Superheroes. The mighty. The brave. The self-sacrificing righteous heroes that we can only dream to be. From the pages of colorful comic books to the 3D silver screens, superheroes are everywhere today. There is a good reason why superheroes have become so popular in our modern culture. They give us strength. They give us hope. And they inspire us to be our own heroes even though we know we might never be able to rise up to their heroic levels. That is the power of superheroes. The fact is, we can learn several valuable life lessons from superheroes.
Can we learn any REAL life lessons from superheroes?
Unlike the action-laden pages of these superhero comics, life doesn’t have any supervillains. We don’t have to fight the cunning intellect of Lex Luthor, the sinister antics of the psychopathic Joker, the shrewd trickery of Loki or the destruction of Thanos. But in real life, we have to face something far more disturbing and damaging than all these supervillains combined…LIFE itself.
Whether you are a DC comics fan or a Marvel comics fan or both, you simply cannot deny the impact our favorite superheroes have on us. Being obsessed with Batman since my childhood, I can list down a hundred things I have learnt from him and how he still guides in my life and keeps me on the right track. From Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern to Iron-Man, Captain America and the Hulk, these heroes have inspired us all in some way or the other. Whether you are a fan of the movies, the cartoon shows or even the comics, I am sure you have learned something from our favorite superheroes. If not, it’s time you do.
Why we love superheroes
“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve
Despite their superpowers and amazing stories, superheroes are relatable. Irrespective of which superhero you may like, you will find something in them that clicks with you. That connection is what makes us love superheroes so much. Personally, Batman’s values and principles as a human being call out to me. I think this is what makes him the greatest hero of all time.
Something similar happens with the X-Men. These are normal people who reluctantly became heroes. They view their powers as a curse. There are strong themes of social injustice, prejudice, hopelessness, loss and victory throughout the history of the X-Men. These are things that we experience in our daily lives in some form or the other. When we see our heroes stand up and fight against these odds, it gives us hope and strength to stand up and fight for ourselves. It’s not just them. Every superhero has a story to tell that we can relate to on some level. There are many important life lessons from superheroes to be learnt for each one of us.
Here are some reasons we all love superheroes so much:
- One of the main reasons we love superheroes so much is because they teach us how one person can make a difference. How one single human being can change the world.
- In a world filled with chaos, superheroes are our role models of idealistic behavior. They inspire us to be our best selves and help those in need.
- Superheroes are human even with their powers. They have flaws and they make mistakes, just like us. But they learn and grow and move forward to defeat evil. They give us strength to move beyond our limiting beliefs and step forward.
- Superheroes give us hope and inspire us. They show us that if we fight just one more day, things will get better. They give us the mental security which we desperately crave for in this anarchic world.
- And finally, superheroes look cool. We can’t deny how awesome they look in those armors and suits. Let’s face it, we all want to dress up like our favorite heroes. There is a reason why cosplaying has become so popular.
Life lessons from superheroes
Whether it’s Spiderman or Superman, we learn a lot from our favorite comic book heroes. So here’s a closer look at some of the life lessons from superheroes that we can all learn to make ourselves and our lives better.
1. Batman (Bruce Wayne)
“Our greatest glory is not in ever falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Batman
Who is Batman?
For over 80 years, his nemeses has been asking the same question. Batman is a vigilante who fights for justice in Gotham City. After his parents parents were murdered, Bruce Wayne became Batman and dedicate his life to fighting crime. After years of training his mind and his body, Bruce took the mantle of the Bat to fight crime with his detective skills, exceptional intellect, unparalleled combat skills and cool gadgets. Due to his unique origin story, children & adults alike are fans of this superhero character.
Being a billionaire, Bruce Wayne could have lived a lavish life. But he CHOSE to be a hero. He CHOSE to fight for justice. He CHOSE to avenge his parents. And he doesn’t even have any superpowers for crying out loud. Batman is a self-sacrificing human being who gave up everything he has to restore justice in Gotham city.
Life lessons from Batman:
#1 Transform your failure into your strengths
Witnessing the murder of his parents, Bruce became emotionally traumatized. But instead of cowering in fear and relying on his father’s wealth, he became Batman and began a war on crime. His dedication and passion to being Batman is unshakable.
