The Superhero Hack: Why You’re More In Control Than You Think You Are


At some point or another in life, we all hit a wall.

We reach a place where our situation seems hopeless. Our options seem limited. Our motivation wanes and none of our attempts seem to be paying off. These are the times when we’re most likely to give up on what we’re working towards. We grow frustrated with our external circumstances and resign to the assumption that there’s no plausible way around them. Or at least, no way that we can figure out.

There’s a particular mental hack I turn to when I’m feeling especially stuck, and it goes as follows:

Imagine that tomorrow morning, your favourite superhero woke up in your body and was consigned to living your exact life.

What about your life would that superhero change? What would they refuse to keep tolerating? What about your life would your superhero of choice use your body, your resources and your exact situation to combat – in a way that you’ve perhaps never quite had the courage to?

If Batman woke up in your body tomorrow, would he keep taking shit from your boss? Would Spiderman feel trapped by your finances? Would Thor shy away from asking out the person you’ve always had a crush on and would Wonder Woman sit at home streaming Netflix for ten to fifteen hours at a time?

Of course not. Those scenarios seem perfectly implausible. Superheroes are, after all, super because they possess abilities that the rest of us do not. We can scarcely even imagine them dealing with our day-to-day struggles because they’d be trivial matters for our favourite idols. And yet, if they were devoid of their regular powers, they’d still find a way to solve our problems. So why can’t we?

Here’s the difference between you and that superhero or family member: You are confining yourself by the story of your past. You’re repeating it to yourself ceaselessly and letting it bleed into your present and future.

The reason Batman wouldn’t be afraid to confront your boss is because your boss hasn’t bullied, barked at and demeaned Batman for years on end, whittling his self-esteem down into a pulp. The reason Superman would make a decent budget with your money is because Superman isn’t accustomed to the $5 latte you buy on your way to work every morning and he’d be motivated to leave your dead-end job in favour of something more profitable. Thor isn’t afraid to ask your crush out because he isn’t still hurting from the way your ex inexplicably ended things six months ago and Wonder Woman knows that if you want to see your friends on the weekends, you should just text them and ask them to hang out.

We grow trapped by the stories that we tell ourselves: Affirming that we aren’t confident enough or strong enough or worthy enough of any of the things that we want. We think that our favourite superheroes, our favourite TV characters, even our favourite loved ones possess some secret for overcoming these trails, but they don’t. The only difference between them and us is that they’re telling themselves a different story about what’s possible.

If we had the ability to look at our lives through genuinely fresh our eyes, we’d be amazed to realize just how different things could be. So many things that we view as impenetrable obstacles stand in our way solely because of our own fear of failure or the unfamiliar. What is unchangeable to us is entirely optional to someone else. And once we realize that, it’s also possible to realize just how much is within our grasp.

So tomorrow, don’t wake up as yourself. Wake up as your favourite marvel, your favourite celebrity, your favourite hero or even your best friend. Think about what they’d do differently, what they wouldn’t balk at and what they would consider themselves worthy of.

And then take the first step towards becoming the superhero that your life so desperately needs.