I was born with a superpower…



I’ll bet you have one too …

Check out my cape … nice, eh?

Life is about the little things … the small stuff.

Our lives are like tiny grains of sand on a huge expansive beach. Over the years we get swept up in the swells of the tide, running in, slipping out … sometimes we’re blown by a sharp gust of lush tropical wind, sometimes laying stock-still under the burning rays of the sun.

But always, we live a tiny existence in a huge universe where we bump into other grains of sand, spend a few brief seconds rubbing close together – liking, loving, hating, laughing, crying – and then migrate to another area of the beach to where other grains oscillate and do it all over again.

I don’t know if grains of sand, like snowflakes, are each uniquely different, but I suspect that is the case.

My grain of sand is called Larry and I’ve rubbed up against lots of other sand grains over the years.

And each grain I met had a superpower uniquely fashioned by them. I have a friend who can repair any mechanical motor with his eyes closed. I have another friend who can multitask so calmly and effectively in her job that she can solve 3 people’s problems simultaneously. Yet another old chum from high school and college can teach blood banking concepts that are so complicated they make my head spin. I have a sister-in-law who can crochet anything. SUPERPOWERS…

Here’s just a partial list of things I (sometimes) enjoy and try to do, but technically, I pretty much suck at – NOT superpowers:

  1. Windsurfing
  2. Triathlons
  3. Playing violin
  4. Surfing
  5. Writing Novels
  6. Golf
  7. Dancing
  8. Small talk
  9. Holding my Alcohol
  10. Patience
  11. Kissing and Sex
  12. Knitting
  13. Drawing
  14. Board Games
  15. Auto Mechanics

And now, a listing of things I’m pretty good at – only ONE a superpower:

  1. Spelling
  2. Playing Guitar
  3. Running Long Distance
  4. Remembering Numbers (SIN, Credit Cards, Drivers Licence)
  5. Writing Blogs and Short Stories
  6. Listening
  7. Kissing and Sex
  8. Cooking
  9. Hockey/Football
  10. Learning Foreign languages
  11. Gardening
  12. Swimming
  13. Tennis
  14. Trivial Pursuit
  15. Cycling


Notice how kissing and sex made it onto both lists? I’ll leave that for you to figure out …

But truly, my SUPERPOWER is Spelling … yup, I don’t try, but I can’t make an error.

Sorry, that’s not true … I can, but it’s infrequent and even if it’s wrong, it’s likely because I’m not paying attention, and not that I don’t know how to spell the word.

primitive spelling bee

It’s a really silly superpower, but it is what it is… I didn’t ask for it. Blame my Mom and Dad.

But, like Superman’s powers… my spelling superpower is one that was bred into me.

I’ve spoken before about Malcolm Gladwell and his 10,000 hour rule of practice for developing mastery in any area that requires skill and knowledge. It’s a great concept and if absorbed fully, you can accomplish just about anything in life.

For me, spelling skills didn’t require 10,000 or even 1,000 hours on my part and so this makes it different. This is a genetic trait that allowed me to spew out the spelling of “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (I want you to know that I double-checked the word’s spelling in GOOGLE … hit it dead on first time!) right after I made my first cry in the delivery room … waaa … S-U-P-E-R-C-A-L-I-F-R-A-G-I-L-I-S-T-I-C-E-X-P-I-A-L-I-D-O-C-I-O-U-S waaa … the nurses were shocked as they wiped the cheesy vernix off me. I’m a legend on the maternity ward of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario.

cry baby

But spelling doesn’t give me the buzz, the internal WOW, that I get when I work hard at something that doesn’t flow naturally, and see improvement.

I’ve adapted Gladwell’s guidelines into my approach to life. These work for my own purposes and my ADHD personality. I use the 1,000 hour rule where I pursue and learn skills to a highly satisfactory+ but not mastery level.

I accept that I’ll never be a true master of anything except spelling because I lack the patience. But I get enormous happiness in my days from trying new things and improving even just a little bit in those areas that I really enjoy… playing guitar, writing, running, songwriting, cooking …

Personal Aside: I’ve been arrogant all my life about my superpower and I’ve looked down on others who can’t spell accurately because of it. If I went to therapy the psychologist would likely say it’s a result of my inferiority complex over so many other things I don’t do well.

But put aside the folly of my arrogance. Why?

Because I want to encourage you to find and acknowledge, or better still, develop your own superpower. You might be like me and discover it’s something you were born with … bred in the bone.

Or, maybe you’ve developed a passion for and persisted at something that was important to you and unearthed a potential talent.

What’s the role of talent? Very small. But you have to start with it. Talent is the seed of skill. Passion is what makes the seed grow into a beautiful flower.

Don’t force yourself to learn something if you don’t burn for it or it’s not a natural aptitude. If you’re not fully engaged and passionate about your potential superpower, it won’t happen.

When you find yourself waking up at 5 am wanting to jump from your bed with eager, fiery thoughts to learn and move forward with your budding talent, you know you’ve found a potential superpower that is all yours.

Find your unique voice. And when you speak in that voice, the world hears something it has never heard before. Use the concept of idea sex to mix and blend your diverse, seemingly unrelated thoughts and develop something that belongs to you.

So, pick up your cape… or maybe first, recognize that you have a cape that fits only you.

Then love yourself for owning that cape.

bright bulb