“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” -Dumbledore
When I was a little kid, we were watching Spiderman, and mom made my day:
“Petar, you know Spiderman is named after you, right?”
“How come ?!”, I said as I felt a warm wave of excitement pass through my body.
“Yeah, his name is Peter Parker. Peter means Petar in English.”
I went out of the room, convinced that it's only a matter of time before I'd be able to shoot spider web from my hands.
But not long after, I encountered my first obstacle as an aspiring superhero. Of course, I had to go and brag in front of my older cousin about my new discovery:
“Hey Zdravko, you know Spiderman is actually named after me? Yes, Peter is the English version of Petar.”
“No, Peter means Zdravko.” my cousin answered with an indisputable tone and a triumphant face, and just like that, my future superpowers became a thing of the past.
Then it was Christmas morning, and I woke up with the very watch I had asked Santa for, wrapped around my wrist, and a letter from him on the night stand, telling me the present was a token of our special friendship. Imagine that – I go to bed like any other night, and wake up a personal friend of Santa. Boy, was I one lucky, special boy.
“Just wait until the others in the kindergarten hear about it!” I told my mom.
(I know that makes me sound like a total show-off, but you know what kids are like.)
And of course, my illusions were soon shattered, once again. Turned out Santa had quite a few special friends in my kindergarten. Oh well, at least the watch was still pretty cool.
Later on, I started believing that I was born under a lucky star since I came into this world on the 24th of December unless my mom somehow managed to lie to me about that too. But when two of my teachers turned out to be born on the same date, that was the last straw. If there can be not one, not two, but three people only from the same school born on that special date, well I guess it turns out there's nothing that special about it. Maybe I wasn't meant for greatness the way I thought I was after all.
At one point, my mom resurrected a faint glimmer of hope by telling me I looked like Tom Cruise. Alas, that didn't last too long either – there was another boy from my school who was known for looking like him, and not even in a good way. Funny how two people can look so much alike on paper, yet look so different in reality. I decided looking like someone famous isn't that special either, or even good for that matter. (unless it's Johnny Depp)
Until this day, my spider sense is yet to manifest itself, or any other superpower for that matter. Santa hasn't visited me or sent any more personal correspondence my way. Maybe he hasn't got with the times and still sends actual letters instead of emails. I've met a couple of more people born on the 24th of December, and if they can be called special, I'd rather be perfectly normal, even boring.
But my mom's noble lies did make me believe in something, which I have preserved to this day. In my childhood, I took every happy coincidence as a sign that I was destined for greatness and that someone was looking out for me. I would catch a glimpse of another world in those moments, a place that held more magic than our reality, one where I was someone special. Today, I take such moments the exact same way, even better - I cherish them. There's only one tiny, but important difference - now I consciously understand that strong ideas matter much more than cold facts and gray reality, at least to me. In fact, some visions are so powerful, they spill into reality and reinvent it - your own, and sometimes even the one others inhabit.
We experience the power of ideas all the time without realizing. On one day, your phone goes out and you don't hear your alarm, you spill coffee on your shirt because you're in a rush, someone cuts you off on your way to work, where none of your efforts come through. You decide everything is against you, everyone is evil, all life and humanity suck. On another day, the sun is shining, you hear a busker playing your favorite song as if it was just for you, someone lets you merge in front of them, another one smiles and tells you exactly what you have been needing to hear, your work flows perfectly – life is amazing. But in fact, life was pretty much the same on both those days – it was you who approached it differently and let some background noise silence the main theme one of the times.
It's all in the mind, which doesn't make it any less real.
That's why all game-changers are called crazy at first until their ideas start a life of their own that redefines the lives of many others around the world. That's why a champion isn't defined by a golden belt or a title, but by a winning mentality.
That's why the power of visualization is the closest thing to magic and superpowers we'll ever have. That's why a couple of noble, imaginative lies and a gesture of kindness have the power to change the way a young boy sees the world.
Who knows, maybe my superpowers are yet to come out.