#2 You don’t need superpowers to become a hero
Bruce Wayne does not possess any kind of superpowers at all. He has molded himself into Batman through his sheer determination and hard work. To say he is an expert martial artist would be an understatement. He relies solely on his skills and intellect to fight crime.
#3 Never lower your standards
Driven by guilt and vengeance, Batman stops at nothing when it comes to fighting crime. But he never stoops down to their level. He has NEVER killed anyone despite how twisted that criminal is (read Joker). He prevents himself from becoming one of the murderers by maintaining his morality & a clear conscience.
“If you kill a killer the number of killers in the world remains the same.”
2. Iron Man (Tony Stark)
It’s not about how much we lost, it’s about how much we have left. We’re the Avengers. We gotta finish this. – Iron Man
Who is Iron Man?
After being kidnapped, billionaire, scientist, playboy and genius Tony Stark suffered a serious chest injury. He escaped his captors by inventing a mechanized suit that not only allowed him to destroy the abductors base but it also saved his life. Eventually Tony developed an advanced suit of armor with technological devices and weapons through his own organization Stark Industries. And thus he became Iron Man, the armored Avenger, played by the truly inspiring Robert Downey Jr. in the MCU movies. The high-flying hero not only stops the bad guys but also helps the people across the world.
Life lessons from Iron Man:
#1 Learn what you don’t know
Even though he is a globally renowned scientist and a genius, Tony is keen on learning what he doesn’t know. Always focused on upgrading his Iron Man suit, Tony is always open to experimentation and doing his homework to be the best at what he does. Failure has taught him more than success and trial & error has saved his life.
#2 Admit your mistakes
Tony Stark is an arrogant, stubborn and hard headed person who has frequently been called an egomaniac. He is far from perfect and has made a lot of bad decisions. And all of this has landed him in a lot of trouble. However, he knows when he has screwed up and he doesn’t shy away from admitting his mistakes. He also makes sure to right his wrongs and move forward with more strength.
#3 Stand for a cause
Tony Stark could have easily enjoyed his life as a genius and a billionaire, but he chose to stand up for something that is much bigger than him. When he realized that his creations could either destroy or save mankind, he chose to become Iron Man. In the latest MCU movie Avengers: Endgame, Iron Man willingly sacrificed his life for what he believed in. When you live for something that’s bigger than yourself, you will find a higher purpose in life that will inspire you to live with a renewed sense of motivation.
3. Superman (Clark Kent/Kal-El)
“You’re much stronger than you think you are, trust me.” – Superman
Who is Superman?
Superman a.k.a Kal-El is the last son of the planet Krypton. Sent to Earth from his dying planet Krypton, Kal-El was found and raised by a farmer couple and was named Clark Kent. His parents inspired him to stand up for truth and justice after discovering his superpowers. And thus he became Superman, named by his co-worker and love interest Lois Lane.
Superman has every superpower you can imagine from the power of flight, super strength, super speed, X-ray vision…you know the drill. Superman is a global icon that inspires kids and adults alike.
Life lessons from Superman:
#1 Learn to be humble
With all that power, Superman can literally dominate the world, yet he chooses to be humble and use his powers to help people. He is not focused on feeling superior than the human race. Instead, Superman shows how to make the most of what you got.
#2 Accept that you cannot control everything
Even though Superman is the strongest superhero in the DC comics universe, still he can’t save each and every person in need of help. This feeling of guilt can easily crush his spirit. But he chooses to focus on helping those he can to create a better world for everyone.
#3 Choose to inspire others
Superman not only inspires other heroes in the Justice League, but he also motivates every human being through his actions and deeds. By standing up for truth and justice, he shows people the value of hard work, patience, humility and tolerance.
4. Captain America (Steve Rogers)
“We must all live in the real world… and sometimes that can be pretty grim. But it is the dream…the hope…that makes reality worth living.” – Captain America
Who is Captain America?
Scrawny and tall, Steve Rogers was a fine arts student who enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II. There he volunteered to be the subject of a radical Super-Soldier experiment and was given a serum that gave him superhuman powers like speed, strength, agility and endurance. Armed with his iconic Vibranium shield, Steve became Captain America to inspire the troops and fight the Nazis. However, he was left trapped in ice for years after a failed mission. Captain America was later brought back by the Avengers and he eventually became their leader.
