Category Archives: How To Be Like Batman

The Darkness in Humanity – Batman as Avatar of our Shadow Self

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“Batman is a metaphor for the alchemy of our own soul. He symbolises how to integrate and transform our darkest impulses and direct them toward our highest good.” – JOHN SORENSEN

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YES FATHER… I SHALL BECOME A BAT

Batman symbolically represents the darkness that is in all human beings. Not just potential darkness, but the darkness that is factually in all human beings, whether we acknowledge it or not. Those who claim nothing like that is in them, are most at risk to succumbing to their own disowned behaviors through total ignorance of them.

Other fictional characters who we could call avatars of darkness and shadow include Dracula and Darth Vader – characters who have surrendered to their darkest, most murderous, primitive and single self oriented survival impulses.

year-one-origin Frank Miller YES FATHER BECOME A BAT

What distinguishes Batman is that he walks the line between darkness and light – choosing not to kill. He skirts around the edges of the abyss, he’s been there and knows the temptations that would lead him down the path of total surrender to darkness like Darth Vader. Unlike Darth Vader, Batman has journeyed into darkness, into the very depth of his own mind, heart and soul, seen what lives there, what drives him and used that power, harnessing it for his own ends, rather than becoming a slave to darkness or evil like Darth Vader or Dracula.

Integration is key. Being all light is as dangerous as being all dark, simply because denial of emotion is what feeds the dark – Brene Brown

Seeing the existential abyss of darkness for what it is, Batman transcends and includes all his pain, his miseries, his best and worst qualities. He transmutes it all into an unwavering passion for his vengeance or justice driven mission as Batman.

So let’s take a look how dark Batman is, and how he uses that darkness as a weapon, along the way we’ll also take a quick look under the cowl to check on his mental health and see if those internet fan theories can hold any water.

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BATMAN – SAVIOR OR HERETIC?

Batman accepts all that he is; the good, the bad and the ugly. He makes no apologies for his flaws, and if anything he is his own worst critic -taking on the responsibility of the world when it is not truly his responsibility to fix the world (of Gotham City) and nobody ever asked him to.

Batman does not suffer from introjection – that is the unconscious “exterior” voices of societies values, his parents and heritage. If psychological Projection is the disowning of your own qualities that you project and see externalised in another, then its opposite is Introjection: turning inward something that belongs outside.

It is a small but key distinction in Batman’s psychological make up, but one that many people fail to notice when they project their own fears and insecurities onto Batman and assume he is like us. He’s not like us, Batman lives at a higher level than we do. Rather than try and become more like Batman, those fans and critics have tried to make Batman more like themselves, assuming that he must share their flaws, rather than having transcended them. The road to self-knowledge is filled with many pot-holes of ignorance.

Batman makes conscious what lives and thrives in darkness. Batman is not afraid to look into his own mind, his own soul and see all his failures and bad habits. Bruce Wayne lives in alignment with his core values. To get from being Bruce Wayne to becoming Batman means a journey into the mythic, into the recesses of Bruce Wayne’s heart, mind and soul, stripped bare and laid naked, he is reborn in a baptism of pure darkness, everything unessential falls away until there is only the Bat and his mission.

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You can call Batman a nutcase, an eccentric, an unholy warrior on a mission of vengeance, or just a man who  decided to do something different to process his trauma over the death of his parents, by dedicating himself to a worthy cause. Super-heroes do tend to have the mind set of wanting to save the world, or at least leave it a less shitty place than when they entered it. It’s part of their attitude and psychological make up. It’s what distinguishes them from non-heroic individuals. They are here to make a difference and don’t sit on the fence.

The “save the world” mentality is something that exists in individuals here in the real world too, and it has its healthy versions – serving food to the homeless, fundraising for community and charity projects – and it’s unhealthy pathological versions –
suicide bombing, acts or murder, torture, terror etc for the often delusional perceived higher good (for the State, for God etc).

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THE STATE OF BATMAN’S MENTAL HEALTH

Arrogant, angry, stand-offish, emotionless, doesn’t work well in teams, shuns help from others, psychotic, a mentally ill man child. Sound familiar?

What is the state of Batman’s mental health, and who should we trust on this subject? There is no shortage of internet fan theories about the state of Batman’s mental health, some of them make good valid points, some are partial truths – while others are just plain old Wrong with a capital “W”.

