What Makes A Hero? 5 Steps to Become a Real-Life Superhero

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If you’ve ever wished you could become a superhero you don’t need to worry because you already are one, even if you don’t know it yet. To realize the full heroic potential within you just need some help to know what makes a hero.

These are the five keys to becoming a real-life superhero:

  • Help other people
  • Find your superpowers (they already exist!)
  • Train
  • Get a super suit
  • Find your assistant

“Anyone can wear the mask.” 

– Miles Morales, Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse

“We can be heroes.” 

– David Bowie

Let’s jump right into these ways to become a superhero so you can start saving the world today!

1. Every Time You Help Others, You Are a Superhero

“That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.”

– Stan Lee

There will come a point in your life, as has with every great and impactful historical figure in the history of the world, that you cannot progress any further without putting your focus solely on helping other people.

This is the single most important quality of a real-life superhero.

You might not save the entire world all at once, but you don’t have to. The very best way that you can save the world is by saving those that you are in direct contact with.

Dieter Uchtdorf shares an experience of a group of men who were trying to lift and move a piano. The awkward shape of the piano made it hard for them to pick it up. The heavy instrument remained in place until one of them made the following suggestion:

“Stand close together and lift where you stand.”

You cannot lift the weight of the world’s problems alone. Nobody can. But you can lift where you stand. That’s wherever you’re physically located but also wherever you’re strong, which we’ll get to in a moment.

If you and I and everybody else lift where we are, focusing on the needs of those in the closest contact with us, we can change the world. 

Save the world by saving your world and you will become a superhero immediately. 

But you’ll need to know where you’re strongest to be able to lift there, and that’s where your superpowers come in.

2. Find Your Superpowers

“Having a superpower has nothing to do with the ability to fly or jump, or superhuman strength. The truest superpowers are the ones we all possess: willpower, integrity, and most importantly, courage.”

– Jason Reynolds, author and creator of the Miles Morales Spiderman

Like Harry Potter’s magic, or the knowledge Iron Man had to build a suit of armor, you already have superpowers, even if you don’t know it yet. 

You have a unique combination of qualities, traits, character attributes, and a personality that is unlike anyone else that has ever lived or will ever live. 

Finding Your Superpowers Today

You are special, and you do have superpowers. All you have to do is discover them, and you can, right now. Here’s how:

  1. Make a quick list of the five people that you are closest to.
  2. Ask them to share with you what they think your strengths and talents are.
  3. Compile a list from all the answers, and sort the list with the most common answers at the top.
  4. Add your own ideas to the list.
  5. Next to each item on your list, write specific actions you can take that will grow your strengths.
  6. Keep the list in a place that you can refer back to it daily. Speak affirmations to yourself based on these strengths and you will grow them.

I know these steps work because I’ve done them. And I also know that you might be skeptical of whether or not this works because I was skeptical too when I first did it.

You Owe It to the World to Know Your Strengths

I used to worry, as you might now be doing, that knowing and playing to my strengths would be conceited or make me miss out on improving my weaknesses. 

But I’ve since learned that the opposite is true. It helps you overcome your weaknesses faster and helps you remember that others have strengths too.

And you owe it to yourself and to the rest of the world to push through these and any other worries so you can realize your full heroic potential. Here’s why:

The most important part of recognizing your powers is that the world needs your unique abilities to grow and become better.

You are the only person who can affect certain individuals in just the way they need, at just the right time.

You are the hero that the people closest to you need and deserve. You’re here with them for a reason, and that’s to make their lives better with your skills. Believe it and live it, for it’s true and their success depends on it.

However, just because you have skills doesn’t mean you don’t have to figure out how to use them wisely. To develop your strengths into full-on superpowers, you have to train.

3. Training

“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” 

– Mahatma Gandhi

This isn’t going to be like you see it in the movies where they suddenly experience a magical transformation and gain the ability to control their powers. In fact, quite the opposite. 

That doesn’t mean it won’t be fun though. Just consider how great you feel when you’re doing the things that you’re best at! 

In her life-changing book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth explores this false idea we all have that all the greatest people throughout history were inherently talented and that’s all it took for them to be great at what they do.

It appears to us that they just picked up a basketball, or golf club, or keyboard and were already great. Take Michael Jordan for example, who was cut from the Varsity basketball team when he was a Sophomore and had to work like crazy to become an NBA champion.

That failure led him to practice harder than everybody else. It was his practice that got him to where he was, not just his talent alone.

Duckworth explains that achievement comes in following equation:

(Talent x effort) x effort = achievement

This doesn’t mean you have to put in 2x the effort, it means that effort counts double for success than talent

Now, remember your list of superpowers? This is where you can use it to grow to reach your full superhero potential. With this in mind, here’s a modified version of Duckworth’s equation:

(Superpowers x effort) x effort = achievement

You might be thinking something like “that’s inspiring, but how do I put in the right effort? Well, let me show you.

