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Have you ever thought about how great would it be to have some of the superpowers superheroes have? What about their character traits? Imagine if you could simply choose and adopt any of them. In this somewhat unusual post, I will share with you couple traits that are the most interesting. Fortunately, our characters and personalities can be formed with a bit of effort and practice. At least that is what psychology and theory of growth mindset suggest.
If you will find any trait handy, consider giving it a shot and try to implement it. There is no reason why should not be like a superhero at least in some way. And, even if you are not interested in becoming a superhero, all the traits described in this article can make a huge difference in your life.
If there is one trait that the majority of superheroes have in common, it is self-belief. Without this trait, they would be hardly able to survive for a long time. It is this strong self-belief what helps all superheroes find a solution to any puzzle they have to find deal with. No matter how tough, strong or smart their opponents are, they always have to find some way to beat them. Failure is not an option for superheroes. In their case, if they fail it mostly means one thing … They will die.
If you think about it, entrepreneurship is very similar. Sure, there are some smaller and bigger differences. For example, instead of you being killed in case of failure, your business or brand can be destroyed or go bankrupt. Also, the majority of entrepreneurs don’t wear those colorful superhero outfits. That being said, you still have your own enemies you have to face and fight against in order to survive. They are called competitors. You also have your employees and customers. These people, especially your employees, are relying on you.
When something bad happen, you are the person these people will ask for help. It’s just like in Gotham. When there is a problem, city will ask Batman for help. You know, they will turn on that big reflector on the roof to give Batman a signal. Then, they have to wait until their superhero comes. Now imagine that Batman would have some kind of midlife crisis or inferiority syndrome. Gotham and all the people living there would be screwed. In some sense, it is the Batman who is holding the city together. Unfortunately, this has consequences. As Stan Lee said: ”With great power comes great responsibility.”
What I mean is that in the moment Batman accept this power, he also had to accept that responsibility. As a result, it is no loner possible for him to doubt himself or his abilities. He must be absolutely certain about himself. No matter how difficult his enemy may be, he must see himself as a winner, as a champion. You, as an entrepreneur, must adopt the same self-belief. If you want to succeed and make your dreams come true, you must develop unshakable belief in yourself. This is what every champion is made of.
When you will emanate such a self-belief miracles will start to happen. Soon or later, people will start to believe you and even in you. They will take everything you say as a done deal, no matter how insane it might be. They will also be willing to follow you and spread your message further. Think about some of the greatest entrepreneurs of this century … Individuals such as Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. It is well known that Steve Jobs was able to change how people around him perceived reality (search for reality distortion field).
For Jobs, nothing was impossible. Due to his charisma and self-belief, his employees soon adopted this opinion too. Thanks to psychological effect called self-fulfilling prophecy, Jobs’s many of these beliefs soon become true. What followed was that people started to believe Jobs with every next idea more and more. Today, you can see similar effect in action with Elon Musk as well. He too was able to build such a presence and credibility that no matter how big goal he will set for himself, there will be people who will immediately willing to help him or invest in him.
If you want an example, think about the Hyperloop project. Although there were people who questioned, there were also people who started to brainstorm ideas how to make it reality and even start companies.
How to adopt this trait
The short version … You have to practice. Here is how. First, you have to set bold, but realistic goals. I wrote little bit about the importance of having goals in 6 “What It Takes” Traits To Be Successful article. I will get back to this subject in the future with article dedicated solely to this topic. Until then, I would recommend you read Getting Things Done by David Allen and Goals! by Brian Tracy. I finished the second book just a few days ago and it was life changing! Filled with knowledge and instructions on how to put this knowledge immediately into action. Getting Things Done is on my books-to-read list.
Back to goals and self-belief … I would say that setting and achieving bold and realistic goals are key for building self-belief. Remember that it’s important to achieve them. When you reach a goal, go step further and set an even higher one. Remember, growth is uncomfortable. So, be willing to push yourself. Soon, you will see that with each step and each goal your self-belief will increase. Second step to increase your self-belief is to learn to see your accomplishments. In many case, lack of self-belief is a clear indication that person is beating herself for every mistake and also never praise herself for successes.
This attention focused only on the bad can slowly result in low self-esteem and fear of taking any risks whatsoever. To reverse this, you have to consciously work on identifying and acknowledging your strengths and achievements. Make it a practice to spend couple minutes every day thinking about your them. Doing so, you will slowly start to improve your self-image. Gradually, your self-belief will grow bigger and bigger. The last step to take your self-belief to superhero level is to stop comparing yourself to others.
Here is the thing. It doesn’t matter how good you are right now. There are more than seven billions of people in the world. So, you can bet you will always be able to find somebody who is better than you. Thus, comparing yourself to other people is a dead-end. It is a battle you will never win. So, embrace your strengths, find your weaknesses and work on them. Make self-development part of your daily routine and habit. Soon, self-belief will not be an issue anymore.