Life lessons from Captain America:
#1 Action speaks louder than words
Although Captain America can easily inspire anyone through his motivational speeches but he always follows up his words through definitive actions. He embodies the phrase “Walk the talk.” Always lead through example and you will be as great a leader as Cap.
#2 Protect your loved ones
In the movie Captain America: Civil War, Steve stands by his old friend Bucky even though he was turned into a bad guy through the magic of brainwashing. Although everyone in the Avengers was against Bucky The Winter Soldier, Cap did not give up on him and stood by his friend till the end.
#3 Never give up
“I can do this all day,” Steve keeps repeating this phrase throughout his life and follows it through. Captain America is not a quitter by any means and is ready to face any and all obstacles just to accomplish his goals. He is not afraid to die or even fail, as long as he knows that he has given his best.
It’s tempting to want to live in the past. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. But it’s where fossils come from.” -Captain America
5. Wonder Woman (Diana Prince/Princess Diana)
“Because no matter how small an act of kindness or generosity or simple positivity you put out into the world, it will make a difference.”- Wonder Woman
Who is Wonder Woman?
Wonder Woman is perhaps the most popular female superhero today. A feminist icon, she was born as Princess Diana of Themyscira after her mother Hippolyta created her from clay. She was given life by Greek gods and was trained in combat by the Amazons on Paradise Island. Her superpowers include flight, superstrength, speed, courage and wisdom. After meeting Steve Trevor, the first man she ever saw, Princess Diana traveled to the land of ‘man’ and became Wonder Woman to help those in need.
Life lessons from Wonder Woman:
#1 You don’t need to be a man to be a hero
Even in our modern society, women are largely considered weak and feeble. However, Wonder Woman has permanently changed the ‘damsel in distress’ image of defenseless princesses by choosing to save the world and becoming a hero. You can also choose to be your own Shero (a female hero).
#2 Don’t give up on what you believe in
Whether you have read the comics or watched the movie, Wonder Woman doesn’t take no for an answer. She has been repeatedly told not to do something by her mother, her friends, and her partner Steve Trevor. But Diana always pursues what she believes in and pleasantly surprises everyone by her actions.
#3 Have faith in love
Diana believes in love, not just between two lovers, but also between family, friends and human beings in general. She believes love can actually help anyone and help us solve all problems.
“I believe in love…only love can save the world.” – Wonder Woman
6. Wolverine (James Howlett/Logan)
“Sometimes, when you cage the beast, the beast gets angry.” -Wolverine
Who is Wolverine?
Wolverine is a mutant who has retractable adamantium metal claws, incessant healing power and an animalistic attitude. James Howlett was born in Canada and is also known as Logan. After being abducted and experimented upon by the Weapon X program, the metal adamantium was fused to his bones forcibly. After escaping the program, he became Wolverine and later joined Professor Charles Xavier and became a member of the X-Men.
Life lessons from Wolverine:
#1 Confidence is the only superpower you need
Wolverine is an extremely confident person and has a devil may care attitude. He never doubts himself and is not afraid to face any risks. His unmatched confidence makes him stand out from every other superhero out there. Being a hero, starts and ends with your confidence.
#2 Scarcity makes you valuable
You will never find Wolverine hanging out with the X-Men and having a jolly good time. He values his time and likes to invest on himself instead of wasting it. This makes him scarce. As he is not available all the time, it makes him more wanted and appreciated by his teammates. Wolverine is a loner and work on himself. There’s a lot to learn right here.
#3 Mental strength is more important than physical strength
Like Batman, Wolverine has immense mental strength and self-belief which makes him strong from the inside. He is not bothered by negativity or criticism from others…and he gets a lot of that. Wolverine never gets affected by failures and setbacks. He just keeps moving forward following his animal instincts.
“My whole life, I felt like an animal. I ignored my instincts. I ignored what I really am. And that won’t ever happen again.” – Wolverine
7. Flash (Barry Allen)
“Life is locomotion… if you’re not moving, you’re not living. But there comes a time when you’ve got to stop running away from things… and you’ve got to start running towards something, you’ve got to forge ahead. Keep moving. Even if your path isn’t lit… trust that you’ll find your way.” – Flash
Who is Flash?
