Have you ever been in a bad situation, stacked with insurmountable odds and it seems like there’s just no way out.
We’ve all been through that, yet we’ve come out of it and lived to tell the tale. As I read “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card, recommended by our mentor, Dr. Lin, it reminded me of all the times where it seemed like everything was closing in on me, like a bird trapped in a cage.
Ender’s Game is set in a world where alien creatures had once devastated the earth and now the only way forward seemed to be recruiting children as military tacticians in this fight for humankind’s survival — child soldiers.
In the start of the book, Ender was placed in a horrendous situation. He just had a painful surgery to remove his monitor placed by the military academy to watch his every move, a sign that usually signifies that the military was not interested in him as a candidate for the academy.
On top of that, the removal of the monitor meant that there was no one else watching over him. He turned from a walking CCTV system into a normal breathing human being. Like sharks to bloody waters, school sharks soon closed in on him and there was “big brother” figure out there to protect him.
This shark, came in the form of the school bully, Stilson. Stilson was bigger than ender and always travelled in a pack. This spelled trouble for Ender.
They began teasing him and shoving him around, using their size and numbers as an advantage.
There was no way that he could take on all of his potential attackers. So Ender focused on one, ring leader Stilson. He drew out Stilson’s weakness which was his huge ego. Ender told Stilson that if he was that competent and strong, he could take him man to man.
With this, Stilson’s lackeys let Ender go and immediately Ender launched himself into a high kick right away, dropping Stilson right in the chest. As his actions drew shock from the faces of his opposition, Ender’s sole goal was to stop all future conflicts; preventing all forms of revenge attacks on himself.
Like a feral creature, Ender continued to kick Stilson on the ground, with each strike drawing grimace and painful groans. The viciousness and violence of Ender’s actions would reverberate through the minds of his potential attackers. If they ever tried to take revenge, it was likely that everyone would end up in the hospital.
This might be in a fictional book, but these strategies reach further than just within the confines of those pages. It reminded me a lot like how real world competitors engage their opponents.
OG, a legendary 2 time world champion team in Dota 2 was asked why they would annoy opponents with insulting chat lines and “fountain diving” at the end of the game. For the uninitiated, “Fountain diving” is something you do usually at the end of a game where you dive right into the heart of your opponent’s base to secure unnecessary kills. Basically it’s a way to shit on your opponents.
When the interviewer asked the team that question, the answer OG gave was intriguing. They said that they weren’t just doing it for fun, of course it’s always fun to rub the victory into the faces of your opponents, but they were doing it for a far deeper reason. They were doing it for the next game and all subsequent games. It wasn’t just about planning to win the game at hand, it was to pummel, demoralise and even strike fear into the hearts of all future opponents.
It’s a real life example of what Ender did.
It’s a lesson for everyone. No matter what happens, there’s always a way to topple the biggest competitors out there if you know your strengths and their weaknesses.
At the same time, if you’re feeling like you’re constantly losing and nothing is going your way, remember that your opponents are humans too. They bleed as you do, they sneeze as you do and they lose as you do.
Never give up, never give in. Win that one fight so that you can win all future fights.