Checkmate by Shiela Cancino
Hold onto your reason
Last week in chess class, I asked my students the same question I ask them every day.
“Class, when you play chess, what is your goal?”
Altogether, they said,
“Checkmate the enemy’s King!”
Contest Chair, fellow Toastmasters, and friends,
Understanding the checkmate rule in Chess has helped me significantly. And this may help you too.
From time to time, I still remember the past.
I wish I held onto my reasons.
If I had, I may still have a high paying job in Financial Services and wouldn’t worry about earning to pay for my food, rent, and beauty products.
Like many of you, I have goals or reasons.
I studied hard and grabbed the job opportunity abroad for my widowed mom.
For staying working overseas, my mom asked me multiple times. “Shiela, are you sure about your decision?”
And I said Yes!
My reason was crystal clear to me: Support the underpriviliged students in our community in the Philippines for their schooling.
Do you know the reasons why you are doing things?
Living life for reasons is remarkable, incredible, and indescribable.
My salary turned from Philippine peso to US dollars, Singapore dollars, and Hong Kong dollars.
If you were in my shoes, after giving a portion of money for my reason, what would you do with the extra?
1. I Travelled around the world with my family.
2. I bought properties in the Philippines. Don’t overthink; it’s cheap there, unlike here in HK.
3. I invested in myself — I joined Toastmasters and other international professional organizations and bought beauty products.
It’s hard to believe that when you hold onto your reasons, you can also enjoy other things.
Since 2008, from Bermuda, USA, to HK, things were okay until November 2014.
I felt there’s something wrong, but I didn’t pay attention.
In 2015, I distracted myself and went to India for five months assignment instead.
Then, when I came back to Hong Kong in 2016, I felt it again.
And again, I didn’t pay attention.
As soon as I got my Hong Kong permanent residency status, I explored other locations, hoping that this weird feeling would go away.
I moved to Singapore in May 2019, with lots of public speaking opportunities, bigger place and more money… for beauty products.
Imagine me — a successful professional, chess Olympiad player, public speaker, and life coaching student.
Those days were the brightest days of my life.
Imagine your brightest days. Savor them.
Life was good until I woke up one day that nothing was left.
Rewarding job, Chess Olympiad, public speaking, life coaching, were all gone.
It’s still hard to believe that in a snap, life could take everything away!
My brightest days turned to darkness. My world fell apart!
Have you ever experienced your world falling apart?
I had so many questions.
I went to my mom, crying. She’s crying as well. She hugged me and said,
“Shiela, do you still remember that you were lonely overseas, but you said you would continue working there?”
“Do you still remember your reason?”
Long story short, along the way, I forgot my reasons.
I forgot that I stayed working overseas for the underprivileged students.
Like in Chess,
I thought was winning the game of my life by points — money, status or shining shining opportunities.
I forgot that the goal of Chess is not points but Checkmate.
In the same way in life,
you would not succeed by shining objects but by holding onto your reasons.
Thankfully, I can still play another game.
I started a new career in June this year.
And I will always rememebe the leasson from my joyful and painful experiences.
Hold onto your reasons.
Win the game not by points, but Checkmate.
Ladies and gentlemen,
How many times do we hear this?
Working hard for the family, but no time to spend quality time with them.
When was the last time you spent quality time with your loved ones?
Working hard for a bright future for the sake of not taking care of oneself.
Who will enjoy that bright future if you are bedridden of sickness?
In closing, I encourage you to look back on your reason and always remind yourself of it.
Win the game of life not by the shining objects, but by holding onto your reasons!
Like in Chess, win the game not by points, but by — — — Checkmate.