“You’re much stronger than you think you are. Trust me.” – Superman
It’s no great secret that I possess some “nerdish” tendencies. Of relevance to this discussion, however, is only my love of comic books… and superheroes.
My favorite superhero is Superman. I know, I know, such an obvious choice! But, hear me out… See, it’s NOT about the powers. It’s NOT the strength, the flying, the heat vision, etc. It’s Superman’s HUMANITY (yes, in spite of the fact that he’s Kryptonian) that draws me in. Imagine for a minute Superman was a real person. Physically he’s good to go; but what does he have to deal with mentally and emotionally? He’s the most powerful person in the world, and yet he can’t be everywhere at once; he can’t save EVERYONE. What unofficial demands has society placed on him? “Why didn’t Superman save MY [insert family member]?! Too busy that day?!” Does Superman have PTSD? You can see bits of this struggle in the movies and how various actors set out to portray the role.
“What makes Superman a hero is not that he has power, but that he has the wisdom and the maturity to use the power wisely.” – Christopher Reeve
“My version of Superman is essentially of a guy who has spent his whole life alone.” – Henry Cavill
Superman’s humanity makes him the ultimate tragic hero.
It is the different aspects of our HUMANITY – our problems, our struggles, our compassion, our perseverance, etc. – that is OUR power. We might not have SUPERpowers, but that doesn’t make us powerless. We might not be SUPERheroes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be heroes. It doesn’t mean we aren’t already.
You might not feel like a hero when you…
- prioritize your family’s health by cooking at home instead of going out.
- come into gym before the kids are up so you can be home in time to put them on the bus.
- set a PR on a lift or get a new movement/skill.
- push hard just to finish a workout, especially after a long, full day at work.
- show dedication and consistent effort in family, work, and personal time.
But to someone you are. Someone is amazed you find the time to eat healthy and provide healthy food for your family. Someone is astonished at the physical feats you accomplish daily in the gym. Someone is inspired by your ability to keep pushing and striving to improve yourself in various aspects of your life.
It’s so easy in our line of work to focus on physical accomplishments. I am equally impressed by the member who gets their first Pull Up or runs their first 400 meters non-stop as I am by the member who hits a 225# Snatch. But even more than that, I am inspired by the effort and dedication it takes for either of them to do so. To strive, and fail, and strive again. To overcome. It’s not about the specific task.
So, by all means, stay humble, hungry, and happy. But know that someone somewhere is inspired by you and your effort. We all lift each other up.
PS. This is a real photo from a Five Alarm member, and I think it’s the greatest thing ever, and not because of the physical ability stuff.