“He’s an angry repressed rich boy who takes out his frustration and anger beating up criminals”

“He suffers from PTSD, depression and can’t let go of the death of his parents”

“He’s a schizophrenic savior who suffers from messianic delusions”

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I am continually amazed at some of the ideas I see posted online about Batman that make it obvious that some people either have not read many Batman comics, or don’t know how to use the dictionary.

Coming up with a fancy theory or great sounding idea does not make it true no matter how much you want to believe it. That also applies to myself and my articles here. Feel free to disagree with any of them. Feel free to write a rebuttal or prove them wrong. In my mind I’m right, but I know other people with very different opinions about Batman who also FEEL they are right.

For example there are people who would label Batman a psychotic, a schizophrenic, as suffering from post traumatic stress (reliving the pain of his parents death) or any number of other conditions. Robert E. Terrill has written a thoroughly engrossing article that uses Jungian ideas and terminology to categorise Batman as a Schizophrenic acting out his delusional dreams because he is unwilling to do the real hard work of true psychological integration.

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The article Put on a Happy Face – Batman as Schizophrenic Savior by Robert E. Terrill you can find online as a PDF, it’s about 18 pages long and well worth reading – but keep in mind this article deals with the 1989 movie version of Batman, not the Batman from the comic books. It is worth reading though, even if you strongly disagree with it as I do.

A contrasting perspective is the one Robin S. Rosenberg takes in her book What’s the Matter with Batman? An Unauthorized Clinical Look Under the Mask of the Caped Crusader.

Robin’s published book on the Psychology of Batman addresses each one of the various things he may or may not suffer from. She cuts through the confusion of Bat-Mind-Theories like a brightly lit Bat-Signal in the night sky.

Point by point, Robin Rosenberg states the essential criteria needed to satisfy being considered as psychotic, schizophrenic, PTSD, personality disorders and more. And by and large Batman meets some of the criteria for various disorders, but not all of the criteria to meet the requirements as having any of those conditions.

I tend to trust her point of view over fanboys and fangirls as Robin Rosenberg is a trained Psychologist, as well as a fan of Batman and other superheroes. It’s also possible she is wrong, but I urge people to make up their own minds and not take my word for anything. Robin has also been talking, lecturing and writing about human values and heroes for over a decade, so you’ll excuse me if your  “Batman is nuts ‘coz my brother ‘sez so” theory doesn’t hold much sway with me.

Robin’s criteria rather than just being a fan theory, or fun writing experiment uses the terminology of mental health experts. You can read a great extract from the book at Psychology Today: What’s the Matter with Batman?

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THE BATMAN OF MANY THEORIES

There is a fair bit of information and misinformation (mostly on the internet) about the state of Batman’s mental health, usually from people who misuse the terminology of Psychology to make it sound like they know what they are talking about. That Batman meets some of the criteria for various types of mental illness lends credence to those half baked fan theories you read online on reddit or Quora.

Batman is an emotionally stunted man child who refuses to grow up and takes out his frustration and unresolved pain from the death of his parents by punching people

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Some people think Batman is a Schizophrenic, others say he is psychotic, or has post traumatic stress disorder, depression or any number of other behavioral dysfunctions. It’s easy to see Batman as this hyper-aggressive psychotic lunatic if all you have ever read is Frank Miller’s version of Batman, which is purposefully and masterfully exaggerated and over the top, as are most of Miller’s stories.

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Can Bruce Wayne ever be truly mentally healthy and happy, as long as he is Batman?

One perspective is that As long as Bruce Wayne is Batman he will never be happy. He will never settle down with a wife, he will never have kids, he will stay angry, repressed, antisocial and guilt ridden over the death of his parents death as long as he is Batman. Batman thrives on guilt and pain, true forgiveness means letting go of being Batman.

Another contrasting perspective is that Gotham and the world needs Batman, and that he has overcome his pain and insecurities and fears. Batman continues his war on crime not out of pain over the death of his parents, but remains Batman as a tribute to them and their community service. Bruce Wayne continues being Batman as a service to Gotham to honor his parents and what they stood for; social justice, reform and standing up for a cause, living your values etc.

