Life lessons learnt from 'The Avengers'

For Marvel fans, The Avengers felt like Christmas in the midst of a sweltering summer. There we sat goggle-eyed in the dark, thoroughly entertained as the screen filled up with a spandex overdose featuring Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr); Steve Rogers, or Captain America (Chris Evans); Natasha Romanoff, or Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson); Bruce Banner, or the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo); Clint Francis Barton or Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth). We realised that each of the Avengers had a quality that us mortals can emulate and learn from, even if the weight of saving the world doesn’t rest on our frail shoulders. Here’s how you can take a cue from them.

Black Widow
How to be prepared, always

We love Black Widow not only because she is Scarlett Johansson in flaming hair and a tight catsuit kicking all over the place, but because she is a hero without a superpower and still manages to get out of tight corners with a ready mix of martial arts, daredevilry and effective techniques that make the enemy leak out secrets. This spy is always prepared no matter what weapons she has at hand, and doesn’t hang around bickering with the rest of the superheroes. Look inside you, harness your strengths and be alert all the time so that you can kick some serious butt when the need comes up.

Captain America
Keep up with the times

We actually fell for the Boy Scout idealism of Captain America who comes from another era and is often the (cute) butt of jokes for being outdated. But he is the guy who inspires patriotism, and brings back in fashion the supposedly conventional values of idealism and unshakeable integrity. He might be a man out of time but he deals with the changing times to emerge a true superhero, Stripes and Stars et al. As they say in the movie, “people might just need a little Old Fashioned” at times. Captain America spent the last few years on ice, but when he comes back to contemporary times, his mind is quick enough to adapt to the latest technology on the battlefield. And hence, he survives. There is a reason that Darwin’s theory was hailed. Evolve and you will survive.

The Hulk
Control your anger

There are times when we all just spontaneously combust at the slightest provocation. Of course we all saw the humour in the Hulk and Loki collision (our favourite scene, hands down) but in real life, when the green monster erupts, it may not be a joyous and proud memory in retrospect. We all want to grow five times our size and smash some stuff to bits, but the human grenade that we turn into can have some serious consequences. Take a cue from the mild
Dr Bruce who is constantly fighting the ‘other guy’. We all succumb to it once in a while but our beloved superhero in the film showed how we can emerge to become more in control of ourselves, even if it comes with beating up a demigod. Looking for a release to that pent-up aggression? Go pump some iron and flex some muscles.

Iron Man
Be a team player even if you are better

You are fabulous, you are a genius and you know it. And your team members at work are morons. We understand. It happens to the best of us at times. But even an Iron Man couldn’t have warded off the villainous aliens and the Armageddon-inducing Loki all by himself. Learn from the redeeming qualities of Iron Man who harnesses the group’s power to win the victory, and is ready to sacrifice himself for the ultimate goal. This works especially if you are in a top position (which you will be in someday if you are as good as you claim). Pull together your self-knowledge and confidence by steering your team towards the ultimate victory. After all, your triumph also lies in theirs.

Keep away from hubris

Often used to refer to Greek tragic heroes, the term ‘hubris’ refers to extreme pride or arrogance and the Norse god of thunder has plenty of it. Hubris, in Greek mythology, often led to the character’s fall, as it literally does in Thor’s case in the movie when he falls from the sky and his legendary hammer acts up. The lesson is so simple and straight-forward — arrogance leads to downfall. Get that, kids?

Make your mark

Want to get your point across? Then make your mark, and make sure you never miss. Be precise, calm and exacting. One of SHIELD’s most elite agents, he holds his own among the world’s greatest superheroes with only his quiver of arrows and his weapon of choice, the recurve bow. Because he is the best among the humankind, he is quickly lapped up by the enemy, but when the time comes, he manages to fight besides the rest of the Avengers with his expert marksmanship. He reminds us that you don’t need to wear a cape and fly around to save the world. All you need to do is figure out where you want to make your mark, concentrate on that, and then move forward in a precise, calculated manner that is bound to succeed.

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