Are You Wasting Your Superpowers?

What would you do if you suddenly discovered you had superpowers?

It starts as ordinary Tuesday morning.  You tumble out of bed half asleep, you spill your coffee while rushing out of the house, and, the neighbors sprinkler blasts you in the face as soon as you step outside.  You are dreading another day at work, especially today because it’s Tuesday.  Everybody hates Tuesday.

Then all of the sudden you are bitten by a radioactive spider at the bus stop, or you find a magical green lantern in the back seat of your car.  From that moment on you have superpowers!

You ditch the bus and swing through the avenues on strands of spiderweb, or you fly to work with your newfound lantern powers.  Actually, screw work.  Who needs cubicles and meetings when you have superpowers?   You go searching for adventure instead.

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You Have the Power!

Here’s the twist.  Later you find out that it wasn’t the radioactive spider or magical lantern that gave you those powers.  You had them all along, but you were just too afraid to use them until now.  How would you feel?  Foolish and regretful would be an understatement.  You had these powers your entire life!  On some level you knew it, but fear kept you from exploring them.

I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. – The Matrix

Well, you DO have superpowers.  You’ve always had them.  They are the unique combination of talents, abilities, and characteristics that make you special.  They set you apart from everyone else.  The only problem is most people are too afraid to use them.  Using your powers means being different, standing out and being noticed.  Most people would rather live empty lives than stand out.

It’s not always their fault.  They were conditioned to conform from a young age.  Get good grades, go to college, get a steady job–something involving tax work is always a safe choice–join the country club, play golf.  Sound fun?  If so, great for you!  If not, keep reading…

Unleash the Superhero within

I think superheroes are metaphors for ordinary people who decide to embrace their unique skills and make a difference in the world.  There are so few superheroes because so few of us ever achieve our true potential.

There’s one final twist.  Now that you have these powers, you’re told you only have one year left to live.  What would you do?  I bet you would choose to use these powers to their highest potential.  You would paint the world and make as big an impact as possible.  You would have as much fun as possible too!

That last part about having a year to live may sound a little extreme, but it’s a perfect analogy for life.  We all have limited time.  We all meet the same fate eventually.  And we all have talents to share with the world.  Embracing this truth is a good thing.  It liberates us to do what truly matters.

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With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

As Uncle Ben says to Peter Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  You already have great power.  It is your responsibility to share your talents with the world.  That’s the price of power.  But you are also the most fulfilled when you use your talents and make your mark on the world.

What are your superpowers?

Those who decide to use their superpowers are the ones who change the world.  Many are the entrepreneurs, artists, leaders, and athletes we always read about.  Others live more anonymous, but no less amazing, lives.

You already have superpowers.  If you are unhappy with your life, it is because you are afraid to use them.

Superheroes are real.  Are you ready to become one?

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The War on Comfort: How Your Survival Instincts Are Sabotaging Your Success

For the first time in history we find ourselves at a place where living a long, comfortable life is a foregone conclusion.  Even the poor in this country have most of their basic needs met.  (I’m talking about the overwhelming majority of people.  I know it’s not true for everyone.)  Instead of focusing on survival, we face a new frontier where the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment becomes a necessity.

Why most people settle for a comfortable life

Once you reach the point where you have a steady job and stable income, you settle into a comfortable life.  You have free time, hobbies, you get to take trips, go out to dinner, etc.  Your survival instinct tells you not to jeopardize this.  You are safe.  Things are stable.  The conditions are right for you to settle down–find a wife, have kids, save for retirement—in survival terms, stay alive so you can perpetuate the species.  Reproduction is the highest goal of the primal brain, the lizard brain.  This is how all animals, including human beings, are hardwired.

If you “risk” your comfortable existence, you might lose the stability and put your survival in jeopardy.  That is what the primal brain is telling you.  It’s why you feel fear when when taking a step into the unknown.

What will people think?

You also feel fear because people are social beings.  We survived the millennia because we banded together to form families and tribes.  If you go off on your own and do something different, you will shake up the order of things.  You will stand out.  You might not be welcomed back into the tribe.  You won’t be one of the herd anymore. At least, that’s what fear is telling you.  The reality is much less extreme.

What’s the worst that can happen?

So what’s the worst that will happen if you do something unique with your life–start a business, make your art, say something important?   Somehow I doubt you will starve.  You may have to keep your job for a while longer or move back with your parents for a brief period.  That’s about it.

People always fear the worst but the worst rarely means your life is in jeopardy.  The successful people who had their worst fears realized along the way–going bankrupt, having a failed business, running out of money–are usually grateful for having gone through that tough time.  They learned, became wiser, and moved on.

Thankfully the worst no longer involves you as dinner for a pack of hungry cheetahs.  The worst is rarely as bad as we fear.  And it is oddly liberating should we ever be blessed enough to endure it.

The secret of the successful few

For most of history, happiness was not a priority.  Survival and reproduction were the main drives.  But being comfortable does not equate to being happy.  There’s a battle happening inside your head.  The reptilian brain is afraid to risk comfort and stability, but the conscious brain wants more.

The people who live truly extraordinary lives and enjoy wild success are the ones who are willing to risk momentary comfort in order to achieve more.  They don’t cling to the first mediocre opportunity that they stumble upon.  They believe they have the power to shape their lives and the world.  They are willing to risk it all in order to get there.

The truth is we are all naked before the world.  Our time is limited.  The successful ones are the people who understand this and set out to do something amazing with the limited time they have.

Are you willing to risk your comfortable lifestyle for a short period of time in order to live an extraordinary life?

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