As kids, everything around us fuels our imagination. Superhero cartoons, in particular, make us dream big and ignite a desire in us to reach for the stars and try to achieve the impossible. They teach us that if you are kind, committed, and willing to make a few sacrifices, you can do anything you set your mind to.
As we grow old and start facing the struggles of everyday life, we stop dreaming. We get used to the idea that we don’t possess any special powers and we become complacent with whatever life throws us.
That’s such a pity! Here’s the thing: you are stronger than you think. Sure, you don’t have super strength or any telekinetic abilities that could turn you into an actual superhero (or super villain.) But that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your fullest potential.
The truth of the matter is that being Superman has less to do with supernatural strength and more with creating an epic state of mind. It’s more about a psychological shift that allows you to break through your limitations and achieve the unachievable.
The good news is that it’s totally doable.
Here’s how you can become Superman and achieve your fullest potential.
Who Is Superman?
Everybody is familiar with the origin story of Superman. Born on the alien planet Krypton, he was sent to Earth by his father moments before his home planet’s destruction. He was adopted and raised by a Kansas farmer and his wife under the name of Clark Kent. Upon discovering his superhuman abilities, he decided to use them for the benefit of humanity under a secret identity.
But, have you ever wondered how the concept of “Superman” was born?
As it turns out, the metaphor for Superman comes from Friedrich Nietzsche’s Übermensch (German for Superman). It symbolizes “the superior man” who has overcome himself and human nature. In essence, the “Ubermensch” is one who has conquered the chains of the human condition and reached a liberated state.
In Nietzsche’s definition, anyone has the potential to become an Ubermensch. However, the metamorphoses that one must undergo to reach the state of Superman are not easy, he warns us.
You mustn’t let hardship and difficult times keep your down.
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” is a famous quote by Nietzsche. The point being that, as long as we’re alive, we can surpass anything and each experience, no matter how challenging, will help us improve.
So, following this path, the goal is to become the greatest version of yourself.
But how do you do that?
Let’s find out.
What Does It Mean To Be Superman?
As I said before, being Superman isn’t about having physical strength, but mental power. It means you should maximize and live up to your fullest potential. The concept of Superman encourages people to will their destiny, create their set of values and make life dance to their rhythm.
Becoming Superman means achieving everything you can achieve. It means crushing your goals and ascending to a level where others question whether you’re even human. Becoming Superman is the manifestation of you achieving “greatness.” You are operating at 100% and doing everything you can to strive towards your goals.
Superman doesn’t bow to obstacles in life; he makes obstacles in life bow to him. He is not a bystander; he is the one that acts while others watch him take action. Superman doesn’t sit on the sidelines watching others achieve greatness. He achieves greatness while others watch and talk about him.
He has fully mastered life and has figuratively ascended the human condition.
The Philosophy of Superman: How to Become Superman
“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering” – Nietzsche
This has been one of the most important quotes of my life.
Read it again and let it sink in.
To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.
Everybody suffers. Suffering is part of life. That’s what it means to be human. Life has highs and lows. A life consisting of only highs is pure fantasy. The first step in achieving your fullest potential and becoming Superman is to understand this concept fundamentally.
You shouldn’t be afraid to suffer because this process will help you. It’s just like getting a shot. Although it hurts at first, in the end, it will make you better.
Think about it this way. In medicine, pain is your body telling you that something is wrong. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to identify the problems and fix them. So, pain is not only natural but also useful to your self-fulfillment.
If you still need convincing, here’s what psychologists say about suffering:
It’s Only as Bad as You Make It: It stops being bad if you believe life is about growth. And, growth entails a degree of pain. No pain, no gain.
Suffering Can Include the Most Profound Happiness Within It: Think of Mahatma Gandhi, to name only one. Although he endured great suffering, he also experienced joy during that time. He knew that what he was going through was for a greater good.
Suffering Is a Normal Part of Every Worthwhile Endeavor: Periodic torment in all areas of life is natural. If it’s worth it, it won’t always be easy.
In the end, suffering is what it is and what we make of it. Of course, it’s not pleasant, but as long as we find meaning in it, it’s not useless. On the contrary, it’s in our favor most of the time. So, you should keep in mind that every dark cloud has a silver lining.
Also, whenever you have a hard time, ask yourself: “Does complaining about my hard time help in any way?”
You’ll find that most of the time, the answer is no. In fact, complaining will only stop you from achieving your fullest potential.
I know, we are all guilty of whining to some degree or another. It’s easier to complain than to take action. But here are some tricks that can help you complain less, do more, and be happier:
Change the Way You Think: Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the positive. Try finding something good in every situation, no matter how hard it is. If you find it difficult, ask a more optimistic friend to help you.
