Superhero or Villain
I think one of the reasons we look up to Superman so much is because of his selflessness. Think about it. If he was selfish, then he wouldn’t be a superhero – he would be a villain. Villains are characterized by their selfish desire to get what they want (power, money, etc.) at any cost.
So why is it that more adults aren’t selfless?
I think in part it’s because they are not trained or brought up to be that way. Even though selflessness is a trait that we admire in superman, it’s not something we admire in our kids who, by the way, later become adults. Think about it. We push our children to be ruthless at what ever they take part in. We tell them, “win at all costs”, and so they do. And this principle of carries through into their adult lives. Once they’re are grown up they get the same advice in order to succeed in their careers; bends the rules here – push somebody out of the way there.
And somehow we expect them to be the type of selfless people we are inspired by.
So is winning bad?
Not that winning or striving to succeed is a bad thing, but winning requires that someone else lose. It requires that we outperform, outsmart, or out-strategize the opponent. My purpose is not to demonize winning, but instead to get us to question the motive behind winning. Is it simply to win for purposes of self-aggrandizement? Or is there a greater good?
We need to find a balance
I believe that we need to teach those we have influence over to balance ambition with character. Ambition with character says, yes win the game, but show sportsmanship when you lose and especially if you win. Ambition with character says people are more important then a trophy on the wall or a few more dollars in the bank account.
So let’s teach those we have influence over how to win and how to lose, how to serve and how to be served, how to be first and how to be last. Selflessness says it’s not about me it’s about the team and it’s not about me it’s about people. A good balance of ambition and character will help them ask the question, ” am I winning at the right things?”, or as the bible tells us, “what profit is there for you to gain the whole world and lose yourself in the process?“. And if they have an unselfish concern for the welfare of others they will choose to make to hard decisions even if they don’t win, lose money, lose the job, take second place, or choose a path based on passion not profit.
This is how they will become the “super-humans” we are all inspired by.