What do you call Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man?
What makes someone a Superhero?
Because they all have a super power. Superman can fly, Spider-Man can do whatever a spider can: climb up walls, above-average agility, and spider sense. These are their superpowers. What is Batman’s superpower? Intelligence? Innovation? As my batmanologist friend pointed out, his super power is his extra-human, uncanny amount of willpower.
Oh, how excited we get over tales of superheroes suddenly discovering they have some special ability. Because there’s something in us that would LOVE to have that level of significance, to stand out in society, to do something as exciting and adventurous as using an extra-human ability like flying. We love to see those superheroes go all out in using their special talent to the best of their ability, and for the greater good, even if it means sacrificing their careers, money, relationships, reputation, and sometimes their very lives. It’s what makes them heroes. And also what keeps them from being labeled supervillains, ie, those who use their super powers/special talents in a selfish way. But there’s also a barrier between us and them, us and superheroes. We secretly wish we could fly, or that we were the kid who is surprised to find out he is the Chosen One, but we know that will never happen, that it’s impossible. So we just leave that excitement as imagination and eventually move on to everyday life, with that yearning unfulfilled.
But Batman removes that barrier from us. Batman doesn’t have some super power that the average person can never have. Batman shows us that any one of us can be a superhero. What an EXCITING and equally terrifying revelation that is!!! How many of us have an inner-longing to be a superhero, but also, secretly, cling to that barrier, resting in the impossibility of us having that kind of responsibility?
But for those of us who want it, want to be a superhero, I have good news for you. It’s there, just waiting for you to take it. How many other people in the world have an uncanny amount of will power, the same amount that made Batman one of the most famous superheroes ever? Or what about the people who have an above average intelligence or wisdom or innovation or creativity? Couldn’t they become superheroes just as well as Bruce Wayne?
Look at the superheroes who don’t wear masks and capes: Mother Teresa, Tony Robbins, Billy Graham, Paul McCartney. People who became internationally-recognized for a unique gift or an uncanny amount of it. They each have their super power that made them a superhero. Mother Teresa (sacrificial servitude), Tony Robbins (positive communication of psychological improvement), Billy Graham (powerful oration and conviction), Paul McCartney (ability to come up with catchy melodies). All of these people were given super powers, super powers that had to be awakened and cultivated to their peaks. But just having a super power isn’t what made them superheroes. Peter Parker could have climbed up buildings all day and never have become Spider-Man, never transitioned to being a superhero. It’s when a person chooses to take their super power, this special thing that other people don’t have, to do what other people can’t do, and contribute that unique thing to mankind for the greater good of the world.
Oh, how our imagination longs for reality in the tale of the boy discovering his super power. How exciting! But how infinitely more exciting is it to realize that all of us are that boy! All of us have that superpower that no one else has, if we could only realize it, as the superheroes before us have. And how exciting once we ourselves start doing the very things superheroes do in the comics: using that sure-fire super power as often as we can for the greater good. What an exciting, adventure of a lifetime this will be!
I believe every single person on Earth has a super power. Some have already realized it. Some are using it to its maximum potential already, while others are still trying to figure it out and cultivate it, like Jean Grey of X-men. Every single person has at least one thing they are potentially better at than anyone else they know, one specific thing they can contribute to humanity better than anyone they know. Because every single person is a unique combination of nature and nurture. It’s just science. No two people will have the same strengths and weaknesses in the same way, or the same combination of different strengths. When this unique combination of strengths is combined, it becomes a greater, more specific, focused strength than the original strengths divided.
Like my batmanologist friend; he is better at martial arts than anyone else I know (my sphere of influence being around 300 people), but he surely isn’t the best at martial arts of anyone HE knows. So in my sphere he has a super power, but in his sphere he might not see it as such. Though at our church, our mutual sphere, among those people he might stand out as having a super power in this area. So he has the potential of becoming like a superhero in that setting. But ALSO he’s more nurturing and empathetic than any other man I know, though he might not be the most empathetic man HE knows. But combine both of these unique traits/talents (martial arts and empathy) and it’s very rare that in either of our spheres there is one person with both those super powers. How do these 2 powerful traits (seemingly at odds) which are unique to him combine in a way that is even more unique and focused into a greater strength than the powers divided? However powerful he already is with his two super powers, when he figures out how to combine them into one greater, more unique, more laser-focused super power he’ll be even MORE unique and powerful. Like on a global level. All his nature and nurture focuses into one point: his Super Power, the Pinnacle, the Summum Bonum.
Uniqueness is what makes a super power super. Superman wouldn’t be a superhero on Krypton, but he is one on Earth, because no one else can fly. Batman is a superhero because he applies the abilities common to man in a way that is uncommon to man. If you can see a way that your Super Power can contribute to society, then there is a need for you to use it to do so.
This makes life more exciting doesn’t it? When you realize you are special. And that uniqueness is a great strength. Something so great it can be, and rightfully SHOULD be, seen as a super power. And if you did see it as a super power then maybe you would see yourself as a superhero, just as much as Batman. And if you started treating yourself as a superhero with a super power, then maybe you would feel the gravity of your responsibility to help the world in a way no one else can, and aspire to the same standards as Batman or Tony Robbins.
“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Uncle Ben, Spider-Man’s hero
If I had a super power like flying, you better believe I would use that super power every chance I got. And I would be 100% confident that every time I step off a building I could use it. How fun to use your gift, but even better, how fulfilling it is to use it for a greater purpose beyond yourself. With great power comes great responsibility, but having that responsibility is more fun and rewarding than not having it.
Just like Superman, who knows full well that every time he jumps off a building he can fly, every time I have applied my superpowers they have super results. How exciting and comforting it is to know in full, 100% confidence that I have a talent which is sure to have super results every single time I use it. Even if your talent isn’t one that you can see instant results from with your eyes, you know for a fact that the people around you notice it and are impacted by your talent and the results are growing in them.
What extraordinary ability do I have that the majority of people I know don’t exhibit?
What things do I do which almost always have a powerful, sure-fire effect and positive result?
What thing in my life do I constantly get positive feedback on from people?
What ability might be locked away in me somewhere just waiting to be opened and cultivated into an extraordinary ability, a super power?
What different strengths do I have which might be combined into a single, greater power?
And what is your superhero name? Spider-Man? Pheonix? Neo? Air Jordan? milesprowers?
Superman: flight, speed, strength
Spider-Man: spider sense, agility, wall-climbing
Batman: willpower, intelligence, innovation, mechanically-inclined
[your super hero name here]: [your super power here]