Be Less Judgmental: We often complain about the people around us. That’s because they don’t live up to our expectations. However, if we stop judging others, our level of dissatisfaction will decrease. We suffer because we have expectations that don’t get met. But, if we let expectations go, we will be less judgmental, and we will suffer less.
Take Action: If something is bothering you, you have two options: either solve it or accept that nothing can be done right now. If that is the case, then why complain about it? It will only make it worse.
The point is that, instead of always complaining, you should have a reason to push forward. That brings us to the next point of Nietzsche’s quote.
Being human is to suffer. To survive life and ascend beyond suffering, you have to find meaning in the suffering you’re currently going through. You have to find the why! It’s the fuel that helps you endure the enormous amounts of suffering required. It’s what gives you meaning during your suffering, and motivates you to soldier on.
To Overcome Suffering, You Have to Find Your Why
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Becoming the best at something won’t be easy. We already know it might take a lot of pain and suffering, but as long as you have a why you’ll make it through. And there are a lot of examples:
- Imagine the amount of suffering LeBron James had to go through in the gym to become the world’s best basketball player.
- Imagine the amount of suffering Elon Musk had to go through to grow three companies from the ground up and take them public with three separate initial public offerings (IPO).
- Imagine the amount of suffering Barack Obama had to go through to become America’s first Black president.
They were all able to succeed because they had a “why” that motivated them and kept them going.
You need a “why” as well if you want to conquer any adversity in your journey towards achieving your fullest potential.
But, how do you find what drives and motivates you?
Pay Attention to People Who Inspire You: You can learn from their experience. Find out how they discovered their inner power (their “why.”) Maybe some of their methods will prove useful.
Find a Coach/Mentor: You might need direct guidance in this process. Having a coach/mentor enables you to ask the right questions so that you find the right answer. Your coach/mentor should be someone with experience who has already been where you are.
Let me be clear: You can’t reach your full potential if you don’t have a why that drives you. I know that for a fact. I have been able to achieve a tremendous level of success pretty early in life because I have been able to find an answer to one of the most difficult questions: Why?
My family is my “why.” My parents have done a lot for me to be successful, so I owe them a lot. I don’t want to disappoint them. I want to pay them back by becoming so successful that my entire family never has to worry about money, ever again. Moreover, I want to leave a legacy so profound that future generations of my family never have to worry about money.
My family isn’t the only thing that motivates me to work hard every day. I look at the lists of billionaires and millionaires, and I only see a few Black or African people on them. I take personal ownership in wanting to change that. I want my success story to influence young Black students. I want them to see that you don’t have to be a victim of circumstances. If you have a goal in mind, are committed and work smart and hard, anything can be achieved regardless of your background.
However, finding the thing that makes you eager to get out of bed every morning and work is just the first step. If you want to reach your full potential, you need to accept that another harsh reality I briefly touched on earlier.
Happiness and misfortune are brothers and sisters. They go hand in hand.
They are like twins who grow together. So, if you wish for all suffering in your life to be small, then the level of happiness you achieve in life is going to be small as well.
“No pain, no gain” – I know it’s an overused cliché, but it’s the truth. None of the people who succeeded in life on their own had it easy. Thomas Edison, one of the most successful inventors in history, failed 10.000 times before he invented the lightbulb. Instead of accepting defeat, Edison understood that if he wants to be successful, he has to work hard and test each idea until he would find the one that works
Any goal that is worthwhile will have an equal amount of suffering required that goes with it. In other words, the harder something is to achieve the more worthy it is. And, the more you’ll suffer now, the greater the reward.
Great Things Are for the Great
There’s an excellent quote from Nietzsche that sums up the ideas above.
It goes like this:
“In the end, it must be as it is and always has been: great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare.”
Great things remain for the great. Rare things remain for the rare.
Let’s drill into that so you can fully internalize it. Not everyone can be Michael Jordan. Not everyone can be Tom Brady. Not everyone can be the President of the United States. Not everyone can win a Nobel Prize. Great things remain for the great, and rare things remain for the rare.
If it were easy, everyone would be great; everyone would have rare things. Put that into perspective with whatever goal you’re trying to achieve. I internalized it, by realizing that everyone isn’t entitled to living a six-figure lifestyle. Evident by the number of people twice my age who had yet to achieve this goal. As a result, I had to be motivated to be great and rare at an early age if I wanted to achieve this lifestyle in my twenties.
Thus, if you want to become Superman and achieve your fullest potential, you need to accept that it’s going to take a lot of hard work. The ride isn’t going to be straight nor smooth. You must have the will-power to turn every roadblock into an advantage.
