In the first Balkan War of 1912, Serbia fought against the Ottoman Empire to free its enslaved people from the Balkan nations. One of the men called upon was Ahmed Ahmetovic
, a humble tavern musician from a small town in southern Serbia who had never fought in any war. Despite being called to arms, Ahmed was a trumpet player, so he was assigned to be the trumpeter for his division.
With the rest of his neighbors, Ahmed went to war in Macedonia. Soon, he found himself near the town of Kumanovo where a decisive battle was planned to take place. Ahmed’s unit came there earlier than expected, while the majority of the Serbian Army was still on route. The problem was that Ottomans appeared on time and they came in full strength. Ahmed’s division was standing alone and facing certain disaster.
As Ottomans were attacking from all directions, breaking one defensive line after another, Ahmed had an idea.He took a uniform from a dead Ottoman soldier and sneaked through the dense fog to behind enemy lines. Once there, he used his trumpet to sound the Ottoman signal for retreat, which he had memorized the day before.
Ottoman soldiers were confused at first, but obeyed the “order”, probably believing that enemy reinforcements were arriving. After Ahmed successfully forced Ottoman soldiers to retreat, he then returned back and sounded his unit a signal to attack.
Serbian soldiers rushed towards enemy positions, carried by the sound of Ahmed’s trumpet. Now completely confused, Ottoman soldiers were caught by panic and fled the battlefield. Armed only with his trumpet, Ahmed turned the course of the battle and more importantly saved hundreds of lives.
Just like the 9 dots problem
, we tend to inflict self-imposed restrictions on how we view a problem. We try to solve it without thinking about the other angles, we compete against opponents without trying to empathize with their condition. Much like Ahmed, we all have the capacity for making greater strides by taking the time to step back and look at our problems, well…outside the box.
🍺 to a great week ahead!