So the title of this post is maybe a little misleading. Plenty of folks can outmuscle Superman, or at least go toe to toe with him. But those guys (and gals) are also metas/aliens/gods. I'm talking about regular people. You know. Like Batman.
The image above is from an excellent graphic novel called Batman: Hush, and if you're a Batman fan and haven't read it, what is wrong with you. The story actually has very little to do with Superman, but as you can see, Batman's putting the hurt on his ol' superfriend (who's being mind-controlled by Poison Ivy at the moment).
The Batman vs. Superman debate has been a long-running one, and no, that godawful movie of the same name didn't do anything to settle the score. If you know anything about Superman, you know that no human being can overpower him. Even Batman admits that he's the best at what he does. But if you know anything about Batman, you'll know that Batman would clearly win in a fight against Superman (and has several times, for the record) because Batman is the best at what he does. And what Batman does is outthink his opponents.
(He also has Kryptonite and lots of stuff that goes boom, but what's important is that he knows how to use it.)
On those highly convoluted occasions where Batman has needed to beat Superman down, he's done it not by trying to match Superman, but by out-maneuvering him. He uses Kryptonite. He uses multi-pronged attacks that include explosives and gas and good old fisticuffs. He brings friends along who can give him a hand. He threatens the love of Superman's life in order to distract him. He plays on Superman's weaknesses, but more importantly, he plays on his own strengths.
(Which, essentially, are exploiting other people's weaknesses. Batman is a jerk.)
Everybody's got their skill set. Some people have brute strength, some have speed, some have charm, some have smarts. All of these come in an infinite array of manifestations: think sciences, art, sports, technology, marketing, politics, etc. The point is, whatever your gift, that's what you need to work with. If you're up against the best guy in his field, you probably won't beat him at his own game. You need to play your game, and, sometimes, you need to bring in help.
I've got lots of ideas. Hundreds of ideas. Ideas upon ideas that I want to pursue all at once. If you remember back to this post on bumblebees and self-sabotage, you'll know I have a hard time picking one thing and focusing on it. (Side note: I'm actually pursuing that online course I decided I wouldn't pursue in that blog post. Whoopsies.) I've got things I want to do that I'm in no way able to do, but I tell myself, hey, how hard could app coding/graphic design/organic chemistry be? I can do it. I'll figure it out.
And maybe I could. I'm sure I could. As long as I had time, money, and excellent instruction, I think I could learn anything.
But would that be the best use of my strengths? Probably not.
I've got an idea for an app. That's awesome. But which would be smarter: sitting on it for years while I learn to code, or find someone who already knows how to code and work with her? I need a book cover. That's nice. Which is smarter: derping around in GIMP for weeks only to come up with something a blind man wouldn't like, or hiring a qualified graphic designer to do it for me?
Power through or think it through. Brute force or strategy. Stubborn or smart.
Superman or Batman.
I've always liked Batman. I should try and remember that when the bumblebees start buzzing.