“We find not much in ourselves to admire, we are always privately wanting to be like somebody else. If everybody was satisfied with himself, there would be no heroes.”
― Mark Twain
It is the age of superheroes and any trip to the movie theater or toy store will prove it.
Men, women and children are all now, perhaps more than ever, showing how much we appreciate the concept of being superhuman, but why is that?
Are we all just really into the costumes and the big action, or are we perhaps more in love with the temporary pleasure of experiencing something we’ve been missing in our lives?
Is the vicarious experience of being a superhero for even two hours what drives our appreciation for the superhero culture? Well, there’s good and bad news…
The bad news is that most of us don’t have spider-powers, a really cool, indestructible shield that we can throw, or the wealth to develop a super-suit, but the good news is that we can all take steps to make ourselves just a little more like the heroes we adore.
We humans have incredible potential and all we need is courage, inner strength and an iron will to develop our unique “powers”, and once you unlock the secrets of your own power, there’s no stopping you.
What’s the first step to becoming a superhero? Choosing your identity!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should be insincere and put on some kind of front for people. I’m talking about choosing for ourselves exactly what kind of person we want to be and employing strategies to make permanent change towards maximizing our heroic potential.
Most people feel that they are the product of their family, environment, past experiences or innate abilities/disabilities, but these things do not need to determine us as individuals.
As any fan of superheroes knows, every origin story involves the hero going through some kind of journey of self-discovery. The hero needs to grow and learn to wield their powers and they are frequently faced with some very trying experiences along the way, but that’s exactly what teaches the hero the most about who they are and what they can do.
If you’ve got habits you know are holding you back, change them!
Put a swift and immediate end to them and don’t doubt for one moment your ability to do so. People are capable of incredible change once they commit themselves to it and once they stop making excuses.
Imagine what the traits of the greatest, most admirable and most powerful individuals are and start implementing those strategies in your own life.
It won’t be easy, but being a hero never is, and you’ve got what it takes to be one.
What makes superheroes so impressive?
It’s not just their ability to fit into those painfully tight spandex suits. It’s their ability to do the things most people cannot and to bear the burdens that the average person could not.
Nobody would be impressed by a superhero that complains every time they save someone or whines when things get hard, and nobody would idolize a hero that becomes bitter, negative and jaded by their experiences, subsequently becoming a defeated and miserable person.
The heroes we love have the admirable ability to face endless hardship, fight a never-ending battle against the forces of evil and yet still see the good in people. They still defend the innocent, fight for what is right and they do it with an empowered and confident mindset.
Our heroes might have moments where their strength is tested. Moments where the average person would have given up, but the superheroes always get back on their feet and save the day.
These are some of the most “super” of superhero traits and it’s something we can all implement in our everyday life.
When you’re faced with a challenge, meet it with an indomitable good attitude and confidence. Life is full of never-ending challenges, and the average person is crushed by these hardships, but you are not an average person, are you?
You are tougher than anything this world can throw at you, and should you choose, you can be a hero in the eyes of everyone you meet and know, by simply tackling every day and every obstacle with an unshakable spirit and an undying love of life.
One of the most common things superheroes possess is an outrageous amount of strength.
Lifting a car over their head? No big deal. Ripping a telephone pole out of the ground and using it like a baseball bat? Totally doable!
Unfortunately, most of us will probably never possess the ability to do those things, but we can certainly take great strides towards possessing tremendous physical, mental and emotional strength.
Now, physical strength is an obvious priority to anyone who’s already lifting weights and working out, but who doesn’t like the idea of being really strong?
Somewhere along the way, our culture managed to convince men that strength is unimportant or “brutish” and simultaneously convince women that strength is a uniquely masculine trait.
Are these empowering concepts? No way. Is it true? Of course not!
It’s complete and utter nonsense. Let’s discard the notion that being strong is for the simple-minded and that it’s something exclusively reserved for men, or something shameful for women to possess.
Men and women are both deserving of the confidence and ability associated with possessing great physical strength.
Eat well, train hard and take pride in knowing that you are working towards being the strongest person you know.
