In a Universe where you have so many superheroes to choose from (actually there are two universes – Marvel and DC), everyone has their favorite superhero. Everyone looks up to or aspires to be their favorite Superhero. Perhaps that is the reason Hollywood keeps making superhero movies again & again. People won’t get bored no matter how many movies they make.
Ever since I was a child, my favorite always has been Superman. OK, come on, who doesn’t like Superman?
He can fly, make things go back in time, look through a wall, bend steel, keep the world safe.. What can he not do?
I want to dedicate this article to my life-long superhero SUPERMAN.
I have learned a few Life & Career Lessons from Superman. Here are a few
1. Discover Yourself
If you have seen any of the Superman movies (Christopher Reeve or Henry Cavill) – Clark Kent initially starts out on a quest to discover himself – to find out who he really is, and where he came from.
As we go through our rebellious teens and into adulthood – we are faced with numerous choices & decisions – what do I study? Where do I work? What relationships to keep?
You never know the answers to most of the questions (Nobody does). Look at your early years as a journey to discover – about yourself, your interests, your aspirations, your purpose, etc. The only person who can truly give you those answers is yourself. No one else can.
Clark Kent travels to the far corner of the earth to discover himself. He learns who he is & his purpose i.e to protect the earth. Your purpose may not be to save the world – but you still have a purpose. Find that what it is – gain more clarity. You will start making the right career choices once you know who you are & what you want.
2. Keep Pushing Your Limits
“The only way to know how strong is to keep testing your limits.” – Jor-El (Man of Steel – 2013)
One of my favorite scenes from all the Superman movies – is from Man of Steel – after he finds out who he is (and he suddenly has a cape)- he steps out into the snowy mountains – and he is ready to fly for the first time. He has never flown before. You can see the nervousness in his face.
His real father Jor-El tells him that he can only grow stronger by testing his limits. I get goosebumps watching this every time. Maybe because this scene struck a chord with me. It is a metaphor for our lives.
Growth always takes effort – directed action. Sometimes that effort is not easy. At that moment, we try to resist the action, perhaps we are afraid – However only after taking the action we realize that we have grown. Only by testing our limits – we are able to become better.
This is true in areas of our lives – fitness, career, social, etc.
Let’s say you want to be promoted. In order to do that, you have to put in the necessary effort, sometimes stretch yourself, push outside your comfort zone – and then you are ready. Once you are ready, and your boss sees that – you are given a shot. Action always precedes success.
3. Dress Sharply
We have always seen Superman saving the world wearing his cape & suit. What about the times when he is not Superman?
In any movie or show- Clark Kent (Superman’s Alter Ego) dresses sharply. You know what I am talking about. He pays attention to every detail – the shoe, the hat, the suit, the tie…
You may not be a world-saving superhero – but dressing well is important. You don’t have proof from scientific studies & laboratory research to prove that the way you dress has an impact on you and others.
Of course, it does!!
The way you dress – affects your mood and your performance at work. It significantly impacts how people judge and perceive you (I know it is not fair but it is the truth).
Grooming and Dressing appropriately is a pre-requisite for career success.
4. Know Your Weakness
Superman’s weakness is Kryptonite. The presence of that shiny green thing makes him weak. And he avoids it as much as he can.
Everyone has kryptonite. We all have weaknesses- some of them are career-limiting or relationships-killer. Yet we have those weaknesses and we don’t know about them until something drastic happens.
It is important to be self-aware. Know your kryptonite.
Let’s say you are not a punctual person. You have the tendency to always come late – to work, events, meetings. You don’t mind it because you think it is OK. Then one day, your boss calls you to your office and fires you – your tardiness and lack of punctuality has become your kryptonite. Knowing your weakness can allow you to avoid or minimize such behaviors.
My Kryptonite was lack of attentiveness. My mind used to go in multiple directions (and still does), and because of that I get distracted multiple times; and I don’t get stuff done. I realized that sooner than later I needed to change. I understand how important it is to focus on any given task. I now use tools to help me stay focused and get more done. Identifying my Kryptonite has helped me to change that behavior, and my performance.
5. Turn Obstacles into Opportunity
“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve
My favorite Superman has always been Christopher Reeve. There is no replacement (Henry Cavill came close & Brandon Routh- please don’t ever try that again).
Christopher Reeve was Superman both on-screen and off-screen.
We all know about his success on the screen as Superman – you might also know his life as a real hero. & inspiration.
In 1995, Christopher was involved in a tragic horse-riding accident that left him paralyzed. He had to stop his movie career immediately. For the rest of his life (until his death in 2004) Christopher was confined to a wheel-chair, he became a paraplegic. Such situations would have deterred the hopes of numerous individuals – but not him.
He decided to dedicate the rest of his life to help people living with paralysis – and he along with his wife established the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. As of 2013, the organizations have raised and donated over $110 million towards research and grants.
Christopher (Superman) was able to turn his serious disadvantage (immobility) into a blessing – he was able to inspire and help numerous others in his situation. He became a role model and his legacy still continues today.
No matter where you are in your career – you are bound to face setbacks – layoffs, downsizing, demotions, etc. Don’t let those circumstances discourage you. Sometimes those events are a blessing in disguise. Learn from them, profit from them – turn those obstacles into advantages.
No matter how young or old you are, man or woman – Superman always has made a memorable impression on you. I have shared with you the Lessons I have learned from my favorite Superhero Superman.
What do you admire most about Superman?