Which pretend superhero are you?


DC Comics supervillain, the Joker, stared back at me across the conference table. His skin bleached white and his hair a ghoulish green, the Joker asked in a high squeal if the paper he held in his hands was my best work.

The Joker is a homicidal maniac, bent on creating havoc, and rarely, if ever, fights fair, relying on acid-spewing flowers and fatal laughing-gas. I knew better than to take his bait.

I simply imagined what would Batman do in this situation. I sat up in my chair in my best Caped Crusader pose, smiled back, looked him straight in the eye and said, “My team and I gave it our best shot. We put in a lot of hard work, sought out feedback of others and polished and polished our proposal until we thought it shined.”

batman-312342_640 (1)

I swear I’m sane

You must think I’ve lost my marbles. Close, but not exactly. The Wall Street Journal ran a story recently on two studies that found that children who pretend that they are Batman (or some other heroic figure) do better on measures of self-control and persistence. In particular, one of the studies found that five-year-olds benefited from taking a self-distancing perspective on executive function task through third-person self-talk as as well as taking the perspective of someone else via role play.

Walking into an important meeting last week, I figured that if the trick worked on kids, as young as five or six, maybe it would work for me with one of my tougher clients. Of course, I was Batman to my client’s Joker; Superman to his Lex Luther; Luke Skywalker to his Darth Vader; Harry Potter to his Lord Voldemort. You get the idea.

I was the hero, prepared for any situation. I wasn’t myself in a stuffy conference room. I was Batman ready to rely on my genius intellect and physical prowess or Harry Potter full of courage and bravery, ready to shout out “Expecto Patronum.”

modern-technologies-1263422_640

Don’t try this at home kids

When the client, notorious for his stinging comments, asked a particular pointed  question on the creative process, I was ready. I simply envisioned myself putting on my Batman mask and pulling up my sleek black leather gloves. I was out saving Gotham — or, in this case, my coworkers — from the Joker.

I’m not sure if my pretending worked, but I know one thing, I didn’t let the client’s passive aggressive comments or sarcasm get me down. I walked out of the meeting feeling good about what I had presented and good about my team.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.