You already know Spider-man’s backstory.
Even if you aren’t into superheroes, you know it.
So I’ll take a page from the MCU’s book and skip over that, getting to the good stuff:
I’m not going to say he’s wrong about… you know, his advice. It’s useful if you find yourself with power.
But most of us don’t have superpowers, which makes his advice backwards.
Unless he knew Peter was Spider-man, what he should have said was:
“With great responsibility comes great power.”
What do I mean by that?
Well, take the average schmuck like you or me. There’s something about the world that really bothers them. I’m sure there’s something like that for you – some fixable problem that’s ignored, as if it’s a symptom of our collective madness.
Let’s say, for them, it’s world hunger. That’s something we could solve if we prioritised it, and that keeps our friendly neighbourhood dreamer awake at night.
So, one day, they decide to take responsibility for it.
But what can they do? They’re just one person. They’re rich by global standards, but definitely not by their country’s. Certainly not rich enough to feed the globe.
And it’s not like they have the ear of any kings, CEOs or world leaders.
But they’re not exactly helpless.
They start by raising money for charities. That helps a little, but they know they can do more.
So they work for a charity. Again, that makes a difference… but not enough.
So they travel to some of the poorest, hungriest parts of the world to help directly.
Every person they help is a life saved. Even so, this problem is enormous. A person can do a lot of good like this but it won’t change the system that keeps the problem alive.
They decide to do more.
In their spare time – not that they have much of that – they study.
History – to learn how the problem came to be.
Agriculture – to learn new ways to create life-saving, nutritious food.
Mechanical engineering – to learn how to use what these people have to create what they need.
Economics – to learn what keeps the wealth from flowing here.
Influence and persuasion – to learn how to be heard, not just to speak. Persuading those they help to share their ideas and adopt the solutions. Influencing the powers that be to support what needs supporting.
Entrepreneurship and management – because maybe it takes a business to solve these problems.
This person isn’t learning these for fun. They’re not learning them to impress folks at parties or pad their CV. They’re doing it to end needless suffering they see every day.
Which means they’ll learn them deep.
Deep enough to become powerful.
One person can change the world – but an average person can’t. It takes a powerful constellation of skills and the drive to use them.
You don’t get there by chasing glory, money or power. Those rewards don’t go to the pure of heart, the strong, the ambitious or even necessarily the worthy. They go to those who solve real problems.
If you’re feeling helpless right now – and I wouldn’t blame you if you are – this is how you feel powerful.
Of course, most folks who take responsibility for the world run into problems.
They give up or burn out.
That’s because they dive in without laying the foundations first. Before you learn anything else, it pays to know your own mind.
How to learn faster, stay focused and keep your sanity.