Halloween and Superpowers
When we were kids, my sister and I would be glued to the television any time Power Rangers would come on. We were absolutely obsessed with that show and couldn’t comprehend why it didn’t play on every channel, 24/7. We role played a lot: I was the Green Ranger (I frequently whistled the dragonzord dagger call), and she was the Pink Ranger. We speculated often about what’ll happen in the next episode (it wasn’t hard to figure out since the plot was always the same), and we often would bust out out a “Morphin’ Time!” [caption id=”attachment_212” align=”aligncenter” width=”300” caption=”Power Rangers”][/caption] Those were the days… Looking back at that experience, what amused us the most wasn’t the multi-colored spandexes nor the biker helmets—it was the concept of superpowers that caught our imagination. Here were six normal folks that functioned in society the same way you and I would, but when they would morph, they would transform into superheroes—people capable of doing things that an average person cannot do. This concept impressed upon us the idea that possessing such traits can potentially change the world for the better (assuming we’re talking about a good guy, of course). This fascination even extended beyond Power Rangers. We idolized Marvel superheroes, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat characters, dinosaurs (I know they’re not superheroes, but we frikin’ love dinosaurs!), etc. Powers such as superhuman strength/intelligence, x-ray vision, spirit balls; these were all intriguing to our imaginative, overloaded-with-sugar minds. Like a lot of other kids, we believed that one day we too will discover our superpower. However, as the years progressed, and learned a bit of something called science, reality hit us hard. We gradually came to the realization that what we were seeking would never be found. We thought to ourselves, “it’s impossible…” Just yesterday while debating if I should dress up for Halloween, I wondered: “do I still believe in superpowers?” In the fictional sense of the word, I hold firm to the belief that superpowers illustrated in TV, games, and comic books are impossible (with a confidence level of 99.99%—left 0.01% to save me from the embarrassment in case someone proves me wrong). However, if we define superpowers as the uncanny ability of a person to achieve a seemingly impossible task, I would say absolutely; I believe in superpowers with 100% certainty. Although real-life superpowers don’t consist of 3 minute upward flying kicks, they seem to share some similarities to the superpowers we all admire in science fiction—they defy what seems impossible. The fortunate few who possess such powers are admired and idolized by many. Their range of influence extends throughout the globe; we read about them in the news, we hear about them on the radio, we watch them on TV, and we even see them in real life! So, who are they? Modern superheroes are the “self-made” men and women of society, they are the non-conformists: leaders, entrepreneurs, scholars—people who stand for what they believe in. They are in constant motion and they direct their future with the same skill a world-class captain of a vessel would. They excel in hardships and shine in any condition, no matter how out of their control those conditions may be. Looking at their status may be intimidating to some and it can easily be deduced that these people are simply “born that way.” But is this necessarily the case? What if we entertain the converse—that superpowers are made through time—and suppose that there is an underlying perceptual framework shared amongst these heroes. Can we draw the conclusion that anyone who adapts this framework can achieve superpower-dom? Intuitively, the answer would be yes; however, the question becomes: what is this framework? And how can it be adapted? I believe the answer lies in a little something called personal development. In our own unique way, we all possess superpowers. For some, they lie dormant awaiting to be woken up, for others, they are effortlessly expressed. In the same way that a superhero must train to maximize his/her powers, we too must train to maximize, and sometimes discover, our powers. It doesn’t mean we should start bench pressing 2 tons or start training in a hyperbolic time chamber, instead, we need to train ourselves through personal development. The image of personal development has been degraded over the years. What comes to mind when the word “personal development” or “self-help” is heard is typically the image of a person (usually a stranger) telling you what to do, giving you generalized—sometimes impractical/inapplicable—step-by-step ways on how to achieve success and happiness in life. For this reason alone, many people have been deterred to muster up even a tad bit of interest in the field. Despite the current image of personal development, there are still invaluable bits of information that can be used to achieve a superhero life. Personal development encourages self-knowledge, reflection, and awareness which can contribute as measures for quantifying how far one is from the direction they want to go towards. Am I almost there? Or am I light-years away from my goal? Simple questions such as these can significantly bring a person closer towards achieving their goals. Although step-by-step details of how to get there may not be available, self-awareness can at least tell you if you’re moving away or towards that destination. So why even bother becoming a superhero? I think it’s the same exact reason why we dress up for Halloween—because we all in some way want to be like them.