“How much is the truth? And how much is a lie?”Gi-Hun
110 million times.
Yes, that’s the amount of time the Squid Game has been viewed on Netflix. And I’m not even sure how many times on other platforms!
A friend ‘what’sapped’ me a month back on whether ‘I watched Squid Game?’
I’d not heard about it at that time. But I’m a sucker for my friend’s choice and decided to go on with it. The first episode was underwhelming and I thought this was going to be another Parasite, but a longer version. But what it ended up being was a mash between Parasite, Hunger Games, Ready Player One! But much intense. Much sinister!
I could not stop between episodes and watched the whole series within 2 days of binge-watching.
The more I thought about the show the more I realized the lessons embedded within the whole series. It just blows my mind how this series has been produced which draws parallels to our society and makes me want more.
The whole season is a reflection of our society but in an outlandish, brutally honest way. I thought through every scene which reflected my own life in some areas and I could not but imagine how many hidden lessons are in this series.
There may be 100s of lessons within the series, and I’d like to highlight the top 11 life lessons I learned from Squid Game:
1. Money isn’t Everything in Life. Your Purpose Matters:
Do You Know What Someone With No Money Has In Common With Someone With Too Much Money? Living Is No Fun For Them.Il-Nam
Do you remember the last scene in the series? Gi Hun has now decided to meet his daughter. Up until that time, his purpose was to reunite with his daughter.
But something striking happens. Gi Hun has seen 100s of deaths in front of his eyes. He’s witnessed the injustice to 100s of his comrades during the game.
While he was about to board the aircraft, he’s reminded of his purpose, which is to put an end to the game. (Or so I think!) some of my friends say otherwise and that Gi Hun will be the one who will conduct Season 2 of the games!!
I feel that his purpose is to end the Squid Game! And for this mission, he’s ready to sacrifice his own desire to reunite with his daughter.
2. Luck Matters. Good Luck vs Bad Luck:
It doesn’t matter how tough you are, you are not going to win on your own.Deok-Su
Jang Deok-Su. The villain, the gangster. Everyone was scared of him.
But I felt that he was also lucky. Do you remember the game of marbles? He was not the best player. But a little bit of luck, he did win and survived for the time being.
In life too, with a bit of preparation, you will feel lucky. Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.
3. Trust but Verify:
We’ve already come to far to end this now.Sang-woo
The most emotional event of Squid Game was when Ali was cheated by Choo Sang-woo! Ali trusted Choo with his marbles. And ultimately paid the price of his life.
I remember trusting people based on what they told me. I blindly trusted people for their flair, their talk, their charisma. At one instance I invested in a start-up just by watching them present at an event without doing much of the due diligence. And ultimately paid the price.
4. The System is Rigged:
What could we all do to finally have some fun?Il-nam
We only come to know about the rigged system towards the end of the season. Il Nam was an insider with knowledge and information about the game beforehand.
I believe we come up with this quite often in our lives people who achieve great things in life and sometimes we wonder HOW! In most cases, they are insiders or have someone who is an insider in the game being played. Sometimes this is a competitive advantage and other times this is purely cheating.
How do you navigate your life with all the headwinds that you are facing?
5. Smart Work vs Hard Work:
I’m not a genius, but I still got it where it counts.Mi-nyeo
This is perhaps the best lesson I learned watching the Squid Game. In the game where you are supposed to cut the sugar candy (Dalgona) into exactly the right way, Gi Hun managed to work smart and inspired others to do the same stuff. This is by far the best example of smart work that helped himself and fellow participants.
On the other hand, people who were immersed in their own hard work did not survive the game.
You can learn so much from this.
In your work:
- How smart are you?
- How often do you come up with solutions?
- How often do you offer creative help?
- How do you come up with ideas to solve the problems at hand?
6. Opportunity Knocks Again and Again:
I’m not a genius, but I still got it where it counts.” — “Life is like a game. There are many players. If you don’t play with them, they’ll play with you.Il-Nam
During the first 2 episodes, we see that players deciding to quit the game through mutual voting. The majority of the participants decided to quit the game. But they were again lost in their lives. Then the opportunity knocked once again on all of them.
Now, they exactly knew their odds of survival and that there will be only ONE winner to the game. This is an extreme example of real-life and our life may not be that gruesome. When you are in your deep slumber and feel like everything is lost, new windows of opportunity may open up. You will have to climb through it.
In the year 2014, I’d lost my job and thought everything was lost in life. I went into a minor depression. I thought this is it and was about to pack my bags to return to my country. But, opportunity knocked on my door. Not the exact one I wished. But an opportunity. I took up the challenge.
So if you feel stuck in your life, I’d say don’t lose your hope. Be ready, prepare. You will have your opportunity at your door at an unexpected time. Your duty is to be ready for these times!
7. Be Kind:
I just wanted to return the favor.Ali
This has been the most important lesson I learnt. There are so many scenes of kindness within the series.
- Gi Hun offering Il Nam his company in the game
- The team accepting the 10th person in their team
Kindness is not charity. Kindness is the attitude of acceptance.
