Blogpost, self-reliance

Level Up Your Hero Game

We all have a hero living inside of ourselves. The question is not whether it is there. Almost always the question is the type of hero and when does they show up. A hero is defined as a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. We all have that possibility within us but not everyone is willing to live the hero life. Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up.

The Stillborn Hero – Just like everyone else, this person has greatness within them but either don’t know it or choose not to use it. These are the saddest people to meet because it’s plain to see that they have more inside. They just can’t or won’t access it.

The Reluctant Hero – This is the person who will only access that higher level of ability when it is forced upon them. They don’t want to do anything special because it’s too much of a hassle. When the circumstances are right, they’ll save the day but they’d rather be in their secret hideout with their sidekick relaxing.

The Self Aggrandizing Hero – Although they do some hero work, they make it sound much bigger than it is. Saving a kitten from a tree somehow gets translated into saving the world.

The Mercenary Hero – I’m not completely sure if this is where they belong on the scale. However these heroes have great abilities that people recognize and laud them for. Unfortunately they come with the understanding that they’ll get compensated for their hero work. They’re not a sucker. The skills that they have are not for free.

The Small Time Hero – This may be my favorite type of hero. Their contributions to the world are nothing spectacular but they consistently show up to do that which is required of them. They save the world one person at a time but do it in stride. They don’t think of themselves as heroes but they definitely are.

The Super Hero – This is the one that we tend to make movies about. While there are no supernatural abilities being thrown around, these are the people that we remember forever. They give something of themselves at such a level that they inspire other people to be a better version of themselves. They might get compensated for what they did but that’s not why they did it. They acted out of selflessness, patriotism, or any other noble cause.

All of these levels of hero have their flaws. Even the super hero in the real world has an addiction to chocolate or some other vice but they act as a hero enough for us to notice.

Each of us is on this spectrum someplace (or maybe I missed some in the middle). Regardless of where you stand at the moment, do your best to level up! There is nothing wrong with staying where you are but if you didn’t notice, the world is hurting at the moment. The world could use a few more heroes. It doesn’t need to be every moment of every day. You can do your hero work in fits and starts. Do it at times where no one expects it. So as you go through your day today, look for opportunities to HERO UP! They’re all around you. Don’t wait for a spotlight in the sky because that’s impractical. Keep your eyes open for the people who need your special skill because they are out there. Villains can take care of themselves, the heroes need to step up for one another.

HERO UP!

Pete

Blogpost

Facing The Super Villains

SuperVillainsMarvel and DC have been churning out movies for years now.  For many reasons, the Marvel Universe is leading the charge in this genre.  One of the main reasons is that they don’t just have the heroes face the obvious Super Villains.  They also continually show their heroes struggle with the more difficult Super Villains that are hiding within themselves.  Whether it is Tony Stark battling his own ego, need for control and alcoholism* or Captain America’s conflicting values of friendship with right and wrong; these are all battles that we as mere mortals can relate to.  So what do you do when the enemy that you must face resides within you?  Identify your foe.  This is usually the most difficult step.

It’s easy to identify an alien invasion through a wormhole in the sky above New York.  It’s a problem that needs immediate attention and the longer that you ignore it, the worse it gets.  Often the same is true of our internal Super Villains but since they reside within us, we excuse them or think that they’re the reason we got this far in the first place.  Regardless of the story that we tell ourselves, they are nevertheless an enemy.  And you’ll need to do battle.  Battling the villain inside is the more difficult and subtle battle.  Drop a nuclear bomb on that villain and the hero dies too which is not what we’re looking for at all.  So it requires deliberate thought and often daily work.  Some of these villains can be tamed but others must be destroyed.  So it is important to remember that you’re a starfish!

Of course I only mean this in the metaphorical sense.  In reality, starfish can regrow parts of their anatomy that are cut off.  In the practical sense for us, this is also true.  You can “cut off” a band habit, poor thought pattern or addiction BUT something is going to grow back in its place.  If you’re not deliberate about replacing it with something more constructive, the villain will come back and be stronger.  So as you are doing battle with those things that you want to change about yourself, have a plan to replace them.  None of this is easy but it is necessary to get you to the super hero status that you deserve.  And that is usually first battle that people have to fight, BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE SPECIAL IN SOME WAY AND DESERVE BETTER.  You won’t sprout wings tomorrow but maybe you can find another way to fly!

Suit up!  And fight the good fight!

