Category Archives: quality of life

What’s Your Superpower?

Superman_against_the_scientist's_weapon

I was having a casual conversation with a colleague one day when he spouted something rather profound. I was more than impressed with what he had surmised. He looked at my open mouth when he had finished and said, “You know, that’s my superpower, the ability to discern blah, blah, blah…”.

It doesn’t matter now what he said just then or what that superpower was; what I thought rather intriguing was that he had thought about it long enough, introspected and analyzed to come to a conclusion about what his superpower was.

Since then, having thought about it some, I have reached my own conclusion and that is that for an individual exploring their own superpower it can be good for their soul. In fact, I have developed a few theories about this topic.  

No matter their stage in life, every individual has been gifted or gained a number of inherent strengths.  Nature or nurture, it doesn’t really matter how they have secured these, just that they do have them.  Of all these strengths, I would say that a person’s “superpower”  is one among those that is exceptional and truly stands out from the others. It is one that has been life-changing or has the potential to be for that individual. 

In this context, “superpower” is defined as “excessive or superior power“.   Yours and mine.  🙂  Yes, I believe everyone has at least one.

Once you have thought hard to determine what your superpower is (let’s assume one superpower, for simplicity), I believe you will never, ever take it for granted. And when life throws you some curveballs, you will tend to intentionally bring it out and let it do its work.  That’s my theory anyway.  One I’ve yet to practice – mostly because I had never given a thought to what my superpower might be.

In fact, I doubt that most people think about it that much, leave alone introspect more deeply about it.  [Unless you’re a narcissist, in which case you obsess about it, and think that you and you alone have a zillion superpowers.  Let’s assume you’re not one of those].  If you’re “normal”  (and not a narcissist), you can easily go through life ignoring the superpower(s) you have. For one thing, it takes some serious introspection that most people do not indulge in.  And for some,  it can be downright uncomfortable to even think about this.  Plus, of course, everyone’s “too busy” living life, so where’s the time?  Ha.

I had to stop and force myself to think about it. Indeed, it was a deliberate and purposeful action. I listed what I deduced to be my strengths, trying to be as objective and honest as possible about them.  Then, I scratched out all that I would consider “normal powered” strengths.   I was left with a shortlist of three “above-normal” strengths that I then further analyzed until one stood out as distinctive and “life changing”. I’m rather embarrassed to admit what it was since it is so mundane and actually quite boring.  But it’s a superpower for me because it has truly been life-changing…and life-making.

I think you should try out this exercise for yourself.  It may just be for the heck of it but as you traverse life, and when you recognize what you have in your power – nay, in your superpower, I believe you will be intentional about using it for your benefit.  Especially when life gets in the way, as it sometimes does.

Just for grins, I conducted this exercise on myself to also understand what my anti-superpower was.  [There’s not an antonym for “superpower” that I could find]. And what an interesting ride that was!  Just as before, I had to stop, think and make a list – and this time, it’s one with all my weaknesses, my failings, my deficiencies.  I shouldn’t be surprised that this was a longer list! Then, I ranked these qualities until I got to the one that has probably been the most impactful and life-changing – in a very negative way.  That is my anti-superpower.  It pays to know this too.  Now, I can be very intentional about keeping it at bay!

Come to think of it, this latter exercise is just as useful as (if not more than) the previous one.

Try it out, why don’t you?   When you have a few moments of do-nothing time on your hands, play this game.  It’s really not for anyone but yourself.   Go ahead, discover that superpower of yours that you’ve always had – but never appreciated or cherished. Recognize that you have this superpower and pull it to the forefront to help you navigate life.  And while you’re at it, find your anti-superpower – that major barrier, blocker, impediment to your happiness/growth/success – so that you can just tell it to go away and hide somewhere in the background.

athlete-biceps-body-38630

 

 

Image Source:

By Fleischer Studios – File:Superman 1 The Mad Scientist 1941.ogv, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76043745

https://www.pexels.com/photo/blue-and-red-superman-print-tank-top-shirt-38630/

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From obsession to mad obsession

The self-imposed news embargo has been good for me in many ways.  It’s a nice balance. I still listen to the news during my daily commute – a little NPR is always good for the soul. 🙂  And I read the occasional news article – usually the NY Times.  But that’s where it begins and ends.

The news embargo is really all about TV and the endless 24×7 news cycle.  Sure, I like a little bit of Rachel Maddow now and a little bit of Anderson Cooper then but all of it has come to a screeching halt for me, by choice.  That’s  because a little bit of something good does not make up for a whole lot of endless talk on the crappy state of politics today.  And whoever wants to hear this ill-equipped President talk??!  Pardon me while I hold my nose in disgust.

This is a sampler of some of today’s news that I happily missed out on as it was being regurgitated on TV.  Did I say “happily”?  I meant it!

Sampler of News I Missed Out On - CNNInstead, I’ve switched my loyalties and am now getting more deeply immersed into streaming web content – of the fictional kind.  Turns out, I was really out-of-date and had years worth of catching-up on this content.  And it’s been a wonderful ride playing catch up!

What I’ve found so far is that it’s going to be hard to top Mad Men.  But then I got to Downton Abbey.  [It’s still hard to top bad boy Don Draper…].  And waiting in the wings to be watched, what else but The West Wing?  What a great substitute for reality that show will be…

Watching such well-produced shows, whenever I want to and for as long as I want to has been amazing and satisfying.  But it’s also easy to get addicted.  So, I have been forced to impose time limits on myself – no more than an hour a day. A couple of weeks ago, I had to travel across the world and when jet lag hit me in the middle of the night, guess what I resorted to?  I broke all my rules and limits.  But that was truly the exception.

And then when a really good series ends, one has to pause and celebrate it while also (literally) mourning the end of it.  It was much too sad to see Mad Men come to an end with such finality.  I felt like I had lost a limb for a couple of days there.   I am about to be at the midpoint of Downton Abbey (six seasons in all) and I am already projecting the loss of having watched it all.  It’s a good thing that there’s a movie coming out this Summer to help us lost souls.

All good things must come to an end and the end of each of these series often feels like the end of a fantastic journey.   Sadly,  the end also arrives sooner than expected or desired. It’s both compelling and entertaining to watch the drama of these fictional characters play out.  It’s certainly easier to bear than the drama created by the non-fictional characters of our time (which often eclipses theirs).  That’s what happens when you get a reality show “leader” to run your country…more ridiculous twits and twats.

One day when we have reestablished the norms of decency, civility, dignity and humanity into the highest office of this country (I can dream, can’t I?),  I will likely return to watching the daily news and opinions.  Until then, I will savor fiction in the form of this persuasive new age of storytelling with the most interesting and intriguing characters I have witnessed in a long time – on demand, as and when I wish it.  Can’t beat that.

Streaming Series SamplerHa! Just look at this sampler of glorious stories (and that’s without Game of Thrones). There’s no comparison on what option to spend your precious hour a day on, is there?  It’s altogether a different feeling when you see fictional characters develop and act out their parts, good and bad.  I’m all for focusing on their compelling stories instead – especially when talking about the bad characters. So much easier to tolerate when you know that it’s all fiction!

In today’s climate and with time being at such a premium,  I find that fiction easily trumps reality.

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