Stan Lee thinks superhumans are genetically mutated humans with astonishing abilities—superheroes, in every sense of the word. But breaking down “superhuman” into its two root words gives a simpler concept, defined as “more than or above human.” Any of us can become superhuman, not just those that hit the luck of the genetic lottery.
Becoming superhuman, to me, means living a life that’s greater than that of an average person. I think my first step into this world came in 2001, when I started tricking. At the time, I could barely cartwheel. Every trick seemed impossible. But after years of practice, my walls of possibility pushed further and further. Granted, I was far from the best. The important part, however, was that I kept going, eventually building myself into something I never imagined being.
Call it enlightenment, but this entire experience changed the way I walk in the world. Breaking tricking barriers showed me that I was capable of something more than I dreamed possible. Basil William Maturin in his book, Self-Knowledge and Self-Discipline, describes this perfectly:
And yet the man who has caught but a momentary glimpse of that vast unknown inner life can never be the same as he was before; he must be better or worse, trying to explore and possess and cultivate that unknown world within him, or trying—oh, would that he could succeed!—to forget it. He has seen that alongside of, or far out beyond the reach of, the commonplace life of routine, another life stretches away whither he knows not, he feels that he has greater capacities for good or evil than he ever imagined. He has, in a word, awakened with tremulous awe to the discovery that his life which he has hitherto believed limited and confined to what he knew, reaches infinitely beyond his knowledge and is far greater than he ever dreamed.
That attitude has since stuck with me. Tricking is a game. It taxes not only the physical but also the mental, emotional, and spiritual confines of your mind. It’s forever struggling with the conception of possibility.
When I shifted from tricking to fitness in 2005, I took that mentality with me during a body recomposition expedition. Truthfully, I couldn’t imagine being “fit,” just like I couldn’t imagine doing fancy flips, kicks, and twists. But I pushed through and accomplished the recomp. Somehow. And even now, as I quest towards a lean 225 pounds, I have my doubts. But I should know better. This superhuman mindset follows me and has since rolled over into nearly every aspect of my life. Being average isn’t good enough. It never has been.
Even though I went to college have an average job and live an average life, higher powers had other plans I guess. After six months of teaching, I was furloughed. No job prospects lived. Once again, I pushed for something I felt was out of my reach in writing for fitness magazines. And then later, writing an eBook: An Athlete’s Guide to Chronic Knee Pain (which, by the way has gotten such a positive response that I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart).
THE WORLD OF REDBULL
If you ever took a look at my about page, you would see that I declared love for RedBull. Yet I only drank RedBull twice in my life. The first time was before my high school talent show (my friends and I tricked—it wasn’t a good showing). The second time was with an abundance of Jägermeister, subsequently leading to a night of bad decisions.
I don’t love RedBull because of the beverage itself. I love RedBull because of the brand. I love how they took the concept of “wings” and expanded its meaning to include doing superhuman things and living a superhuman life. So when you hear, “Welcome to my world, the world of RedBull,” you know something off the wall is about to happen.
Don’t discount your ability to be superhuman. Ever.
I’m not the best trickster. But you better damn believe I’ve poured my heart out on the grass and landed on my neck a few times trying new moves. I’m not the strongest person. But you better damn believe I’ve struggled under the bar. Hell, I’m not even a coach anymore. But you better damn believe I work hard at perfecting my writing craft, experimenting, and learning to continue my career. I’m not a millionaire. But you better damn believe I have enough confidence to think I’ll have more than enough money while simultaneously doing work I love. I’m not the most well rounded person in the universe. I struggle making eye contact with strangers. But you better damn believe I’m always striving to become above average.
So I’m not superhuman. But you better damn believe I’m working on it.
A GOOD START
The Art of Manliness, one of my favorite blogs, gives some superhuman insight:
Becoming superhuman involves reaching for ever greater heights in all areas of our lives: physical, mental, moral, and spiritual.
The average man spends his days as a sedentary lump; the superhuman man strives to keep himself in peak physical condition.
The average man rarely cracks open a book after college; the superhuman man is dedicated to lifelong learning, constantly feeding his mind with books, magazines, and newspapers and studying a wide variety of topics.
The average man cheats and fudges here and there; the superhuman man makes his word his bond and lives every day with integrity.
The average man is content with surface pleasures and material goods; the superhuman man explores the greater depths of life through meditation or prayer.
