Think like the Queen of Katwe

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Phiona Mutesi attends the Premiere Of Disney's "Queen Of Katwe" at the El Capitan Theatre on September 20, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)

Photo: Getty images

Uganda Chess heroine, Phiona Mutesi, stunned the world when we all least expected it. She is our muse today and we are drawing five lessons, which might inspire your winning quest, from how she did it.

  • Your environment is an advantage

Sometimes, the worst is just the next best thing and being raised in a slum is no exception. The good news about being in a somewhat disadvantaged position, as learnt from Phiona, is that every other person underestimates you, so you have every chance to take the world by surprise.


  • Believe it or not, you are a grand master

Think it, say it. Whatever you do, never have second thoughts. Phiona calls herself a grandmaster with the dream of being that. It might take quite some really long stairs getting to the top, get yourself there already in your words.

  • You may not know much, but you definitely know how to win

Whie starting out, it just always seemed silly whenever Phiona competed with the big league players because it was often considered impossible for her to win. Reasons? She was just the dirty girl from an unknown Katwe who had little or no education, so quite logically, all reasonable odds were against her. But Phiona was not in for losing. Her most classic response on wining was ‘‘I may not know much, but I know how to win’.


Photo: new African woman

  • Whatever it takes, go right on to solve the puzzle

Go right on even when it means sleepless nights. You are not allowed to shut the door in your own face when others do. Phiona’s life changed the moment her brother boasted that she could never beat him in the game of chess. That night she made sure she solved the puzzle. She ended up beating not only her brother, but even her own teacher.

  • Slap your way through if necessary!

Phiona would not have anyone bullying her, not even a boy. Whatever happened, she was not playing the victim. On her first visit to the chest house, she aggressively demanded some respect from a bully. That was all the magic she needed, no one dared to call her names from that moment. You might want to think like Phiona Mutesi. Quit playing the victim, stick to demanding some respect.



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