Superheroes have long been my fascination—as a child, that’s who I always wanted to grow up to be.
Ever since I tied one of my Mom’s new towels around my neck and jumped off a dining room chair I’ve wanted to escape human limitations and to have extraordinary powers.
My dream as a superhero was to . . .
. . . fly high over the city . . .
. . . use my X-ray vision to see through walls . . .
. . . swing on a cable between skyscrapers
. . . crawl straight up buildings with my hands on the flat surface. . .
. . . sweep down on bad guys to a cheering, applauding and admiring crowd.
All the superheroes fascinated me . . . . Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Batman and Robin in their Batmobile. They’ve represented to me that ability to lift myself up out of limitations.
Superhero Fascination in Scientific Research
Superhero fascination runs deep. In a recent article in Psychology Today entitled Why are We Fascinated by Superheroes?, a study is cited by Kyoto University in Japan where pictures of superheroes were shown to infants who responded to them even before they had heard the stories. Superhero fascination is apparently embedded into a vision of ourselves.
And I actually did a study of my own with my most important opinion base to learn if young people today still respond to superheroes. I asked two of my grandchildren (quite a large study group) and they assured me that growing up they had always admired Spiderman and Wonder Woman— with that I consider the case proven.
When Our Inner Superhero Gets Grounded
The coordinated effort to show you that you’re not a superhero begins early.
My first effort to be a superhero with my Mom’s towel tied around my neck turned out to backfire when I hit the floor and tore the towel, and our rickety kitchen chair broke under the weight of my jump.
My Mom made it very plain to me that I was not only not a superhero, but I was confined to my room as a misbehaving child.
I soon put my superman outfit in the drawer and opted for waiting for the next mountain to climb. There was a barrage of assaults on my early superhero-ness: There was school, career, and the struggle of life, and even if I did well at these things, it was never enough.
I looked to others to be the superheroes—celebrities, scientists, the uber-rich, the saints. I was not a superhero—I was an also ran, somewhere in the middle of a very large crowd of the others.
Becoming Your Own Superhero
Somewhere along the way I began to believe in myself and that, while I might never leap over a building, I had super powers in me that were yet to be discovered. I found that I could have a vision of who I wanted to be—that I could be my own Superhero.
I found that the superheroes I admired still struggled to learn to fly just like me. The richest men in the world had families and lives ripped apart and that if you achieved greatness like Dr. Anthony Fauci, there would be people who would still want to put you in jail.
At first being my own superhero seemed not only counterintuitive, but downright weird. I though the idea was pathologically egotistical, but who else but a Superhero could have the ability to serve others and be an example? I told myself, If I don’t take the job of being my own superhero, I doubt anyone else will.
Here are some reasons you should be your own Superhero.
- Learning to fly in life takes time, but you can still get there. It isn’t instantaneous. You are the only person around long enough to teach yourself how to fly—to care, to serve, to learn, and to take the risk of doing something great but difficult.
- You are the person who cares most about you—you are your best Superhero. There are many people who care about you, but you are the only person who is truly invested in being the best person you can be.
- You have super powers that no one else has. There is no one else in the world like you, with your unique personality and style, with your experience and insights. If you don’t be your own superhero, nobody else can do what you do.
- You are the only super hero who can save the day. You have no idea of the number of people around you who are depending on you. As you grow and learn, there are many others you’ll be able to serve and support. There are situations that will arise that only you can save.
Becoming your own superhero will suddenly change your whole world and the way you think about things. It turns out to be a process not an event. You have to see yourself in a different way, nurturing abilities you never knew you had and developing the discipline of an Olympic athlete in order to do so. Seeing yourself as your own superhero turns the way you look at life on its head, and takes you to a level of believing in yourself as unstoppable, the person who can save the day.