“Expecting defeat will surely bring it.”
– Field Marshall Tamas, The Crimson Campaign
By Brian McClellan
I seem to be getting a lot of quotes from McClellan’s Powder Mage trilogy. 🙂
Field Marshall Tamas is not exactly a stranger to desperate circumstances, especially uphill battles. His reputation for pulling off stunning victories against overwhelming odds is well-earned. Some of these battles, indeed, entire military campaigns, have been so “uphill” that they’ve been veritable cliffs of insanity. While others are wringing their hands about the long, steep, terrible ascent in front of them, how impossible it is, he’s busy scaling it.
I forget the exact circumstances around this quote, but it very much sums up his attitude. He’s no fool, he has known defeat, just as he’s known betrayal and terrible loss, so he knows that sometimes, no matter what one does, it is still possible to lose. However, he addresses that possibility by planning for it, and fighting against it. He accepts that he may be defeated, but he never accepts it as a certainty. Thus, by his will, his armies and his people are carried to victory.
He is absolutely right when he says this. Battles and wars are won or lost in the will of those who fight them. When death and defeat seem all but inevitable, it may be nothing but sheer will which turns the tide. It is a tricky thing, sometimes, to see a dire situation, and overcome self-defeating despair. Mind you, the other extreme is just as bad, where one believes in victory so much that one loses all rationality, and loses the battle anyway, but the point is how powerful one’s attitude is in determining the outcome.
If you fight to win, you might still be defeated, but if you fight to lose, then you will lose, end of story.
It actually just hit me a few days ago how this applies to more than just battles. Ordinary, everyday life can feel like a war sometimes, can’t it? Having to work, to pay the bills, to not spend too much, to look after the kids, to keep the family happy, to keep the wife/husband happy, to become financially secure for the future, to just keep that nose to the grindstone… it just goes on and on and on.
There are so many examples of people who just give up. For whatever combination of reasons, they give up. They give up on life. They give up on the future. They give up on happiness, on joy. They see the battle of their life arrayed before them, and they give up on victory. They expect defeat, and that is the moment when they are defeated.
I’m no stranger to that feeling, and I doubt anyone is who’s really lived life.
So, I just want to say: we can win.
You can win.
You can win.
You can win!
Just don’t give up.