Another trait inherent to both, superheroes and entrepreneurs, is perseverance. Let’s be honest. Without this trait, many of the inventions we can use today would not exist. Also, many of the great comics could not be written. When you think about, it is perseverance what is the most attractive and catchiest part of almost every story. It is when our favorite hero has to go through some incredible struggle without giving up when we feel the most with him or her. The same thing applies to captivating biographies of real people as well.
Similarly to discipline, which we will discuss next, I think that everyone interested in entrepreneurship should work on his ability to persevere. When you will enter the world of serious business, there will be an infinite number of situations that will test your perseverance. That’s what the journey to success is all about. It was Winston Churchill (although not a superhero from comics) who said: ”Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Unlike any other professions, entrepreneurship is full of moments when you will want to throw in the towel and give up.
Unfortunately, history showed us many times that successful person is the one the most persistent. Great example of someone who is a perfect example of perseverance is Elon Musk. No matter what do you think about him, this guy proved many times that he is not afraid to undergo incredible challenges to reach his vision. After he and his colleagues sold Paypal, he immediately put all his money into his new high-risk ventures – Tesla Motors and SpaceX. He went so far he even had to borrow cash to pay rent and buy food. Still, he didn’t give up.
Some people would say that this is insane. For me, this is a great example of someone with a strong vision and willingness to do whatever it takes to reach it. When you think about it, many of the greatest entrepreneurs, and people in general, showed this ability. The most cited example of perseverance in action is probably Thomas Alva Edison. I will share with you three of his quotes. First: “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Second: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Third: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
How to adopt this trait
Here, I will repeat myself, but I will say it anyway. You have to set goals for yourself and then do your best to achieve them. I don’t know any better way to develop perseverance other than setting goals and achieving them. If you do, please let me know so we can share it with other people. Until then, this will be the only advice I can give you. Set a bold goal for yourself and stick to it like your life depends on it until you accomplish it. Then, set another one and another and another.
Another key superhero trait you should adopt is discipline. Which superhero would be the best example of this trait? I will give you two. First, will be Oliver Queen aka Arrow. Second, will be Bruce Wayne aka Batman. Especially Bruce is a superhero of intense will and self-discipline. Both of these characters have to go through life-threatening situations to developed this enormous discipline. One of the examples of their intense discipline and also work ethic is their training regime. Do you remember how Bruce Wayne started his day with push ups next to his bed and then moved to his gym (cave) to train? Oliver Queen? His workouts are close to legendary.
How to adopt this trait
If you are or want to be an entrepreneur, developing strong discipline and will be crucial for your success. You must be willing to work harder than anyone else. Enduring long hours of solitary labor might be necessary for you to get where you want to be and achieve your goals. Remember that the higher and bolder your goals are, the more discipline, will and work ethic will you need. So, if you are serious about it, I recommend that you start working on your discipline and work ethic as soon as possible. These two are keys to your success.
Unfortunately, there is no book that will help you here. You have to do it all by yourself. One way is to push yourself beyond what’s comfortable. Challenge and test yourself every time you can. You want to check twitter or Facebook? See how long can you resist that! You don’t want to train in the morning because you are not motivated? Do it anyway! You don’t want to go for a run because it’s raining outside? Do it anyway! Make cold showers part of your daily routine. Following these steps of exposing yourself to discomfort, you will soon be more disciplined than most people you know.
Sense for humor
This trait is one of the things I like in especially on Deadpool. There are other superheroes showing this trait as well, but Deadpool’s style is … Just unique. Anyway, why should you nourish a good amount of sense of humor? In a business and work, there will be a lot of moments when you will want to throw in the towel and give it up. There will also be moments when you will get angry and you will want to throw your chair through the window. Both of these situations can be rooted in various causes. One of your clients might be making your life a living hell with his extreme requests. Another one might refuse to pay you after completing the project.
It can also be someone from your family or friends who is constantly putting you under pressure. Be it this or that, you have many reasons to freak out. This is why this trait will be handy. When you will be able to take such situations with humor, quality of your life will get much better. You will be less stressed and your work will be much more pleasurable. In other words, when you will learn to respond to events with smile on your face, making money will be fun again. So, every time when shit will hit the fan, remind yourself this. No matter how bad it is, it will fade away anyway. So why should you stressed about it?
I’m still not so sure whether Deadpool was the best superhero for demonstrating this trait. So … You know what? Let me give you a better example. This is one character from the world of comics with really big dose of sense of humor. Joker enters the scene! Okay, Joker is not exactly superhero, rather a supervillain. However, it is the best character for demonstrating the power of humor in action. Meaning, just think about how many times Batman kicked his butt. How many times was Joker send to prison or madhouse?
If you take into consideration all the comics Joker appeared in and not just movies, you would need more than fingers on one hand. Maybe even two hands would not be enough. Getting your butt kicked so many times would discourage vast majority of people. Joker, on the other hand, was always somehow able to bounce back. Joker’s sense of humor might be a little bit extreme, especially in some moments. However, I still recommend that you take an example from him. By that, I don’t mean becoming mad. I also don’t want to suggest that you kick off a criminal career. Remember, it’s about becoming a superhero!
