If you have been following me, you probably already know that I’m a Marvel girl. Recently, Spiderman Homecoming came out. It’s been a stressful week. This was exactly the stress reliever I needed. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have developed a secret talent where I can draw life lessons from superhero movies.
After all, underneath it all, we’re all superheroes, are we?
As with every single super hero movie, the first thing I think about is what sort of leadership lessons are there? This time, I quickly decided against it. A quick google search revealed that Forbes already beat me to the punch.
Moreover, seeing as Spiderman is a 15-year-old kid, I’m thinking leadership lessons are something that are on his path as well. But if there is one thing I can say about teenage boys, is that their undeveloped prefrontal cortex affords them to take some serious risks. Mostly these risks come without weighing out the consequences. However, if there is one thing that stops most of us in our tracks is over-weighing out the consequences… so much to the point that we have analysis paralysis. So, I’m thinking we can take a page of a 15 yr. old genetically enhanced boy.
Plus, leadership lessons from superhero movies are sort of played out. (Sorry, Luis).
Not to worry. What I’m going to go through actually won’t spill any beans. If you don’t know what movie I”m talking about, here is the trailer: SPIDER-MAN: Homecoming Trailer 3 (2017)
Top Four Spidey-Lessons for Taking Risks:
Doing Things for Glory Isn’t Worth It
You don’t have to have seen the movie to know that Peter Parker isn’t the most popular kid in school. If anything, he’s constantly one of those geeks of whom people make fun. He’s lanky. He doesn’t dress particularly stylish. He’s afraid to talk to girls. Yet, he covets the most popular girl in school. Add the hormones that come with being a teenager, even one from a comic book, one doesn’t have to reach far to clue in that climbing the social ladder is a main driver in his life.
And yet, this is always in conflict with his true passion: joining the Avengers. He’s getting mentored by none other than Tony Stark himself. He knows that it’s a way bigger deal than getting the girl, and his social standing in high school. So, high school drama aside, he desperately wants to constantly prove himself worthy of the Avengers.
How does this translate to us? You’ve heard it before. Doing things for money for the sake of money doesn’t have the longevity. It’s a house of cards (nothing having to do with Kevin Spacey.) Without the passion behind the pursuit, we lose interest at the first sign of adversity. And trust me. There will be adversity. Wherever we take a risk, adversity comes with the territory. Passion fortifies us.
Opportunity Comes at the Most Inconvenient Time
Waiting for opportunity to come your way is like watching a toaster pop. Peter got a good dose of this, waiting for the call. But the moment you’re thinking you can step off the gas pedal and relax a bit, something shows up. The moment you take a breather, kick up your heels, and take a quick break, opportunity knocks. At the party of the decade, where all the cool kids are, Peter senses trouble. Without hesitation he investigates, even if it means abandoning his friends at the party.
When I was selling insurance, I would practice my scripts daily. I’d practice what to say when chatting up a new prospect. I’d rehearse my 11 second elevator speech. I’d practice overcoming objections: if they say this, I’ll say that. I practiced so much they were like second nature to me. I even dreamt of it. I’d never know when I’d have to whip out my prospecting scripts, so I rehearsed them until they were an integral part of my vernacular. The effort paid off. I was ever-ready. That’s the space that we need to get if we’re going to be ever-ready for opportunity.
If you think you can just pull that stuff out of your ass when you need without practicing, you’re sorely mistaken.
The Solution to One Problem Creates the Next Problem
We all have good intentions. As hard as Parker tried to fix a problem, he always ended up creating a new, bigger problem than the one that he attempted to fix.
This is evident throughout history. I’m sure you’ve heard that the motorcar was originally invented as the solution to the pollution problem of horse manure. As history would prove it, it really did clean up the manure problem. But it created a new problem: pollution from car exhaust. The cycle perpetuates. The solution to one problem evolves into the next problem. If you expect that this cycle will happen, you can almost jump ahead and create a contingency plan to handle it.
This is the lesson that I spoke to me. If you’re going to expect a risk, you would do well to think of a contingency plan to handle the problem that you know is going to come next.
I know. Great in theory. The reality is that often it’s impossible to think of the next problem. Or it can be so far off that you can’t even fathom what next problem would be. In such cases all we can do is be nimble. Be agile enough to roll with the punches, and the next problem doesn’t stand a chance. In fact, I prefer being flexible and ready for change than planning around the next problem.
If you’re Nobody Without the Suit, You’re Nobody.
This was my favourite line from Ironman. What defines you? Your earning potential? The office in which you work? Your job title? They’re all suits. They’re all labels. Stripped of your titles, your labels, your material possessions, are you still the same person? Ironman said it best. “If you’re nobody without the suit, you’re nobody.”
I’m ashamed to admit that my self-worth for the longest time had been tied to my earning potential. I’m happy to report that I’m slowly maturing past that. I’ve now learned that my worth comes from the value that I contribute to those around me. Help someone else get wealthy, and you get wealthy. In the book I’m currently devouring, “Happy Pocketful of Money” by David David Cameron Gikandi
I discovered that what you gives comes back to you in multiples, sometimes exponentially. This is, of course, a happy by-product of giving. The ultimate message is we only have a solid identity when we can look in the mirror and be happy with who we are without the job title, the fancy clothes, the house in the burbs, the SUV. We can’t take that stuff with us. Why would we let it define us? What you think you own ends up owning you. And none of us truly owns anything. We are merely stewards of that which we care.
I could go and on. In the spirit of brevity, if you haven’t seen the movie, it’s a good’er. Besides being funny, action-packed, and nostalgic, Spiderman Homecoming is the most fun and entertaining personal development experience you’ll experience. I’d be interested to know what life lessons you draw out.
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