Back in June, we asked you to tell us your favorite superpower. After reviewing several entries, our expert panel of judges has selected Gary Zenker’s piece on “The superpower I want most.”
By Gary Zenker
To select just one — and just one — superpower is akin to making someone choose just one ice cream flavor from a Baskin Robbins or one flavor from Rita’s Water Ice. It can be done, of course, made easier knowing that others await to be sampled another day. Choosing one with the knowledge that it precludes you from ever trying another makes the choice harder…but mostly for those individuals focused on themselves.
My personal choice is perhaps easier than for others. It dates back to one of America’s first superheroes, Superman, and what is in reality his most striking power.
That power isn’t the one you would first think. It isn’t his super strength, his invulnerability, or even that crazy freeze breath he sometimes uses against select villains in the (excuse the pun) heat of battle. In fact, his most striking power and the one I would want most is none of those he acquired by living under a yellow sun. The power I would want most is the one he learned from his father as superman grew from boy to adult. The power I would want is the ability to influence others to be better.
By holding an absolute moral code by which he lives and acts, people know what Superman stands for…and what he stands against. Superman believes in doing the right thing, no matter how people treat him. And we know he stands by that code no matter what is thrown at him (or by whom it is thrown).That power doesn’t come free: it exacts a definite price involving personal sacrifice. Superman must always live the part because one slip and he is labeled a hypocrite at best. At worst, he loses the trust others have in him, no matter how many good deeds he does or how many lives he changes for the better. Kryptonite isn’t the only thing that can take away his most astounding power. And he is well aware of it.
The power to influence people around you can affect tens, hundreds, or even thousands of other people and continue to do so far into the future. But you only have to affect one other person for someone to declare that you possess superpowers.
You don’t have to affect everyone around you to be a Superman. If you have a young child (like I do) you know that you can be that superhero…at least for a short time. Each one of us has, at some point in our lives, had someone do something for us so extraordinary that we remember that moment forever. And we model that behavior and pay it forward to others.
After some careful thought, it turns out that I already have the superpower that I want most. The everyday challenge is ensuring that I use that power for good every day and every time.
Gary Zenker is a 25 year marketing professional, helping companies and entrepreneurs create strategic plans and then implement them. He also founded and leads The Main Line Writers Group in King of Prussia PA. His first book, co-authored with his son Seth, Says Seth, offers life observations from a six year old perspective with snarky after-comments and is available through Amazon and on Kindle. He is (obviously) a big fan of superheroes and the many lessons we learn from their stories.