We are all X-Men
A facet of myself that I haven’t revealed yet on this blog is that I’m into superheroes. My favorite superhero team is the X-Men, so of course the time would come when I would reference them in one of my posts. I’m sure many of you aren’t that knowledgeable about the X-Men, so I’ll give you a crash course on who they are:
The X-Men are composed of mutants, an evolved form of humanity. Each mutant is born with a special ability, which usually manifests at puberty. Cyclops, for example, blasts energy out of his eyes. Storm controls the weather. Wolverine has heightened senses, self-healing body tissue, and bone claws (which were coated in metal with the rest of his skeleton).
In the world of the X-Men, mutants are a minority, and many of their stories deal with the segregation and persecution that mutants encounter. This concept has led the X-Men to be associated with real-world minorities. In fact, the X-Men were created in 1963, during the civil rights movement, and their leader Professor X is often compared to Martin Luther King, Jr.
While the X-Men’s status as a minority makes them relatable to real minority groups, I believe that everyone can identify with the X-Men for a simple reason: we all have special abilities. We may not be able to shoot beams from our eyes or pop claws from our fists, but we all have skills and talents that make us stand out as individuals.
It’s easy to feel like you’re average or sub-par, especially when you can’t find a job, or when you’re at a job that doesn’t use you to your full potential. But you need to maintain faith in yourself and your abilities because if you don’t, it’ll be a self-fulfilling prophecy: by thinking you’re lame and un-special, that’s precisely what you’ll become.
You do have gifts, and you need to use those gifts to improve the world around you, even if it isn’t through a job. (Last time I checked, the X-Men don’t make money fighting bad guys.) Doing things outside of work might say even more about you personally because you’re not getting paid, and you’re not working within an employer’s constraints.
A final note: the X-Men, more than anything, are a team. No matter how powerful they are individually, they’re never more effective than when they work together. Your success doesn’t just come from yourself; you need people to guide you, help you, and motivate you — no matter how extraordinary or accomplished you are, you can’t do everything on your own.
So while you’re using your own abilities, you should also note what others have to contribute, and figure out ways you can combine your talents. (Like the X-Men’s Fastball Special, where the super strong Colossus throws Wolverine at a high altitude target.) Above all, be grateful to your teammates and recognize their contributions to your success.