“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance” (Bruce Barton)
Most kids imagine becoming “super-heroes” – becoming invincible, being able to conquer evil, having the wit, wisdom and strength to outplay any adversary or the ability to overcome any obstacle that might stand in the way of achieving success. In fact, movie programming for children, gaming for teens and young adults and fantasy stories and mythology all have these underlying themes – things are not what they seem (there’s a whole lot going on out there than initially meets the eye), a huge battle is underway (it’s a great struggle for life) and we have a crucial role to play (even though we may feel like a “nobody”, we have an important part to play). The last piece of the puzzle (the “crucial role” that we have to play), unfortunately, is where it all falls apart – we are very aware of the deceit of life (systems and processes that are bigger than us that control economies, politics and globalisation fall-out); we are also aware that life is a battle (many are struggling to sustain existence); we realise that we probably have a role to play, but we don’t feel that we are up to it (I don’t have the super-hero qualities to really make an impact).
Life’s “circumstances” in this 21st Century are certainly challenging, to say the least. The temptation, however, when one’s journey gets tough and obstacles seem insurmountable, is to lose hope and over time be worn down to settle for a numbing mediocrity. It is here, where we regard this “lack of greatness” as “normal” that we just exist rather than make a contribution in life. It is true that we don’t have super powers of a comic book nature, but we do have incredible abilities that are potentially untapped. Latent creativity, unbelievable powers of reasoning, emotional strength, resilience, networking ability, the seemingly endless resources to offer love and care, the ability to recharge to regain energy – although probably needing further development, all these inner strengths are available to everyone. We are, in a sense, “super-heroes”. We have been created to be.
Unlocking our inner-strengths requires the following behaviours from us:
- Identify your “unique power” – we are all gifted in one way or another. These gifts need to be expressed to enable contribution.
- Take responsibility for your giftedness – “responsibility is the price of greatness” (Winston Churchill). Taking ownership of who you are and what you do is paramount – this is the responsibility displayed by all “super-heroes”.
- Exercise your “unique power” – Lewis Howes, former professional football player, noted: “Greatness is a muscle and muscles need to be exercised. The more you see your powers in action, the more confidence you’ll gain and the more opportunities will come your way”.
- Prepare to meet some adversaries – all super-heroes have many enemies with whom to do battle. Sometimes these enemies are external (an indifferent boss, negative people, etc.) or internal (procrastination, fear, anxiety, etc.), but don’t falter. Stay resolute in the face of adversity.
- Stay in touch with reality – be grounded. Lewis Howes again notes: “When superman wasn’t saving people, he was a reporter at The Daily Planet. This kept him grounded and in touch with the very people he was saving”.
- Focus on the “big picture” – avoid tunnel vision and align your giftedness to what you want to achieve. As you use your “unique powers”, doors start opening for you.
Being a super-hero is not a role reserved for the few – super-hero capabilities lie within all of us. Exercise your “unique powers” to rise above circumstances and make your contribution. The world needs your abilities and talents.