Invincibility, Superheroes and Individuality

I’ve been thinking lately about what it means to be invincible. How does a person feel invincible? How does a team feel invincible? How does a company feel invincible? How does a nation feel invincible?

Invincibility, and what it makes us feel we can do is an interesting concept.

I’m a tennis fan, and for just under ten years, Roger Federer ruled the game on most surfaces. He was world number one for most of that period. In golf, Tiger Woods raked up the number of majors titles he was winning. In Formula 1 racing, Michael Schumacher was arguably the world’s best driver. In business, Bill Gates created an empire and a legacy like never before all because of a simple product.

Did these people feel invincible at the top of their game?

Individuals are capable of creating such excellence in what they do that they can’t be surpassed.

I enjoy comic book characters. In truth I’ve only ever enjoyed one superhero over any other, and that’s Spider-Man. I like the others for the worlds created around them, the powers they possess, the enemies they have to fight, and the fact that in the end good always conquers evil. But you take any of those characters, and as individuals, they achieve great feats – saving loved ones, defeating bad guys, cleverly deciphering puzzles, saving the day. They’re always reminded of their mortality because normally there’s always some kind of impending death threat, or actual death occurring which spurs them into action.

Thankfully, in most countries at least, we’re spared those kinds of realities where loved ones are at threat of death.

And those superheroes, they all have a sense of invincibility about what they do. That’s why they keep on. Because regardless of the personal harm, they will survive, and they will be great at what they do. Their struggles and their fights harden them, give them experience, and they learn deeply about themselves and others.

It’s all quite enrapturing.

But what happens?

Quite soon, individuals realise that they need others around them. It’s almost inevitable.

We know that in the main, humans are social beasts. We actively seek out human contact wherever possible. It’s why social apps of various sorts are so popular – they tap into a fundamental human quality which is about connection.

But when we have those around us who provide us with a deep sense of support, that’s when amazing things happen.

That’s when things like the Olympic Games happen.

That’s when things like the Avengers come together.

That’s when things like football teams are victorious.

That’s when things like man lands on the moon.

That’s when things like a book of blogs comes together.

Amazing things happen because someone believes in someone else enough to say – whatever you think, whatever you want, whatever you need, I’m there by your side, ready to make it happen.

That support, when it’s present in a team, that’s invincibility right there.

Finding a group of people to come together with and create a community from isn’t hard. Taking that group of people and doing things which push the boundaries, that’s hard. It takes effort, it takes courage, it takes commitment. But when the people you’re with are encouraging, positive, and you’re working towards something amazing, that’s an unbeatable experience right there.

What superheroes realised is that when a threat came to be that was greater than any of them individually, that’s where they came unstuck. When they could take all of their super powers and bring them together, that’s when they became an unstoppable force.

I’ve written before about signature strengths, and I think that when we find our signature strength, is when we find our super power. And when we find our super power is when we can start to explore how to be our invincible self.

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Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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