How to Train Effectively

In addition to teaching the power of effort, Duckworth also dives into how to practice best. Here are a few simple rules to follow, based on what she learned from studying experts on practice and world-class performers in chess, swimming, and more:

  1. Isolate individual skills that you want to improve. Let’s say that one of your strengths is playing the piano. You want to get better all around, but doing so requires knowledge of sight-reading, confidence to play in front of others, and the ability to move your fingers correctly, among other things. Find which one of these you want to work on the most and focus on it first. Only practice until that individual piece is perfect.
  2. Make a plan to work on the skill you isolated. Each day as you practice, repeatedly do something that is just outside of your comfort zone. Some Olympic swimmers, for instance, have tried to push themselves to finish laps just one second faster each day.
  3. Get a coach. This isn’t always an option because it can be expensive, but you can learn by reading books, watching videos, or talking with people around you who are experts at that thing.

Remember that training different skills may require a different approach. If you’re a people person and want to keep improving that, you might need to think a little harder to come up with a training plan, for example.

As you practice, though, you’ll find that your superpowers will grow stronger, and with that so will your ability to impact the lives of others for good.

4. Get Your Own Super Suit

“Do your clothes make you feel happy, beautiful, comfortable in your skin, handsome, confident, or powerful?”

– Susan C. Young

In Middle School, when I was about 13 years old, I remember every Tuesday was “dress for success” day.

At first, I thought it was weird, then I learned that research shows that dressing well makes you perform better. Across various studies, there are dozens of benefits from increased income to better mental performance.

In other words, if you want to make more money, become smarter, and help other people with confidence, dress more professionally.

It sounds weird, but think about it and you’ll realize it’s not. You dress your best when going in for a job interview, right? In the same way, each day, you need to find what type of clothing will guarantee the little successes that will lead to big accomplishments.

What a costume is for a superhero, your daily wardrobe is for you.

Think about the different clothes you wear at certain times in your life. You put on workout clothes when you’re going to the gym or out on a run. And you wear your Sunday best for going to church. When it’s time to go to work, you get into something business appropriate.

These days many are working from home, which has a ton of perks. But among the few downsides, it can be easy to dress in PJ’s without anybody knowing. That might sound comfortable, but if you want a boost your mental health and success you must take a shower and get ready each day as if you were going into the office.

No matter what it looks like, you need a costume to match your everyday heroic efforts. But that’s not everything required to become a superhero. You also need to have a sidekick.

5. Find Your Assistant

“Don’t make friends who are comfortable to be with. Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up.”

– Thomas J. Watson

Whether it’s Alfred Pennyworth or Aunt May, every one of our favorite superheroes has a sidekick or assistant. Every one of them is always there right when the main hero needs them.

You need someone to help you too. Whether it’s a best friend, parent, or spouse, you need someone that you can count on to help you stay accountable to your superhero goals, and especially to the goal of helping other people.

To have a kick-butt assistant, you have to go find one though. It may take some work, but isn’t it worth it to become a real-life superhero?

This might sound strange at first but I promise if you try it, it will work. The first step to finding your awesome assistant is to envision what they are like and how they will help you. As you do, ask yourself:

  • How will they help me with developing your strengths?
  • What strengths do they have that can make up for my weaknesses?

As with the list of your own strengths, make a list of your desired attributes in an assistant.

Then, go looking for them. Maybe they are already in your life and you just don’t know it. And maybe you’ll find more than one. 

And sometimes, assistants can even be people who you never see in person.

As Jim Rohn said, “you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with,” but more importantly, you are the average of the 5 authors you read the most.

You don’t have to be in direct, personal contact with inspiring people to learn from them. This means you can choose just about any of them to be in your group of your five people that you want to be the most like.

In other words, you can choose just about anyone in the world to be your assistant. All you have to do is read or listen to their words frequently, and turn to them in your times of need.

Now it’s Time For You to Begin Saving the World, One Person at a Time

So, what makes a hero? There are five steps to become the real-life superhero that you’ve always wanted to be:

  1. Help other people
  2. Find your superpowers
  3. Train
  4. Get your own super suit
  5. Find your assistant

Are you inspired and ready to take on the world? Do you feel ready? 

Don’t worry if you don’t, you won’t always feel ready. Whatever challenge or big goal in life you have coming up next you will never quite be ready, and becoming a superhero is no different.

But just like with other big steps you’ve taken in life, you just have to take the leap of faith and begin. After all, you already have more than you need to make it as a hero.

Never forget that the world needs you, today. Will you change it by becoming just one person’s superhero right now?