Why the world doesn’t need Superman but needs Shake-Uppers instead


Everybody wants to be a superhero

Everybody wants to be Superman. He is cool, strong, and trusted. He is not afraid of embracing change and jumping into new situations. But what if, as Lois Lane said, “The world doesn’t need Superman?” What if the world needs Shake-Uppers instead?

Close your eyes

Oops! Well, I can’t say that, as this is an article and you won’t be able to read it with your eyes closed. But in the spirit of trying an experiential approach, I can ask you to press the play button at the end of this sentence and stop whatever you are doing right now for just a few seconds. Bear with me. Only three, two, one: press play and close your eyes.


Who doesn’t recognize what I am talking about? Who doesn’t remember the music crescendo that use to announce that he was coming? Superman—the best-selling comic book superhero of all time.

I grew up watching and day-dreaming about Superman, an inspiring hero with a catalog of abilities and strengths and two very different weaknesses: kryptonite and Lois Lane. Yes, indeed, the same Lois Lane who—fast-forward to 2006 in Superman Returns—wrote the article “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman.”

Lois Lane, in that fictional article, poses a couple of provocative questions. Now, we all know that she was in love with Superman and that she was missing him. The article is just a bit biased, but the intriguing questions are valid.

What is a hero, anyway? Does one have to have superpowers, special abilities, or incredible talent to be a considerable one? Superman led us to forget our real heroes.

We all have superpowers

Yes, indeed, we all have superpowers, and sometimes it is worth repeating it out loud.

There are moments in our lives when we are perfectly aware of that power, and we are even able to use it at our best, exactly when and where we need it the most. In those moments, there is a sort of great invisible relationship between us and our best selves. Everything is in equilibrium. Everything is working perfectly.

Then there are circumstances when we are almost totally blind about our real capabilities and strengths. Our self-awareness is literally on vacation. Everything seems outside our Comfort Zones, unfamiliar, frustrating, and sometimes scary. It is not that the relationship with our best selves is not good anymore—it doesn’t exist at all. Everything is off track.

Of course, there are also tons of situations in between those two opposite scenarios, with nuances and differences based on circumstances, on the people we interact with, or based on how we feel.

How we feel

How we feel is essential. How we feel is at the core of our body/mind balance. Emotions play a foundational and sometimes underestimated role in our lives.

Our daily lives are fast and furious. Technology gives us constant access to everything: we can shop whenever and wherever we want, we can go digitally everywhere immediately. We can physically reach almost any place in hours. We can interact with people from different cultures and with varying identities and beliefs with a click. We tend to pretend to have everything right here and right now with a minimum of effort. We value the instant gratification of a few likes and the perfection of anyone else on our Instagram feed. Those are only a few examples of external changes that impact our daily lives. Consciously and unconsciously, they touch us deeply. They trigger reactions that, most of the time, are emotional, which brings us back to how critical it is to be mindful of how we and other people around us feel.

Emotions are our superpower

Among other superpowers that we have, emotions are probably the most overlooked. Yes, indeed, our emotions are our superpower. They can lead us to the best or the worst. Emotional self-awareness should be in everybody’s learning agenda. Have you ever thought about how much you know about emotions and about what and how you feel? What if I tell you that you have a couple of minutes to make a list of the emotions that you feel right now? How many emotions are you able to mention? How many ways to express positive feelings do you know? What about the negative emotion? How do you feel when you are facing something new and unexpected?

Don’t panic—try to relax and mindfully think about that. Without knowing it, you will achieve a level of consciousness about your emotions that is the number one step to learn more and work on your superpower. Training ourselves to recognize, understand, and name the full spectrum of the emotions at our disposal and becoming more mindful about the feelings we are experiencing is the first critical step toward expanding our comfort zones and training for change.

What is a hero?

Does one have to have superpowers, special abilities, or incredible talent to be considered a hero? Superman led us to forget our real heroes. Lois Lane’s take on Superman makes me think of the Shake-Uppers.

Shake-Uppers are people with superpowers. They see the need for change and are ready to embrace it. They take action, they move. Shake-uppers believe in the power of learning and improving during their entire lives. They value the growth-minded approach of people ready to know more, to understand and to work on themselves—on their beliefs, thoughts, and habits—to make things happen and embrace change. They are curious about themselves and curious about the world that surrounds them. They value experiences—both positive and seemingly negative—because they can help them grow and improve.

Shake-Uppers are conscious of the importance of their emotional well-being. They recognize that emotions are a great superpower, and they are ready to develop their knowledge. They start small with the micro-decisions, micro-moments, and micro-activities of their daily lives.

Shake-Uppers are everyday heroes. Lois Lane is right: the world doesn’t need Superman. The world needs Shake-Uppers. And we are here to become them.

I am an aspiring Shake-Upper. What about you?

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

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