There’s No Right or Wrong Path
Remember: just as there are different “why’s” that motivate people to achieve their fullest potential, there are different paths to in achieving it. Besides the physical world, Nietzsche believed everything else in our world was a subjective reality. In other words, there is no singular way to do something.
“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
Reaching your fullest potential is something very personal. What worked for others might not work for you and vice versa.
You need to create your set of values and follow them carefully. Don’t outsource this vital aspect of your life to others, regardless if it’s your family, religion or society. Think for yourself because none of these institutions know you as you do.
You know better than anyone what you can do and what you can’t do. Only you know your inner strength and how far you are willing to go to reach your full potential.
That said, you need to distance yourself from any form of herd mentality and rely on your independent thinking abilities. Of course, we live in society, and there are some ground rules we should follow, but, as long as your sense of liberty doesn’t hurt others, you are free to act as you wish.
So, don’t do what you’re told just because everyone acts this way. As I said, what worked for others might not work for you. Take any quick solution with a grain of salt. Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy.
Avoid Herd Mentality
“The more dangerous a quality seems to the herd, the more thoroughly is it proscribed.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
If you want to be great and do rare things, you need to step out of the herd. You have to learn to trust and have confidence in yourself when it comes to achieving your goals. If you are a great leader, you will empower your followers to pursue their path. You don’t want to lead a group of people who aren’t able to think for themselves. You want creative individuals who, just like you, aren’t afraid to question the status quo.
The problem with herd mentality is that it’s hard to spot it. People like to think that they are special and that they do things on their terms. But, in reality, most people don’t like to be left out. So, they mimic what other people are doing.
It’s easier and more comfortable than going against the current. But, you’ll never achieve your fullest potential like this. You’ll become just an echo of other’s thoughts and ideas.
Don’t get me wrong: you should listen to what other people have to say. Chances are, you’re not the smartest person on the planet. But take their ideas and filter them through your system of belief. Filter, analyze, compare, and then conclude. Most importantly, always keep an open mind. As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Whoever claims with absolute certainty that an idea is 100% correct is either naïve or fooling himself.
Don’t Put Your Life in the Hands of Others
Becoming Superman and stepping out of the herd also means taking your destiny into your hands. Not one of the heroes you know, whether it’s Superman, Batman or Spiderman waited for others to solve their problems. They saw something that needed to be done and made it happen.
So, another advice for you, if you want to reach your full potential, is to not outsource this goal to prayer or gods in the sky.
Nietzsche had this controversial quote.
“You look up when you wish to be exalted. And I look down because I am exalted.”
Meaning that while you believe that others have the power to change your life, the truth is the power lies in yourself. But, you give others the power to lead your life by not realizing you could be the one in control.
Don’t Hope for Miracles
You shouldn’t rely on divine intervention because it will prevent you from holding yourself accountable. “It’s not my fault I didn’t succeed. It means God didn’t want me to.” It’s an easy excuse to give yourself in the face of adversity.
But, taking responsibility is part of the journey toward becoming your best self. Sure, being the only one responsible for your life can sometimes be overwhelming. It’s much more convenient to think that a superior power controls your life.
Keep this in mind: taking responsibility for yourself gives you the ability to create what you want in your life. Here’s how you can do that:
Become Aware: If you want to reach your fullest potential, you need to understand that you create everything in your experience. Every part of your life originates from your mind.
Create Your Experience: By creating your experiences, you can control what and who you invite into your life. So, instead of just reacting to what happens to you, you will be the creator of your experience.
Act, Don’t React: People usually respond to what is going on around them without realizing that by paying attention only to the negative things and shortcomings, they are attracting them. They see the same things repeat, but rarely do something about them. If you want something to be different, then act upon it.
Understand the Implication of Your Actions: Admit you were the one causing yourself pain because of your thoughts and actions. Only then can you gain control over your life, and begin changing it for the better.
Be Aware of Your Fears: By accepting your fears and realizing what they prevent you from doing, you can control them.
Understand That Nothing Is Given to You
Here’s another way that might help you take action and stop waiting for things to happen to you. Imagine nothing will ever be given to you. You must go out there and earn it. That means, instead of praying for a better life, you will be the one creating a better life. Instead of praying to have more money, you will figure out how to make more money. Imagine if you believed that prayers and wishing don’t work, and you completely removed them from your psyche. That would mean anything you want you will have to go out there and get it for yourself.
There’s a short story that can help you understand this point better.
There was a man who desperately wanted to win the lottery. So, he prayed to God every day to help him win. Every morning and night, he would raise his voice to the sky, asking the Mighty Lord to fulfill his burning desire. One day, God looks down at him and says:
“If you want to win the lottery, buy a damn ticket!”
