Sometimes the real world can benefit from examples in pop culture. That’s what this post is all about.
The movies of 2013 have brought some classic Supervillains to the big screen. Whether you’re a fan of comic book bad guys like The Mandarin and General Zod, or love you some “KHAAANNNNN!” 2013 has been a good year.
Most supervillains didn’t start out as the brooding pariahs behind plots of world domination, but used to be regular guys. Somewhere along the way, something happened in their lives that caused them to drop out of society and turn their future aspirations from raising a family and instead to enslaving the galaxy or global destruction. In order to prevent you from a downward spiral into the growing supervillain fraternity, I give you: How Not To Become A Supervillain.
Don’t Withdraw From Society. This is a common origin among Supervillains. They suffer some sort of setback or betrayal and retreat into isolation for an extended period of time. It is true that while in isolation, nobody can hurt your feelings. But at the same time, isolation isn’t compatible with the human experience. We were created to be in relationships with others, not hiding in the darkness of some cave. As hard as it is, don’t hide from life because someone out there hurt you. When you’re alone, you overthink things and tend to get bitter.
Don’t Refuse To Forgive. I admit, it must be hard to forgive when someone is at least in part responsible for the destruction of your planet and the death of billions. But, most of us won’t have to wrestle with forgiveness for that sort of offense. Generally, the worst we’ll have to deal with is a hurtful experience at the hands of someone who is jealous and/or insecure. Mostly, it is only our feelings that are affected when someone attacks us, though occasionally it can be worse. When this happens, it is better to forgive and move on and make a better life than it is to hold a grudge. People who can’t let go of the past are eaten alive from the inside and tend to damage the lives of others around them. Supervillains spend more time attacking the lives and reputations of those they are jealous of than they do anything else. What a wasted existence.
Don’t Be Self Absorbed. Supervillains are notoriously self centered. They think only of what affects their own lives, emotions, and reputation and think nothing of the countless people they manipulate along the way. They see people as tools for their own agenda. They contact long lost friends when they want something, seek out your sympathy or guilt (whichever works better), and leave a trail of broken relationships and lives along their path to “success” on a regular basis. Their understanding of friendship is someone who will do whatever they want whenever they want. They have few friends as a result, hold many grudges for “betrayals” by others, and tend to withdraw for various reasons so as to not deal with real life. Don’t be self absorbed.
Don’t Attack And Blame Others. This is a universal quality among supervillains. They always seem to rant and rave about how much someone else has wronged them in front of others. Sometimes it is out of extreme anger, and other times it is a huge play for sympathy. Minor offenses become lifelong grudges, and misunderstood words turn into sinister plots. They begin to see anyone they can’t control first as a threat, and then label them as an enemy that must be destroyed. They manipulate their influence over others to hurt people and their reputations, and embark on a lifelong descent into bitterness. Their life becomes unbalanced, the people close to them get hurt, and many that were once their friends turn away in an act of self defense and self preservation. This fuels the shouts of “traitors!’ and the downward spiral gets darker and more painful to everyone. Don’t attack people and blame them for stuff to prop your fragile self image up.
There you have it: Four universal building block mistakes supervillains make along the way from regular guy to “Really Bad Person.” Avoid these mistakes at all costs. The fate of the world (and your own sanity) depends on it!