How to adopt this trait
What you can do is to try to look at events in your life rather from the brighter side than darker. This is not about being an optimist or pessimist. When you think about it objectively, without any assumptions, all events in our life are neither good nor bad. They are completely neutral. It is our perception that gives these events meaning. Whether you like what I just said or not, it is irrefutable truth. I will give you an example.
Let’s say that you are working on some project for your client. One day, you will open your mailbox and there will be one new message. It is from your client. It says that he no longer want to work with you. He also wants you to send him all the material he gave you for that project in two days. Then, he will pay you part of the money, for the time you spent the project. After that, your interaction will be terminated. In other words, you have just been fired through damned mail.
Now, let’s create two scenarios. In the first one, you have no other clients or project in reserve for next month. That means that, from now on, you have no income. However, you still have to pay your rent and other expenses such as food. Otherwise, you end up on the street and starve to death. Well, in this situation, you would probably perceive it as a bad event. In the second scenario, you have your own business project you were keeping on back burner because you were too busy to start it. You also have a decent amount of money to keep you afloat for couple months.
Since your work was unexpectedly closed terminated and you don’t have any other obligations either, you are free to finally focus on your business project. I hope this example was sufficient demonstration of how one event can be perceived and experienced from completely different angles when one or more variables will change. The easiest way to implement this superhero trait into your life just remind yourself to consider any event or situation at hand from different angles.
Before you will take any action or accepting any opinion, ask yourself if you would whether there is something you might not be seeing. In case you will not be able to find anything, just remember to take whatever happens with healthy dose of humor. Remember, it can always be worse.
The last trait I will present you with is unbounded opportunism. Meaning, just like a superhero, you should try to find an opportunity hidden in every event and every situation that happens in your life. Trust me with this. There is always some hidden opportunity you can either utilize or learn from. After taking into consideration entrepreneurial people I’ve met so far, this trait was present in all of them. These people were excellent demonstration of that proverbial phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Or, to use my favorite phrase, these people were able to find diamond in a pile of sh*t.
In other words, no matter how tough the situation was, they were always able to find an opportunity. This trait or ability is inherent to vast majority of superhero characters. You can often see in comics and movies how your favorite superhero hits the bottom. Sometimes, it may even look like he or she refuses to fight anymore. Luckily, there is always something or someone giving them enough power and stamina to turn the struggle into opportunity and bounce back. Think about Anthony Stark or Iron Man. He was close to death and ended up in a cave. Still, he was able to turn the situation around and find a way to learn from it. You should do the same thing.
How to adopt this trait
Follow advice given by Steve Jobs and stay foolish. Forget about being an optimist. Transform yourself into opportunist instead. Promise yourself that you will look for opportunity in everything, life will present you with. Do you remember the part about events and their naturally neutral state? Build upon that. Instead of looking at events black or white – good or bad – see them in shades of grey. See these events as opportunities life is giving you to help you move forward. This may seem insane, but I will give you a (somewhat) logical proof.
You probably heard that proverb “success lies outside your comfort zone.” Your comfort zone is a place when you feel safe and … Comfortably. There is no stress or worries. Unfortunately, there is also no growth and progress. In other words, there are no opportunities to get better. When you step outside this zone, everything changes in the blink of an eye. Forget about stability or certainty. You are constantly faced with challenges you have to cope with and conquer.
Let me unleash math geek hidden inside me and transfer the lines above to simple equations. Comfort + stagnation = no progress and no growth. Discomfort + movement = progress and growth. Simple and easy to understand. Now, let’s get back to events … When something happens (mostly bad), it will create a discomfort. You are forced to move and act. As I outlined in equation above, it is only through discomfort and movement (not necessarily physical) you can make progress, learn and grow your skills.
From math to simple syllogism … Bad events equal discomfort and movement. Discomfort and movement equals progress and growth. Therefore, bad events equals progress and growth. It is slightly modified version of the syllogism about Socrates: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
That being said, bad events will not automatically turn into opportunities for growth. You have to perceive them that way first. Otherwise, they can lead to stress, even depression, and crush you. In the beginning, you have to force yourself to this opportunity-seeking attitude. After some time filled with practice, it will become habit and you will be able to see opportunity everywhere.
Closing thoughts on superhero traits
You are in the end of the article. Did you find any superhero trait interesting? Or, even better, have you decided to adopt any of them? If yes, that’s great! Go ahead. Maybe, soon you will become a superhero by yourself. If not, I hope you at least enjoyed this unusual article. Honestly, I was afraid to post it. Even to the last minute I was still thinking about deleting it and starting from scratch with completely different topic, something closer to web design, development or business. However, I resisted and here you have it. By the way, who is your favorite superhero?
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