From the top of my head, here are my additions. Feel free to add your own insights in the comments section. I’ll gladly include what deserves to make the cut as I want this list to grow.
The average man has no emotion or meaning in his work. The superhuman strives to find more meaning and enjoyment in his work.
The average man is afraid of escaping comfort zones. The superhuman knows life begins where comfort zones end.
The average man is afraid of authority and making eye contact with those he talks to. The superhuman knows his worth and looks everyone in the eye.
The average man lies to get out of binds. The superhuman would rather tell the truth than live with the burden deception.
The average man settles. The superhuman strives to reach his peak in every aspect of life and is always learning and growing.
The average man dreams. The superhuman acts.
What are your strengths? Weaknesses? What can you do to become superhuman? What can you work on starting tomorrow to live a happier life?
FINDING YOUR ESSENCE
Aspiring writers and bloggers e-mail me occasionally. Their most common concern is that they don’t know what to write about. Most times I tell them not to worry, and just write. And I can do this confidently because, well, that’s exactly what I do. I open up Evernote and let things go.
But I think the concern is more about getting lost in the shuffle. They want to know how to stand out. How to get noticed. It’s not an easy question to answer. For six months the amount of views on my blog was paltry. But I didn’t care. I was just getting my thoughts out there. Even to this day, I don’t often look at my little Jetpack Plug-In.
For anyone that’s followed me for a respectable amount of time, you know that I bounce around a lot. Truthfully, I feel I’m as lost in the shuffle as any shuffler can be lost.
When I first started blogging, I was still focused on my coaching and teaching career. Blogging was a side interest. Getting paid to write was a fantasy. So most of my content was suited to athletes and coaches alike. For instance, I had a huge four part series about strength imbalances. My swagger was that of hate and disdain for the fitness industry. Over time, I met and talked to some integral people and my attitudes and beliefs shifted. I’m more humble that I have ever been and more respectful of everyone in the industry. But like a lot of aspiring bloggers and writers, I’ve always felt lost because I’m ever-changing. I began as a cocky coach that thought everyone should be forced to read Supertraining and like-texts. Slowly, I evolved into a humble writer that has no problem admitting deriving more enjoyment from eating chalk than reading Supertraining. (I should note, however, that I did read it and did learn, so I don’t regret it.) But I just can’t get enough of it and my respect grows daily for everyone within the industry.
Almost every night, I ask myself what I can be doing better. And when my alarm clock goes off the next morning, I try implementing whatever it was that ended up in my sketchnotes. That’s why I update the about section countless times. It’s all about the people that read this blog, and what I can do to make their stay better. When I find something that I really like, I run with it. The way I see it, I’m just amassing bricks on my house.
You don’t try to build a wall. You don’t set out and say ‘I’m gonna build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that has ever been built’. You say ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid’. You do this every single day, and soon you have a wall.
- Will Smith
But with that, I think a lot of people that try to get involved in the online space try being someone they aren’t. Look, if you don’t coach that’s fine. Just own it. Some people may discount your voice, but others won’t. Nerd Fitness is a great example of this. On Steve’s about page, he has this bolded: I am NOT a fitness expert.
Be yourself and do great things. Everyone wants to hear from those that do great things. But the moment you fraud is the moment you lose. Charlie Sheen tells everyone he does drugs and when he gets caught doing drugs, everyone loves him. Tiger Woods portrays a saint and savior, and when he cheats on his wife he’s the devil.
As trite as it sounds, if you’re wondering what kind of person to portray in the online space, you’re failing. Portray yourself.
As far as what kind of things you should write about, think about your essence. Essence, as described by Steve Jobs, is something that, if not fulfilled causes sadness. Essence drove the success of Toy Story. The creators of the movie believed all toys had one singular essence: they wanted to be accepted and loved by a child. Without their essence, their existence is incomplete.
So if you don’t know what to write about, find your essence. If taken away, what would make you incomplete?
As a self reflection, I think it’s time to own up to who I am. I’m not an “in person” coach anymore. I’m a writer and online coach—just a guy that’s striving to live each day better than the previous one by pushing the boundaries that are arbitrarily conceptualized by the confines of my mind.
And my essence? Well, I think I’ve found it: become superhuman. Truly, I’m not sure if I have a choice. As Basil William Maturin mentioned, I saw the light. I know what it’s like on this side. And I’m not sure if I can go back. Will you join me?