Hollywood 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.
The story of Superman becomes very boring without Kryptonite. A man who is super strong, fast, invulnerable, can fly and shoots lasers from his eyes is not a compelling story. His abilities make him unbeatable. So defeating evil-doers is not a matter of ability, it’s a matter of time. Without Kryptonite, Superman’s story becomes one of an interplanetary janitor who is here to clean up our biggest societal messes. A completely infallible hero is difficult to sell but exposing his Achilles heel makes him a star.
The recognition of Kryptonite as the fuel that drives the story of Superman is not just comic book pontificating. It is the realization of exactly what makes our own lives worth living. Our Kryptonite is death. It may seem like the enemy but it is the thing that makes the moments of our lives matter. Without death, time is an inexhaustible currency that has no value to us personally. Frittering away minutes, hours or even years would be meaningless to the person who will live forever. The intrigue is gone because there is nothing at stake. This is great news!
The time that you do have is a gift. It has value to both you and the people that you touch throughout your life. Don’t become crippled by the fact that you will die some day. Be empowered by the fuel that it can give you to live with purpose and passion. Your existence is only a drop in the ocean of eternity. Make that drop count! The fact that your Kryptonite is out there somewhere in the future makes you both: powerful and meaningful. You’ve got one shot at this . Go for it!
Have a SUPER day! (Yes! That was cheesy! But what the hell!)
At one point in history, the transition from Clark Kent into Superman was done in a phone booth. The changing room for the “man of steel” was a utility of the every man. People could feel their own association to this man with supernatural powers by simply making a phone call. Unfortunately times have changed. The phone booths have disappeared and so have our beliefs in the possibility of greatness for the common man.
In the modern day, the only small changing room available to Superman would be a Port-o-Potty. As depressing as this may seem, perhaps it is the perfect mental picture for the situation of the day. Our inclination is no longer to believe in the magnificent or the awe-inspiring. Instead we assume that everything is a sham, fraud or ripoff. Our hope has been sullied by too many people that sought to capture our dollars and not our hearts. A hero of today almost has to rise out of the refuse because we tend to assume that squeaky clean is too good to be true. Or worse, we cannot believe in our own possibility for greatness because we know where we come from.
Clark Kent, the phone booth or the port-o-potty are all just a prelude to the magnificent. In our cynical world, it’s easy to poke holes in anything and find what is wrong. The measure of the hero is not in his lack of faults. The hero is measured by how consistently he shows up and does what other people cannot or will not. So do not assume because your story is not perfect that it is not your time to be the hero. At bare minimum there is at least one person in this world that needs you to show up every day and do whatever you’re able. That person is you! You’re the hero that you’ve been waiting for!