I need to preface this by saying that I am terrible at chess. I know the basic rules, but I have very little strategy. My boys have started playing chess (and therefore so have I), so I have had the opportunity recently to test some different strategies.
Had you challenged me to a game of chess a couple of weeks ago, after trying to get out of the game, I would have reverted to my only strategy. I would have moved the pieces around my king as little as possible in hopes of protecting him. In reality my only real goal with that strategy is to postpone my defeat (humiliation) as long as possible.
In playing more frequently in the past couple of weeks, I have noticed that it can be helpful to get your pieces spread out so they have the chance to move the ways they were designed to move. Playing defensively and simply trying to protect your king is a weak strategy compared to an aggressive strategy where you get the pieces in positions where you can use their mobility as an advantage.
Thus it is with life. If you spend all of your time and energy protecting what you have, all you are doing is postponing the time when you will recognize that you never gave yourself a chance to truly succeed. Situating yourself where you can use your skills, on the other hand, will allow you to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. Whether you find yourself successful or not in the end, you can know that you situated yourself to use your skills and took advantage of opportunities life dealt you. In the end, that may be the definition of a 'successful life'.
The game of chess is growing on me. I'm not especially good at it, but I am learning to play to win rather than trying to postpone humiliation. It turns out that losing isn't the worst thing that could happen. It's a fun game. And at this point I win fairly regularly since I only ever play a 4 and 6 year old.