The Flash is the fastest man alive. After being hit by lightning and doused in chemicals, police chemist Barry Allen gained the power of super speed. Being able to move at lightspeed, Barry set out to prove his father’s innocence who was wrongly accused of murdering Barry’s mother. Dedicated to find his mother’s real killer, Barry became The Flash, a crime fighting superhero, who protects the people of Central City. He is also a core member of the Justice League.
Life lessons from Flash:
#1 Family comes first
Being a witness to his mother’s murder and seeing his father get wrongfully blamed for it, Barry knows the value of family very well. He has dedicated his life in the investigation to prove his father’s innocence. Even his identity as the Flash is driven by the fact that he lost his mother at an early age. Now he wants to protect the people so that no one has to experience what he had to.
# 2 Somethings are worth chasing
We all have something we love to chase whether it’s love, career or a dream. It is the same for Barry. At lightning fast speed, he chases what matters to him and what he believes is worthy of his time and effort. So make sure you only run after something that you believe is worthy and you are passionate about.
#3 Our past is often the key to our future
No one can deny that our past is part of who we are. Despite how much we try to forget or avoid it, our past will always catch up to us in unexpected ways. You simply can’t outrun it. The Flash tries desperately to cope with the death of his mother. However, it is only by accepting that he can’t change the past, Barry can move towards creating a better future. Revisit your past when you need to and let go of all your burdens.
“Sometimes the only way to move forward is to revisit the things in your past that were holding you back. You have to deal with them head on, no matter how scary they may be, because once you do you’ll see that you will go further than you ever imagined.” -Barry Allen
8. Spider-Man (Peter Parker)
“With great power there must also come…great responsibility!” – Stan Lee
Who is Spider-Man?
On a field trip to a local science lab, school student Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider which gave him some unique superpowers. With his new-found spider powers, Peter became excited and tried to make money as a wrestler. But after the murder of his Uncle Ben, Peter decided to become Spider-Man and stop criminals from hurting anyone else.
With abilities like a spider and super strength, Peter now takes care of his Aunt May and swings around the city of New York to help everyone as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Life lessons from Spider-Man:
#1 With power, comes accountability
After getting his powers, Peter was focused on using it to earn some quick money. And after the death of his Uncle, he wanted to take revenge on the killer. But he chose to follow the advice of his late Uncle Ben and decided to become a hero for the people. He could have easily used his powers for his personal gains, but he chose the righteous path even though he is mostly unappreciated.
#2 We have to sacrifice what we want for our principles
Sometimes we might have to give up on what our heart wants the most just to follow our moral codes. Spider-Man has repeatedly sacrificed his love and personal happiness to do what he must: help people. Walking on the path to achieve your goals is not easy as it comes with a lot of personal sacrifice and compromise.
“We have to be greater than what we suffer.” – Spider-Man
#3 We can all be a hero
Peter Parker was an average high school teenager with a lot of average daily problems. But as Spider-Man he became a hero that the people needed. He gave hope to others and inspired people to be better even while coping with loss and grief. Spider-Man shows us that even by doing the smallest things for someone, we can do the greatest heroic deeds.
“We need a hero. Courageous, self-sacrificing people, setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero, people line up for them, cheer for them, scream their names, and years later tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who told them to hold on a second longer. I believe there’s a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble. And finally gets us to die with pride. Even though sometimes we have to be steady and give up the thing we want most, even our dreams.” – Aunt May
Be a HERO
Superheroes can teach us a lot of things about real life even though they exist solely in a fictional reality. Whether it Green Arrow or Hawkeye; Deathstroke or Deadpool, and even Shazam or Captain Marvel, they all have something to teach us, something to show us about being the best version of ourselves. About how we can be a hero to our loved ones even without any superpowers. I guess that’s why they are called superheroes. Even though they might not have saved anyone in real life, they inspire us to save ourselves.
Who is your favorite superhero and what have you learned from them? I would love to know. So feel free to share below.
Up, Up and Away!