I read the papers today. Berita Harian to be exact. The full forum page that was dedicated to the discussion of the problems of the community, to be more specific. Scores of opinions, views and recommendations were put forth. However, one train of thought provoked my inner sanctum. That recurring theme, called Personal Empowerment. In essence, people were crying out for efforts and initiatives to be drawn up, so that the community will be empowered. I just thought that the idea was contradictory, since self empowerment should stem out from the roots of personal motivations rather than a community’s initiation. But anyway, it’s the job of the policy makers to worry about it for now. The passive voice in me, kinda beeps with that blinking sounds of, “Just wait and see, Jaz.” For now at least…
I was surfing You Tube, trying to find something inspiring. And that beeping voice cried out for one of evergreen, motivational song of all time. Five For Fighting’s “Superman”. I used to repeatedly play this song, whilst going through an episode of failed romance, failed life and all sorts of failed ventures. The lyrics of the song strikes a chord. Even till now. Words, such as, “…looking for special things,inside of me.””I’m only a man, looking for a dream.”and my all time favorite “It’s not easy to be me…” The words in the song seems to carry that pertinent tone of effort. That side of knowing, how powerful one can be, yet be susceptible to the common flaws of a human being.
Truth be told, these days, I am a bit uncomfortable with the overwhelming thoughts of positivity, great attitudes, NLPs, affirmations and whatever not there is to that grey area of self development and empowerment. Self help mentors and gurus, are thriving and flourishing like shitake mushrooms. As I reflect on my own journey in life, and trying to grasp with the progress I made, I realized that I did not actually thrive on positive energy, that is so abundant these days. Yes, I did have score of motivational literatures and audios. I hypnotized myself. I affirmed myself. I influenced myself. And all that positive efforts paled in comparison, to the power of depression, sadness, helplessness and failure.
Okay, perhaps this is an antithesis of the whole idea of self empowerment, but I seriously believe that I was at my peak and productive self when, I was just feeling plain shitty about my life and circumstances. The best perfect example, as I’ve mentioned before, and which still serves as the most vivid example of potential power, that’s unleashed, happened when I found out a loved one cheating on me. The broken door hinge in my home, to this very day, best illustrates the amount of kinetic energy a body possess under great duress. I mean, I just broke a brass hinge on the door. Nothing big. I mean, I just did it with my fingers…
The fact is, and was back then, I unleashed my own personal kinetic power under immense sadness, anger and just pure helplessness. It’s lame, but I definitely did not affirm myself to that episode.
Or, the fact that I scored two goals, a day after that, in a soccer match. Kinda channeled all that anger into a singular and purposeful energy.
Anyway, this is just a side example. The main matter here is that, there is a Superman within all of us. That immense potential that was engineered and designed to be unleashed for the greater good, amongst us. Indeed, most do not realize this, and perhaps die with that thing called unfulfilled destiny. I am seriously of that belief that we were not created in vain, and that rather corny joke about being the fittest sperm, as something which is true. It’s pure ridiculous, even for an intellectual atheist to say that life ends as it is, and that’s it. If we started off life, as a race between wiggling sperms, then there has to be due rewards at the end of it, right? The thought that we just die, and turn into crushed dust, without nothing to look forward to, is just grim and in my honest opinion, sad. So, yeah, now we know, why there is that concept of afterlife.
Besides that point, is not life then, a grand scheme of making sure potentials and destinies are fulfilled. God has made it so succinctly clear in the Holy Quran, that we, are made out to be leaders. Our Prophet has explained that we are all Shepherds, clearly responsible for our flocks. So there we have it. That tinge of reminders, that hey, we have within us that innate capability to impact the world, the people in that frame of accountability. Yet, so many of us, choose to be swayed into that mode of carefree dependency. The Que Sera Sera.
Anyway, here’s my personal take on this whole Superman symbolism in my life. Contrary to what I initially perceive, as unIslamic, Superman, as a concept, is not really that far from that imagery of unlimited possibilities. The Prophet’s Companions, in my humble opinion, showcased even greater traits than the American Superman. The reasons are quite simply on the basis that, despite the lack of technologies, and intellectual advances, they shaped a whole landscape of history. Those facets deserve another blog post, considering the scopes it covers. Even one Companion of the Prophet can take volumes of self development materials.
But here’s my Supermanic views of self empowerment, and how it may be employed.
Powers Are Developed
– I take it that we all possess, natural talents. Things that God endowed us with. Superman was born with the ability to fly, run at speed and leap with heights. But he never discovered all that till a circumstance arrives, thus facilitating an opportunity to realize his powers. We are like that. Abundant in potential, and will probably take some time to be unleashed. But we definitely have them. Either wait for the circumstance, or make one. You will never know you can fly till you are pushed off a building.
Earth’s Sole Protector
– In Superman’s context, he sees himself as the only defender towards everything evil. In my context of application, it’s about having, knowing and executing a greater purpose in life. That’s what we lack at times. That image of having a big enough reason to exist. Most of us are probably contented with being just another citizen in Metropolis. Sure it gets you by. You will be safe and contented. And so will 5.9 billion other people. So the cake is this. What is your purpose? Whats de mission?
Having a Lois Lane / Lex Luthor
– Existing and wanting to have a purpose is pointless, if you do not have sources of love and hatred. In Superman’s case, it’s Lois and Luthor. We need to be motivated. What better way to motivate ourselves than to know, that a loved one is always in need of us, and a competitor is out to get us. We have to draw that innate energy from somewhere, and sometimes when we get disillusioned by our greater purpose, a loved one or foe comes in handy. Besides, we need the fun and challenges.
– It is imperative that we know what our Kryptonite looks like. For me, it comes in the form of feelings. Intense feelings can affect me, drain me and just kill me. For some it’s lack of cash. For others, it’s lack of sex. Or whatever. But knowing that vulnerability within you is of utmost importance. Cause you’ll never know, who might have them. Yups. It can even be a loved one, unknowingly. When you know your Kryptonite, you will know how to avoid it at all costs.
In general, the points above are not extensive, but they definitely carry weight in my evaluation with regards to effective personal empowerment. I recognize that the above has been and probably my guiding light. This post will serve to remind me in years to come, that it will be the right approach.
I concur with the song…
“…even heroes have the right to dream.”