Lior Arussy, author of Next Is Now, gives us insight into our obsession with superheroes, what they stand for, and how they relate to our ability or inability to change.
We Crave Hope in Times of Change
In one of the most iconic superhero scenes of the past several decades, Spider-Man battles Dr Octopus on a racing New York subway train. Seconds before the train flies off its tracks into the water below, Spider-Man uses all his strength to slow it down and eventually stop it. (Is there any better metaphor for our fear of change coming at us fast and furious?)
But you don’t need to have seen that particular film to know about the allure of superheroes. They’re the subject of four of the world’s ten highest-grossing movies. Together, those four films, The ~Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises – earned over $2 billion.
Between DC Comic’s Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and Marvel’s Hulk, Thor and Captain America, we are flooded with stories about superhumans willing and able to save the world from the evils threatening our very existence. Despite the never-ending parade of sequels, America hasn’t gotten sick of them.
While the weapons may have gotten bigger and the bad guys worse, someone watching Man of Steel in 2013 probably shared the same sentiment as someone reading Superman comics 75 years ago; they’re both fascinated by the superhero who chose to use his gifts, not for fame and fortune, but rather to save the world.
The phone booth might be obsolete by now, but I am confident Superman has found a solution to his personal transformation. After all, the world isn’t going to wait for him. The villains are all around us and crime never sleeps. But that’s ok – superheroes transcend time and place. They provide the same solace to fans today as they did when they were first introduced to the world so many years ago.
While many of the most popular superhero’s powers remain the same – think about the Hulk’s strength, Thor’s hammer and the Man of Steel’s laser eyes – they are nimble enough to adapt to the newest threat and restore peace and order in a matter of a few fight scenes.
What is the attraction? Why are superheroes still as relevant today as they were nearly a century ago? What is it about it that has us so obsessed?
This has been debated by many researchers and culture experts. One thing is clear: superheroes don’t just provide the fictional citizens of Gotham City, Metropolis and Smallville with a sense of stability in an ever-changing world – they give it to us, too. In a world that is changing at warp speed, we naturally latch on to the characters that don’t. Who else but a superhero can render change unimportant? Superhero stories assure us that, at the end of the day, peace will be restored.
Everything will be okay.
I addition to the sense of confidence in law and world order, superheroes deliver one more promise. in the comic series and book Superman: Birthright (2003-2004), we finally learn the meaning of the S on Superman’s chest.
“The symbol of the House of El means hope,” Superman’s father Jor-El, tells him. “Embodied within that hope is the fundamental belief of the potential of every person to be a force for good. That’s what you can bring them.”
In times of turbulence and unrest, superheroes give us hope that better times will come.
Their stories are also inspiring – some people watch these movies and want to be a superhero, not just buy the Tshirt. These films teach us to believe in our own powers and to embrace change, not fight it. Superheroes, simply put, are the better versions of ourselves. The more proactive and motivated versions. The versions that demonstrate a higher capacity for change resilience. The versions of us that can and will engage with change on behalf of the world.
On the surface, our love of superheroes seems positive enough – but is there something deeper at work? Does our obsession tell a story of an unwillingness to adapt to the increasing change we face all around us? in other words, are we taking comfort in knowing someone else will make all the bad go away?
After all, in a world full of superheroes, we don’t have to rush to change. Which brings us back to you. What will your reaction to change be? Will you wait around for a superhero to save you, or will you become one? To ask the question another way:
Are you future ready?
By that, I mean: Are you ready to embrace the unknown? To be proactive and stay ahead of the game? To own your destiny – and use your skills to help others? To be a force for good in the world, not just buy the T-shirt?
Our five-step Future Ready Impact process was designed to help you get there – and to take your colleagues and your organizations with you.
Step 1: Face It!
The first step in embracing change is getting honest with yourself about the reason for it: anything from industry trends and technology advances to a changing customer base or environmental factors. Your challenge? Face the change squarely and objectively and decide your next step.
Step 2: Analyse It!
You’re not a robot. It’s human nature to fear change. This is what Step 2 is all about: understanding the emotions associated with change. You’re going to explore the pain, the fear, the lack of readiness and any other emotions standing between you and the rational facts faced Step 1. you’ll learn to recognize them and understand them, and ultimately move beyond them. Remember, you’re supposed to be afraid of change. What separates the change resilient from the rest of us is that they’ve developed a strategy to move past that fear.
Step 3: Redefine It!
At this point, you’ll have a good understanding of both the rational reasons for change and your irrational opposition to it. It’s time to reframe the change and understand how it helps you fulfil your purpose. by focusing on your core cause and understanding how the proposed change is in alignment with that, you can create a hopeful future you can love and embrace. A change will become something you want to pursue as a means to fulfil your hopes and dreams.
Step 4: Grow It!
It’s not enough to just imagine a beautiful future. Step 4 is all about training for it and creating a safe space for you to start embracing new behaviours and develop your confidence around the change without fear of public embarrassment.
Step 5: Own It!
At this point, change is yours. You are ready to bring the change into your daily practices and behaviour and put your own spin on it. Not only will you be better able to roll with the new changes, but you’ll also be better equipped to see the next change on the horizon. Whether you’re facing a personal change or a professional transformation, these five steps are designed to accelerate change and guide you to the next place you belong. They will empower you to be the authority of your life. So let me ask you: are you ready to change?
It’s ok. You don’t have to be quite yet. Just trust that you’ll get there – maybe even faster than you think.
A step-by-step guide for how managers and employees can embrace change with passion and excitement, every day
- Provides a framework for dealing with disruption and making a changing market a competitive advantage
- The approach is based on the authors’ deep work with some of the world’s leading companies
- A guide to stop the ‘change victimhood’ mentality to one of participation and ownership
- An important management book for all business executives, especially in today’s intensely competitive and changing business environment
Listen to Lior Arussy’s interview on LID Radio podcast here.
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