Your world’s destruction is near. Only you are left to save it… what will you do?
P.S. You can learn even more about Jibran at his website.
Hey friends, today I attempt to help us answer the question in the title—or really, what’s behind that question. Namely, figuring out what our strength—our superpower—is and how we can use it as a force for good in our lives. You know, with great power comes great responsibility and all that.
“With great power comes great responsibility.” (someone’s uncle, probably)
There are all kinds of Hollywood movies with protagonists that save the day. But superhero movies make it really obvious, so that’s what I’m going with here. Even though many modern-day superhero movies are turning into caricatures of themselves—that’s what happens when you never improve on the recipe—for today’s topic, it’ll suffice.
Modern-day cinematic superhero universes are full of different characters: big, small, man, woman, loud, quiet, green, blue, witty, angry, etc. Each hero or heroine is getting their own movie or series of movies in which they play the protagonist. They’re not unlike the ancient Biblical or Greek universes where each (immortal) hero, heroine, God, Goddess, and saint have their sets of mythological stories. And just like those ancient myths were used to understand our lives—by mapping our emotions onto the characteristics of these mythical beings—we might do the same with the superheroes in these movies.
Both the ancient immortals and modern-day heroes have specific superpowers with which they do stuff. Other than constantly deceiving each other with their powers, they also use their gifts to save the world, themselves, and their loved ones. We are very much the same as these mythic heroes: our lives are also grand narratives that we tell ourselves, and we also have immense power and control over our world. So we can be the hero in our story, just like the immortal Hercules and X-Men’s Storm, if we so choose.
Side note: I feel I need to clarify what I mean with the word “world” here. I don’t mean the globe, earth, the universe, or even “objective reality” out there. With “world,” I am talking about our personal experience of Being. We are at the center of our own world and can only experience and influence from that perspective.
So let me ask you this: What is your superpower? – What is your strength or (latent) talent waiting to be used in this world of yours? – What kind of superhero are you?
You might not be able to come up with an answer right away, so let’s do an exercise together to dig a bit deeper.
What is your superpower?
Exercise: Your Hero’s Journey
In this exercise, I’ll use some metaphorical wording that may sound a bit “woo” if you take it literally. So try to be open and perceive it as if you’d be watching a new Marvel movie, listening to an old Greek myth, or reading a novel.
OK, here goes!
My shortened exposition of Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey”1
- You’re dropped into the beginning of your own superhero movie, where your backstory is portrayed.
- Then there is an inciting incident where you have no way but to travel into the Underworld.
- In the Underworld, you fight monsters and horrors personal to you.
- First, you fail because you got tempted by darkness or didn’t have faith (in yourself).
- But then you pass the trials, awakening your true power and overcoming the evil horrors.
- You travel back to the ordinary world and use your “gift” as a force for good.
Let’s create our own hero story
What we’ll aim to do now is to fill in the “blanks” from the exposition above with more specific questions that we can answer. Each of us will likely answer them differently, thus forming our own hero story.
- What is your backstory? – What things happened in your (early) life that made you who you are today?
- What was an inciting incident? – What happened that made you unable to go back and forced you to travel into the underworld?
- What did your underworld look like? – What fears and temptations were you confronted with? What monsters did you have to fight? How did you defeat them?
- When did you lose faith? – In yourself, the world, or the people around you? And how did you regain it? Did you have help?
- How did you awaken (to) your true power? – And how did you use it to crawl out of the underworld? How does it connect to your early life that makes it seem obvious this is your power?
- What is your gift or “treasure” that you learned from your journey? – How can you use your gift as a force for good? How can you translate your gift to the “normal” world?
Now before you get anxious about not being able to answer all the questions immediately.
You can take as much time as you need for each question. And I recommend writing down your answers, or some key phrases. You can always come back later to this list.
Note: I had a challenging time answering these questions as well: In one of my drafts for this essay, I wrote down my answers to these questions with the intent of having an example in this essay. But, even unedited, it tripled the length of this piece, and I felt I wasn’t doing my backstory justice. So even though I’m sure it’d be helpful to share mine, I will save that for a series of different posts. (Maybe a memoir-like series where I do one post on each of the above six questions.)
I did, however, have a public attempt at trying to “TLDR” it into one tweet…2
I also want to note that our life isn’t limited to just one story. Our world and our lives behave in fractals; we have smaller stories within bigger ones and stories that overlap one another. On top of that, we usually only notice we were in a particular “phase” within one of our stories when we have the opportunity to look back.
This is all a long-winded way of saying that I’m giving you, as well as myself, permission to write extensive meandering answers to these questions about discovering your superpower. (You can even share them in the comment section if you’d like.)
So, take your time, listen to your inner voice when you ask these questions, and hopefully, your “calling” comes bubbling to the surface.
Will you answer the call of your gift?
Thanks for reading. My hope is that it can set at least one person on the path to finding their superpower.