Day 46: What’s your superpower, and how are you using it to save the world?

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Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

I once met a woman who said that part of her life philosophy was believing that everyone had a superpower. According to her, everyone has a shining attribute that they master and apply positively, whether it be to themselves or to others. She described her own superpower as being able to heal and relax people, by talking and listening to them, and asked me what I thought my superpower was. I had to think about it for a while. Did I really have a superpower that I could use to help others? What about if I thought about the superpowers of the people closest to me – could I more easily identify their superpowers? 

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that she was right – people do have extraordinary capabilities,each one being very particular. My mom’s superpower, for example, is understanding and reading people’s minds (unfortunately for me, she uses this with great extent with her children). When she’s teaching, she interprets how her student is assimilating information and what he or she still needs to learn. Often, she knows exactly what the other person is thinking and can anticipate their questions before they are even asked! She uses this superpower to make her teaching more effective and even to help people with more personal problems, especially with people who have a hard time expressing what they feel.

My best friends have superpowers, too. Two of them are extremely sensitive to other people’s suffering and are compassionate. They know how to listen, be present, and be empathetic with personal crises. They use that superpower to be awesome friends and lift spirits up. They’re helping save the world by eliminating discouragement and suffering in others, and replacing that with optimism and kindness.

I know other people who are incredible artists and understand the beauty of nature. They’ll capture beauty in photographs, paintings, music, and share that with the world. They’re saving the world by inspiring others, spreading peace with their artistic depictions of the planet, or moving us to feel a deeper connection with ourselves or with the planet.

I can think of many more. Whistle-blowers, who know their duty is to shine a light on world sufferings and bring that reality to us. Animal rights activists, who’ll make animals have the same rights as humans one day. Journalists and novelists, that depict the world in different perspectives for us and who shoot for social justice.  It doesn’t even have to a profession – it can be knowing how to listen to someone, how to forgive, how to design and execute an idea. All of these different vocations means that everyone out there has a positive superpower that they can use to make the world a little better, each one in their own way.

As for me, I realized my superpower when I was in my last year in college in France. I was enjoying giving presentations more than anything else. I could take any topic related to the planet and get inspired, adapting into words and images to make other people understand my excitement and passion for the Earth. That’s when I understood that I wanted to be a teacher, not a scientist. I loved connecting this passion with other people, and I’m loving it everyday more – I’m one of the fortunate, lucky lucky people in the world that enjoys their work 100%.

What about you, what’s your superpower? And how are you using it to make the world a better place?

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