Pete

 

Blogpost, self-reliance

Small Time Heroes

GrootMarvel and DC have had a long term duopoly on the Super Hero.  They’ve got teenagers bitten by radioactive spiders all the way to a billionaire orphan vigilante.  These characters have been cultural mainstays for decades with their popularity reaching a crescendo at the moment with big budget movies.  These heroes capture the imagination because of their exceptional abilities.  Each has their personal foibles but in the end the world depends on them to put things right in extreme situations.

There are two problems with the Super Hero though.  First, the world is very rarely in the kind of peril that requires Super Heroes.  Second, they’re not real!  Even the Super Heroes, with no super powers whatsoever, bend all kinds of rules of reality.  So if we don’t have those big problems and these individuals don’t exist, why are we so obsessed?

It is really quite simple.  Super Heroes are a distraction.  A way for us to be let off of the hook.  Since I’m not able to do anything EXTRAordinary, I only need to do the ordinary.  Being a hero is just too far out of reach because I don’t have a magical hammer, futuristic body armor or a utility belt.  It’s just me!  What can I do?

You can be a small time hero!  You just need to do a little more than the ordinary person and that by definition makes you EXTRAordinary.  Be a little kinder.  Be a little more resilient.  Be a little more intelligent.  Love your family a little more.  BUT what difference will that make?  Almost none.

UNTIL a few people around you catch on.  Then it has the possibility of developing super power.  Because small time heroes stacking up their little powers together becomes a force multiplier.  It’s not particularly easy!  Nor is it blockbuster movie worthy but it really is the only way.  Super Heroes are not coming!  The people in “power” generally worry about two things: keeping the power they have and leveraging it to their own ends.  So it is up to us, the small time heroes to save the world from………us!  Go suit up!

Have a great day!
Pete

 

 

self-reliance, Uncategorized

Mediocrity Man

lhvmarathon-e1497924664977.jpgHollywood is regularly churning out super hero movies and their sequels. At the moment they seem to be almost a sure thing at the box office. Iron Man, Spider Man, Batman and Captain America all seem to capture the imagination of the people as they pay big movie theater prices to see these super humans. It is obvious that “super” is what the people want to see.

What if there was a hero named Mediocrity Man? He had super powers that were inside of him but he was afraid of them. Any time that he saw himself do something out of the ordinary, he would instantly recoil and deny his abilities. Rather than keeping his secret identity from everyone else, he would hide or deny his powers to himself. What if Clark Kent never changed into Superman? Would you watch that movie? Of course not.

If this hero existed, why would he hide his powers? The reasons would be the same that you or I don’t do the things that would produce greatness.

  • It’s too hard.
  • It will take too long.
  • I might not succeed.
  • Or worse, I might succeed and the people would expect more out of me.
  • I don’t want people to make fun of me.
  • No one in my family, town, state or country has ever done it before, who am I to be first?

Imagine the Earth being filled with superheroes. What if people were getting most out of themselves every single day? What would that look like? I’ve been Mediocrity Man. I’ve traded in my cape for a t-shirt on a regular basis. Feeling comfortable in the cape is difficult because I know all of my faults, all of my weaknesses and every way that I have ever screwed up. The hero in the movie never falls for long. He gets his super powers and continues on until the world is safe again. For us regular heroes, it’s not a magic movie moment involving a radioactive spider or the destruction of Krypton that begins our ascent. It’s a consistent decision to be the best form of ourselves.

Uncategorized

“I Am Groot” Being Loud and Clear

GrootLast night I saw Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 with my son. (No spoilers, don’t worry!)  One of the central characters in the Guardians series is Groot.  He is a slightly simple-minded creature who can only say one thing “I am Groot”.  Luckily his partner, Rocket, is extremely adept at understanding and deciphering his message.  While Groot is often the star of the show, Rocket makes him accessible to everyone.

Although we are speaking the same language, the words that are said and the way that they are interpreted are two different things.  Relationships depend heavily on language (both spoken and unspoken).  If you want to be understood in any relationship, seek first to understand.  Most of us are trying so hard to get our message out, that we forget to put the receivers up.  Better listening (and reading of body language) can make you a more effective communicator.

It’s fine to say “I am Groot” if you’re talking to Rocket.  The problem comes when someone else needs to understand.  Then it’s on you to be clear.  No one will be as invested in your message as you are.  So put the effort into becoming a better messenger, rather than turning up the volume on your message.

Pete