I was giddy like a schoolgirl at a Justin Bieber concert when I went to see the movie ‘Man of Steel’ the other day. You see, I’m a big fan of Superman and this was the movie I’d been waiting for all year. (Thankfully, the film was great and I loved it.)
It also got me thinking about what we, as mortal humans, can learn from the life journey of Superman to help us become our own superhero. Clearly, I’m not suggesting that you go out and get yourself bitten by a radioactive spider or spend millions on a cool black suit with a utility belt to become a superhero; no, nothing like that.
What I’m suggesting is that there are many moral dilemmas which Superman faces that we can learn from.
Now, just to be clear, this list is about what we can learn from the 2013 Man of Steel version of Superman, not the morally dubious previous films.1
How you can become your own superhero:
- Understand that you are responsible for your actions, good or bad. Sometimes being responsible means that you don’t get involved in others’ affairs and you allow them their mistakes. Also, we need to recognize that sometimes doing the right thing means the outcome isn’t always in our favor and it may even be detrimental to our well-being.
- Being different can be hard and lonely but staying true to yourself is important. It’s better to be loved by a few people than sacrifice your integrity to be liked by many.
- Even though you may be exceptional at some things, still show humility to those around you who do not possess the same abilities.
- Sometimes it can take years to find out who you are. Don’t give up trying to be the best version of you that you can be.
- Adversity is something to be faced, not turned away from. There are times when life doesn’t seem fair and nothing is going your way, but these are growth moments when you discover your true strength of character. Face adversity straight on. Don’t cry “why me?,” but ask “what can I do to overcome?”
- People might not believe in you at first. That’s OK. Trust shouldn’t be freely given, but earned. Work hard, focus on your goals, and let your actions speak for you.
- Always stand up for the truth, even if the truth isn’t popular.
- Never take advantage of people weaker than you. That’s a dishonorable way to success. As a race we are only as strong as the weakest individual. Do what you can to care for them.
- Avoid your Kryptonite: whether it’s drugs, alcohol, food, work or anything else. We all have something that we have a weakness for. If you want to stay strong and healthy avoid your Kryptonite as if your life depends on it.
- Life doesn’t always turn out as planned. But that can be a good thing.
Now that you have the magic list to superhero status, go be great. Go be you. Because you are super, man (or woman!).
- Although I loved Christopher Reeve as Superman, there were way too many dubious lessons in those films. For example, in “Superman II” when Superman gave up his powers to be with Lois Lane, he got beaten up by a guy in a restaurant. Later when he got his powers back, Clark went back and beat up on the guy. Movie moral: it’s OK to get revenge, especially when the other person is weaker than you.
In “Superman III” it was fine to ignore the fact Superman caused a massive oil spill, which would have devastated so much sea life, just because he wasn’t ‘himself’ because he was affected by fake Kryptonite. Movie moral: People aren’t responsible for their actions if they’re under the influence of some substance or other.
In the last movie, “Superman Returns,” Lois Lane didn’t tell her husband that she was pregnant with Superman’s child before they got married. She just let him go on thinking he was the father and once Superman found out, he was also OK with that. Movie moral: deceiving somebody about being the father of your child is OK. [↩]