The one downside is that once your physical strength is known amongst your circle of friends, you’ll probably be recruited way more often to help people move, and while it’s not as glorious as saving New York City from invading alien forces, you’ll certainly be appreciated.
The other side to the proverbial coin of strength is emotional and mental strength.
The truth is that every day we are all faced with an incredible amount of stress and frustration. The sheer volume of it in modern life is staggering and it’s enough to take the wind out of anyone’s cape, but that’s where the true value of mental fortuity comes in.
Take a moment each morning to center yourself and prepare for the challenges that lay ahead. For example, I like to enjoy a leisurely stretch in bed as I wake up every morning. I will wake, breathe deeply and slowly stretch my muscles, treating it is as a meditational ritual, and because of it, I find myself better able to cope with stresses and challenges throughout the day.
Mental and emotional strength only comes from a genuine sense of inner peace and calm. There are many great ways to develop mental strength, and lifting heavy at the gym is a perfect example of one of the many techniques!
Lifting heavy develops both mental and physical strength, because it requires a certain learned determination and mental fortitude to deadlift, squat or bench something that is heavy enough to max you out at low reps.
Look for other fun and effective ways to develop your mental strength, but the key is to not always take the easy path!
Take pride in the development of your mental strength, your resilience to hardship, and remember that it is challenge and resistance that force us to grow physically, mentally and emotionally.
Perhaps the single most important aspect of being a superhero is the ability to inspire hope in others, and what an incredible power that is!
Have you ever been feeling down and had a stranger smile at you or say or do something kind and completely unexpected? If you were receptive to it, that one simple gesture probably completely altered your mood and turned your day around.
That is just one small example of the tremendous effect you can have on those around you by simply being kind.
The truth is that the world is not short on negative, depressing people. Somewhere along the way, it became “cool” to be unenthusiastic, jaded and pessimistic, but can we all just agree that it’s time to let go of that ridiculous notion?
If you want to be a real-life superhero, the biggest step you can take to towards making that happen is to simply love your life, friends, family and fellow humans in a big and superhuman way.
Take every opportunity to support people, be kind, help them and make them feel loved and appreciated. These simple actions will turn you into a hero to all who encounter you.
If you exude happiness and enthusiasm, you will be stunned by just how much you inspire others and how much easier your own life becomes. You’ll have more energy and you’ll be able to lift more, run further and perform in ways you never knew.
You’ll feel a confidence and pride that shines on you like a big, red “S” on your chest, but remember, stress and negativity are your kryptonite and they will effectively halt the progress of your fitness journey, or any other endeavors you’re undertaking.
Let go of the stress and negative emotions and watch your progress and enjoyment of life rocket into the sky, faster than a speeding bullet.
Now I don’t know about you, but one of my biggest reasons for getting and staying fit is my desire to set a good example for my future children. Not only do I want to raise them to be intelligent and empowered individuals and show them the effective habits of leading a healthy and vibrant life, but more so than to anyone else, I want to be a superhero in the eyes of my family.
Maybe it’s silly, but that is one of the compelling visions I have that keeps me working hard every day and the value of such inspirations cannot be overstated. You can have a tremendous effect on children or even adults by the way you behave in front of them and by the kindness you show them.
Children and many adults are highly suggestable and when they are witness to a positive, empowered individual setting a good example, that one experience can have a profound effect on their lives. I mean, where would so many heroes have been without the guidance of a certain wheelchair-bound professor? Lead by example and you will inspire new generations of heroes.
Lastly, when you find yourself struggling with something, be it an emotional, mental or physical challenge, just ask yourself “what would (insert favorite superhero) do in this situation” and let it inspire you to be a little more of a real-life superhero
Unless the answer to the question is “eviscerate your enemy with metal claws and/or shoot them with a bazooka.” That’s totally illegal, so definitely don’t do that.
Jonathan Atterbury is the owner of New American Fitness.
His goal is to help redefine what it means to be an “average American”, by educating and encouraging people to be the healthiest, strongest, most proactive and potent individuals they can be.