritation for my teachers, and always resulted in me being termed as a dunce. Just as Churchill remarks about teachers: “When I would have willingly displayed my knowledge, they sought to expose my ignorance.”Such inconsideration and mistreatment of my teachers resulted in me evidently believing in my stupidity more than my capability. I began to accept the fact that I was relatively inferior to the rest of the class, and this particular realization brought down with it upon me: depression, angst, anxiety and severe mental crisis, ultimately resulting in me becoming the physical reality of the image being constantly implemented in my mind. That is until I stumbled upon this one particular activity which suited my talents the best: Chess.Everything comes with practice; that I knew. With the exception of basic survival traits, nothing comes preprogrammed in our minds, and everything has to be observed, learned and practiced thoroughly before it reaches a point of perfection. The process takes time, however it is a necessity. And since I had finally made my mind on chess, I decided to follow through. I began practicing chess with my father every day after school. My fortune was that I knew a chess player in my home, but my misfortune was that he was an extremely well trained chess player – which was also sort of my fortune as well, since it provided me with real tough training. My father was a man of intellect. He was a man who was fond of challenge, and anything at all which seemed challenging. Therefore, chess was something he knew as better as breathing, and thus, that limited 64 squared board became somewhat of a battlefield for us. With every loss, my determination began to increase even more. My father was a master at the game, and often times he had to hold back against me, however that didn’t stop him from humiliating me on the board, further putting salt on the wound. But it only proved to increase my motivation. I began to study the chess board in more details. In order to practice myself, I began to play against computer to increase my skill. Game after game, it happened once that I finally was able to checkmate my father. This became my milestone for further achievements. As Tim Notke observes: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” I had worked hard. I had perfected my talent. But I needed a platform to make it worthwhile. Two years later, I was finally able to become the second best player of our school’s chess team, with the 1st player being the best player in the state. I needed that position for myself. An exhibition match was held before the tournament, however due to some circumstances, our top player couldn’t appear. As a result, I was ultimately chosen as the substitution for that player by my high school, to play as top board against the top players of the entire state. The burden of responsibility was supreme, however my determination was even stronger. With all the prior practice, I had trained my mind for stressful situations. I was determined to display it to people that I was no longer a dunce, and had made good use of my talents. The most memorable game from the entire tournament came at the fourth round. Our team was now up against a preparatory school at a match where only the elite students of chess were allowed to attend. During the match, I was given the black pieces, and was using my usual style of double fianchetto King’s Indian Defense. The opponent’s game was very exceptional and he was easily able to turn the game towards a point where I had to desperately hold onto my position in the game. He took the position of attack, and I chose the position of defense, looking for hidden openings in his gameplay while keeping my king safe. With my defenses perfectly in position, it began to take him more and more longer to think of a move, as his sole intention was to go on attack. Eventually it came to the point where before he could take me down, his clock was almost spent. He diverted his attention towards defeating my kingside defense, but due to my position, could not find the path towards the push. Noticing his time being almost up, he began to make aggressive moves, to which I answered with even more defensive tactics, making it more and more difficult for him to attack. And before he could make his final move, his clock ran out. The moment his clock ran out, it gave me such an adrenaline surge, that I jumped out of my chair in sheer happiness. The moment was so profound, that I could not contain my emotions. Conclusion: Moving on towards my final game, I was able to secure a lossless victory with three wins and two draws. This entire journey served to provide me a valuable lesson: no one is stupid. It is merely the perspective which is flawed. Everyone possesses his own unique qualities which no other person can mimic. It only takes a moment of reflection, and a lot of hard work for a person to realize that he’s indeed special.

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