You see, it’s all up to you. No God can help you if you’re not taking any action. So, instead of looking up to the sky waiting for divine intervention, why not create your heaven here on Earth? Don’t just sit around waiting for the perfect moment. It will never come. There’s no better time than the present to take action.
The Present Moment Is the Only Time You Have Total Control: The past is the past, you can’t change what happened, and you can only plan and fantasize about the future. So, the only time you know is now. And, it’s yours to control. You can either ignore it or make the best of it. If you want to reach your fullest potential, I suggest you do the latter.
Each Moment Is a Gift: I’m sure you know the saying “Carpe diem” and maybe you even think it’s a cliché. But, the truth is you should live in the moment because you don’t know how many moments you will get to experience. Your next moment is not guaranteed, so why not take advantage of the one you are in right now?
Being Present Is a Great Stress Reducer: Thinking about the past often makes us suffer because it brings along regrets. Thinking about the future, on the other hand, can be stressful because we can’t control what will happen. Thus, staying in the present will help you reduce stress because you will avoid unnecessary worries.
Living in the Present Will Make You Happier: As I already said, being present reduces stress. And less stress means more happiness. Worrying about the future doesn’t help. Neither does regretting the past. But focusing on “now” does. Be grateful for what you have today and make the best of it.
Take Responsibility for Your Life
Blaming others for your failures can make you feel better about yourself. It’s not your fault that you can’t reach your goals – it’s society’s fault, you say to yourself.
But, understanding that no one else is accountable for your life except you, will make you feel even better in the long run.
If you already are an independent person, this way of thinking will help you feel even more independent. On the other hand, if you rely on people too much, understanding that they are not responsible for your happiness will set you free. Maybe not at first. At first, you might feel confused. But as time goes by and you put your thoughts in order, you’ll see how empowering this new approach is. Let me show you why:
You Will Achieve a Sense of Accomplishment: Knowing you’ve earned something on your own will make you feel confident and proud. And, that feeling is priceless.
As You Grow, New Experiences Will Arise: You can’t evolve if you depend on others. But depending on yourself will bring you opportunities you didn’t even think you had. Instead of staying in the passenger seat, you need to be the one driving.
You Will Stop Being a Taker, and You Will Become a Giver: When you become responsible for your life, others will benefit from your knowledge. Giving back is a better feeling that receiving.
You Will Discover Your Purpose: You can only find your true meaning in life if you take full responsibility for your destiny. No one else can find it for you. People might guide you, but you are the one who has to act on it.
In the end, it all comes down to this:
If you want to become Superman, you need to internalize the following mindset: you are accountable for your life; it’s all up to you! And, that’s good news because it means you are empowered. You get to choose the way you live your life.
Being a superhero is not a fantasy we only get to live through cartoons or movies. You can live it every day if you want to. But, you must be willing to make a few sacrifices to achieve your fullest potential.
First of all, you need to understand that you can’t reach the pinnacle of success without walking through pain and suffering. It might sound like odd advice, but you need to embrace suffering and look at it as a natural part of the process to self-fulfillment. Without it, it’s hard to say if you are on the right track.
But, don’t just put yourself through hell for the sake of it. Try to find meaning in your suffering and learn something valuable from every roadblock you encounter. Find out what drives you, and you’ll have the power to overcome any obstacle, no matter how big.
Understand that suffering makes you not only stronger but also more empathetic. It’s easier to help people when you know what they have to go through to reach their goals. It also makes you want to share your creative ideas and solutions with others. Pain and suffering can turn you into a better version of yourself.
Another important thing you need to remember if you want to become Superman is that you should follow your path and trust yourself, no matter what others say. You know best when it comes to your life. That means you shouldn’t blindly follow what others tell you. In spite of what they might want you to believe, there’s no single or right way of reaching your fullest potential. What worked for others might not work for you and vice versa. So, step out of the herd mentality and become a leader who inspires others to lead. Only then can you achieve great things.
But, before you begin your journey, you need to be aware of one crucial thing: it won’t be easy. It will involve a lot of pain, effort, and sacrifices. But, nothing that is worthwhile is ever easy, right?
And, most importantly, don’t hope for miracles. You are the only one responsible for your life. You can’t become Superman if you don’t stand on your own two feet. You can’t become Superman if you expect things to happen to you. You have to make them happen.
So, instead of depending on religion, family or society, you should rely on yourself. You’ll then feel free, powerful and in charge, just like a superhero. No more praying to gods in the sky or wishing for things in your life to change. You take personal responsibility in building your heaven right here on Earth, in this present moment. A task that you will have to achieve by yourself, without any divine intervention.
So, stop complaining and wasting time! Live here and now, take charge of your destiny and discover the best ways to achieve your fullest potential! Then act on it and, sooner than you know, you will become Superman, the best version of yourself.