You get so many opportunities in your life to be kind. Take them up even if they are an inconvenience to you. Help each other.
8. Love Comes from the Unlikeliest of Places:
Hey, old man. Want to do this together?Gi-Hun
Love can be between brothers, sisters, siblings, parents, strangers, lovers, friends.
In the game, we see the love between strangers. Gi Hun was very practical in exhibiting his love for many characters within the game. Starting with his mother, to Il Nam, to Kang Se-byeok. At the end of the game, he loved Cho Sang-woo, despite trying to cheat against him.
Ji-yeong loved Kang Se-byeok and sacrificed her life. She didn’t have to. Love can come from the unlikeliest of places. The only condition is that you must accept this love with open arms and an open mind.
9. Be Patient:
Good rain knows the best time to fall.VIP
We live in a NOW time.
- Instant coffee
- Instant entertainment
- Instant dopamine
- Instant love
- Instant news
- Instant promotion
- Instant everything
And we’ve all the rights to demand these. But the real fruit of your success is in being patient. In a time of instant gratification, having a low-time preference is a competitive advantage.
If you seek instant solutions, you may forgo the actual meaning of achievement. I want the latest gadget, I want quick success, I want to get rich quick.
Gi Hun taught us that being patient is a virtue. Like a true leader, he felt that giving opportunities to others is the right thing to do. And this saved his life till the end. He was patient, he was willing to sacrifice short-term validations. We’ve so much to learn from him.
10. If You Want to Win, Listen!
Dad, you’re free to get in fights. Just don’t get beaten up.Gi-hun’s daughter
In a survival mode, you tend to make harsh decisions. In the opening game of ‘red light, green light’, this skill meant the difference between life and death. Listening is not only through your ears but also deep within your soul.
- Do you listen to your gut feelings?
- Do you listen to your heart?
- Do you listen to nature?
All these factors can affect your chance of winning. If you’re an entrepreneur, you listen to your competition, do you listen to the upcoming technologies that may give you an edge in the market?
In a relationship, do you listen to your partner without speaking? Can you listen to their inner most voices?
Perhaps the most important skill you can develop is to listen to the signs of the time to be ready for a future that is upon us.
11. Be a Team Player:
It doesn’t matter how tough you are, you are not going to win on your own.Deok-Su
TEAM: Total Effort by All Members
Without a team, it’d not be possible to survive in Squid Game. And the team which was courageous, strong would go on to survive the next round. When many minds meet and plan, the synergy will have its own results.
We saw this during multiple instances in Squid Game. In the game of tug of war, the team which seemed like a weak one was not weak. They’d strategized various plans from different team members and this was the reason they survived.
During the internal uprising, it was the smart, strong team that survived. We can draw so many similarities from the game to our own lives, both personal and professional.
There are many other lessons that we would learn from Squid Game. That’s up to each of us.
But what I’d like for you and me is to keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open for the moment. I hope you also have learned loads of lessons from Squid Game. What part touched you the most?
Top Quotes from Squid Game:
- “I’m good at everything, except the things I can’t do.” — Mi-nyeo
- “Life is like a game. There are many players. If you don’t play with them, they’ll play with you.” — Il-Nam
- “At that moment, I felt as if I owned the entire world.” — Gi-hun
- “I just wanted to return the favor.” — Ali
- “One more round.” — Gi-hun
- “Stick with the strongest team. That’s the only way.” — Deok-su
- “You don’t trust people because they are trustworthy. You do it because you have nothing else to rely on.” — Sae-byeok
- “I’ll make sure we win.” — Ji-yeong
- “Doing something is always more fun than just watching.” — Il-nam
- “Everyone is equal while they play this game.” — The Front Man
- “Begin the next game.” — The Front Man
- “Good rain knows the best time to fall.” — VIP
- “That’s right. You die.” — Gi-hun
- “Do you know what people with no money have in common with people with too much money? Living is no fun for them.” — Il-nam
- “I’m not a genius, but I still got it where it counts.” — Mi-nyeo
- “Hey, old man. Want to do this together?” — Gi-hun
- “Dad, you’re free to get in fights. Just don’t get beaten up.” — Gi-hun’s daughter
- “Would you like to play a game with me? — The Front Man
- “A player is not allowed to stop playing.” — The Front Man
- “Out there, I don’t stand a chance. I do in here.” — Player 322
- “There’s this saying in investing, ‘Try not to keep your eggs in the same basket.’” – Sang-woo
- “When faced with danger, take refuge with the herd.” — VIP
- “It doesn’t matter how tough you are, you are not going to win on your own.” — Deok-Su
- “I want to get one last chance to claim ownership of my life.” — Random player
- “Can you still trust anybody to be good?” — Il-nam
- “What could we all do to finally have some fun?” — Il-nam
- “Look at that. There’s someone who cares.” Gi-hun
- “This is Hell. What are the rules in Hell?” — Deok-su
- “We’ve already come to far to end this now.” — Sang-woo
- “How much is the truth? And how much is a lie?” — Gi-hun
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