During the Christmas break I took a total detox from everything apart from eating, breathing and collecting firewood!
I had a total shut down. I didn’t want to look at my phone or social media. My body and brain needed a comprehensive reboot!
Whilst resting, I had a sudden urge to binge watch Marvel and DC films. It’s funny how impulses rise when you’re absent.
Over time you can train yourself to observe such impulses through meditation but I’ll leave that for another article.
This time, I indulged in the superhero action!
Now you may think I went a little crazy whilst detoxing from modern life but, whilst watching Batman (the Christian Bale films, not the Adam West ones), I noticed some clear links between the films and everyday life…
Batman – Lesson 1 – We all go through tough times
At the start of Batman, Bruce Wayne (who later becomes Batman), falls down a deep dark well as a child.
He’s then scared half-to-death by a colony of swarming, screeching bats, only to be saved by his father who says to him:
Why do we fall?…
So we can learn to pick ourselves up.
That was the first Batman nugget of wisdom.
Tough times are part of life. All of us will go though heartache, pain, fear and failure.
Avoiding such feelings means you’re avoiding life.
The very essence of who we are is determined by the way we bounce back and “learn to pick ourselves up.”
Batman – Lesson 2 – Understand others
Bruce Wayne/Batman then watches his mother and father get gunned down in a street robbery.
Witnessing his parents’ demise drives him towards vengeance and the need to rid the world of villains.
Bruce/Batman comes to a realisation that to defeat criminals he needs to understand how they live and think.
Bruce/Batman disappears for 8 years, living amongst felons in the underworld, before being trained by a ninja-like clan in the mountains.
This is the second Batman nugget of wisdom.
To truly understand another human being you need to walk in their shoes and look at life through their lens, regardless of sex, race, nationality, upbringing and social status.
Batman – Lesson 3 – Freedom
The third Batman film of the Dark Knight series, sees Batman face Bane, a bigger stronger opponent, one that seems superior to Batman in all ways.
Bane beats Batman up and throws him into a weird circular “well-like” prison. Prisoners can see the light to freedom above but they can’t escape unless they complete a dangerous climb.
Batman must make this climb to save Gotham, which he attempts several times using a rope for safety. He keeps falling. He just can’t make it!
He is then told by an old, wise inmate that the only successful way to make the climb is to replicate a previous escapee, a child who climbed to freedom without a safety rope.
Batman now has to deal with the fear of falling to his death, to gain freedom and save Gotham.
Although he was afraid, he knew it had been done before, by a child!
This is the third Batman nugget of wisdom.
To crate freedom in our lives, sometimes we need to face our fears and climb without a rope.
Occasionally, we look for ratification in others – if a child can do it, so can Batman; if Roger Bannister can run a 4-minute mile, so can the thousands of athletes that have done it since; if Gareth Philpotts can take life lessons from a seemingly irrelevant movie series, so can you!
That being said, if you truly want to control your life and be a Roger Bannister, you need to learn to operate independently from the crowd. Let go of your ego, let go of your fears and judgments, and trust in yourself.