We have reached the final step in our Superhero training. You have paid attention and kept your eyes open. You have opened your heart and believed what was happening. You did something brave and found your powers. And now—the fourth step.
This fourth step is the step that turns the other three upside down. It is the most personal, reflective and authentic of the four steps in that it asks the question “Why?” Why have superpowers? Why use them? Why are YOU using them?
On its surface, “Tell No One” is about silence. Don’t tell anyone about what happened. Don’t tell anyone about what you saw. Don’t tell anyone about how you responded. All of these indications are valid, but they only scratch the surface of the fourth step. If the first step is about awareness, the second step about connection and commitment and the third step about action and the discovery of one’s true power—then the fourth step shines the light on the truth of it all.
From another direction, the fourth step is where the danger lies. The first three steps will yield powers—you will become powerful and be capable of great things. But you will not be a super hero until you follow the fourth step. For if you do not, you run the serious risk of becoming a Rogue. Rogues are baddies. To be a Rogue is to use what you have for a singular purpose—to serve yourself. You want money, you want to be desired, you want to be exalted, you want to be the best, strongest, fasted, coolest. All of these impulses remove you from your world, remove you from your friends and loved ones. Remove you from a sense of place, purpose and meaning. Rogues are alone.
To insure that you become a true superhero rather than a lonely Rogue, you must “tell no one.” This does not mean that you can’t talk about what you can do or what you have done. It just asks you why you feel you need to talk. Are you bragging? Are you trying to impress someone or manipulate him or her? If the answer is yes, well then—you should keep your mouth shut. But if you are speaking out of a deep interest in helping someone—out of empathy and humility, then go for it.
You’ll know when you’ve broken the fourth step because you will feel tight, resentful and even a little sick. You will start to rationalize and judge. You will start to go backwards. And your superpowers will diminish or disappear.
So this final step is simple in a way—just pause before speaking or seeing yourself as anything but someone who wants to help. Within that pause comes the chance of becoming something truly super: an authentic servant using his gifts to better the world. Better father, better husband, better friend, better co-worker, better boss, better squash player, better soccer coach. Better. Truer. More Authentic. More Super.
Photo: Marvel Promo Art