Life lessons from Spiderman

The new Amazing Spiderman movie was released this week.  Of course I’ve seen it twice, and beaten the Xbox game as well.  I’m a geek but that isn’t news to anybody that know’s me; almost a bit like Howard Wolowitz if he could deadlift double his bodyweight and took off that stupid turtleneck sweater.

As I sat through the second screening of Spiderman, I had two thoughts.  Firstly, that Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst really did suck in the Sam Raimi films compared to Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, and secondly, that over the years Spiderman has actually taught me some valuable life lessons about life and lifting.

Lesson 1- With Great Power Come Great Responsibility

Thanks to the burgeoning popularity of Spiderman due mainly in part to his movie success, everyone has heard this pivotal line.  With Uncle Ben dying on the side of the road he looks up at Peter and says, “remember, with great power comes great responsibility,” and then he walks towards the light.  The resonance for Peter is that he must use his Spiderman alter ego to protect those who can’t protect themselves.  You may not be able to swing from rooftop to rooftop or lift cars over your head, but do you have children?  A job?  Subordinates or a house?  There’s your responsibility and you have an obligation to carry out that responsibility to the best of your ability.

Lesson 2- Everybody needs a mentor

Uncle Ben, Captain Stacey, Tony Stark and Captain America.  What do all of these people have in common?  They have all mentored Spiderman at some stage of his life.  If you don’t already have a mentor, someone who is smarter/faster/stronger or more worldly than you, find one.  Especially if you lift, find an old iron warrior and beg him (or her) to mentor you.  Trust me, you’ll make more progress than if you got your ‘bro to spot you.

Lesson 3- Life sucks, but you need to move on

Uncle Ben, Gwen Stacey, Captain Stacey, Aunt May and Captain America have all died at some stage, leaving Peter Parker grief stricken.  But he’s moved on.  The general public, J. Jonah Jameson, and Iron Man have all hated and vilified him.  But he’s moved on.  He’s been turned into a giant spider, sold his soul to protect those he loves, fights a losing battle but he moves on.  This is the most pertinent lesson Spiderman has taught me, and probably what I find most compelling about his character.

Spiderman is inherently flawed.  Starting as a lowly, geeky teenager his life is marred with regret, disaster and enough grief to send anybody to the edge.  Yet he continues his fight.  Spiderman taught me that life sucks sometimes but it’s not the hardship that defines the person, rather their ability to continue the fight.

Lesson 4- Brains wins out over brawn anyday

Spiderman may have the equivalent strength of a spider, but there are nasty things out there that are stronger than him.  What sets him apart is his brains.  We may not all be geniuses but nevertheless, brains will serve you better than brawn any day.  Nobody wants to be a 30 years old and riddled with injuries and scar tissue because they neglected mobility and soft tissue work, electing to do nothing but leg press and bench press instead.

Spiderman is a battler, an enigmatic character who’s life never goes right.  He isn’t rich, wasn’t born special, and everything he’s got or achieved has been through hard work, sacrifice and persistence.

I know any lifter out there would relate to this lesson, and so should non-lifters.

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