I’d always like to think that the adventure of Spider-Man and Batman inspires us to cope with adversity. We love superhero stories because they show the exact moment when a normal guy goes from being ordinary, just like us, to being extraordinary. Somehow better, faster, and stronger.
Through conversations at conventions, seminars, or even daily conversations, I found that people in general have been remarkably candid about their lives and the inspiration they draw from superheroes.
What’s more interesting is that I’ve found that superheroes undergo three types of life-altering experiences that we can all relate to.
The first is trauma. In real life, many people experience what we call ‘stress-induced growth’ after a trauma and resolve to help others. That’s when we consciously start doing good. Feeding the hungry, rescuing an estranged cat, small deeds that make a huge impact without us even knowing it.
The second is destiny. Think about how a normal teenager who suddenly discovers he’s the “Chosen One”, bestowed supernatural powers to fight evil. In the beginning, he is reluctant to accept his destiny, but eventually he does. Many of us identify with his challenges of assuming a great responsibility that compels him or even forces him to grow up sooner than he wants to.
Lastly, there’s sheer chance, which transformed a young Spider-Man, who was using his power for selfish purposes until his beloved uncle was murdered by a street thug. Spider-Man’s heroism is an example of how random adverse events cause many of us to take stock of our lives and choose a different path.
Superheroes stories always at its best, inspires us and provide models of coping with adversity, finding meaning in loss and trauma, discovering our strengths and using them for good purpose.
A worthwhile question would be why can’t that superhero we’re all waiting for be ourselves?