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Batman can be many things, and is open to multiple different equally valid interpretations. It is part of the strength of the character that every fan has their own idealized Batman, and no two fan versions of Batman are exactly the same. But there is enough of the character that remains recognisable so when we talk about Batman, we can understand each others unique perspective.

And that is what it comes down to. There is no objective criteria for what Batman is, and what Batman is not. It’s all subjective. But good writers, and smart thinkers, tend to think at least some of the same ideas about the character, and that mass consensus of what we agree upon tends to form the picture of Batman the majority of us have in our minds.

Writing something that sounds plausible is a good way to keep the wheel of misinformation going. However long term Batman fans tend to look below the surface, they tend to go a bit deeper in life for answers than internet fan theories etc.

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All of these contrasting ideas  strangely play into the myth and strengths of Batman – to some he’s a vampire, to some he’s an urban commando, to others he is a ghoul in night, an unkillable wraith, more shadow monster than man. An unstoppable force. Something to be feared and talked about in hushed tones, because if he hears you… “LOOK OUT! Aw gees, the BAT! Run!”

Batman then is an urban boogeyman. So all of those crazy fan ideas you read about online are quite valid, even if you disagree with them. It’s all part of Batman’s mystique, his confusion and distraction while he accomplishes his mission. He wants you to think he’s crazy, he wants you to think he will do anything, that he can’t die. Batman wants to scare the living hell out of you, and he enjoys doing it.

Robin Rosenberg gets the final word on how nutty Batman may or may not be in her succinct book What’s the Matter with Batman:

  • Assuming that by Dissociative disorder, you mean DID, he is nowhere close to having that. He would only have paranoid schizophrenia if everything about him being batman was a delusion.It’s really hard to peg what, if any disorder he would have. The funny part about it is that one of the defining characteristics of having a mental illness is that it has to impair functioning in your life.
  • And one could argue that he successfully leads two lives, so there is no impairment, or his having to lead two lives IS the impairment.In any event, the only thing I could confidently say he suffers from is Depression, for obvious reasons. If I were to extend so far as to say that he had a personality disorder,
  • I’d put my money on Narcissistic Personality Disorder.Personally, I don’t think he has any real mental disorders outside of depression. He is a just a very rational introvert who made a very strange decision that most of society would see as a terrible, and downright crazy idea. – Robin S. Rosenberg

 

Of course if you want to believe Batman is truly crazy delusional, then The Batman Complex fan made video is made just for you…

I KEEP MY EYES WIDE OPEN ALL THE TIME, I WALK THE LINE

Batman may be an avatar of darkness, the physical manifestation of his totem Bat animal, but he is also more than than the sum of his parts. In shadow he is like a wraith or demon from the classical underworld of mythology, and those white slits where his eyes should be are creepy as hell. His costume, physicality and persona evoke something primal and mythic that we can’t help but respond to on an unconscious level. In medieval art, he would undoubtedly be labeled as a demon.

But those white slits also show the light in Batman. The bright white where his eyes are meant to be shows us symbolically that Batman in not in total darkness, but is in fact an avatar of light who masquerades in darkness to both fight the forces of darkness, and transmute his own inner darkness, his own dark knight of the soul into a force for good, for service to humanity. We have Batman co-creator Bill Finger to thank for those white eyes, Bill understood Batman at a deep level few people would appreciate and doesn’t get the credit he deserves often enough.

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The anger and pain Bruce Wayne feels at the death of his parents, that at times threatens to consume him – he channels into fuel for greatness as the Guardian of Gotham City, the cities own Dark Knight. His never ending war on crime gives an outlet to his madness, rage and pain, channeling all his dark intensity and unrelenting passion into a force for good.

Like a classical Greek hero or demigod who journeys into the underworld, Batman takes on the symbolic trappings of darkness to inspire fear in the criminals he hunts, he uses shadow and darkness as his allies, having made them his closest friends.

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To fear the dark is to live in ignorance, while to embrace the dark is to welcome the knowledge it brings. No being can live in only darkness, or only light. Either way leads to being unbalanced. Human beings need both light and dark in them. Batman walks the line and at times risks going all the way into darkness like Darth Vader or Dracula. It’s part of what makes him so damn sexy and uber-cool. He’s a good guy dressed in the cinematic costume of a bad guy or demon.

Batman is married to Gotham city, he may dabble in serial monogamy, but ultimately his mission in life is to be Batman. Batman and Gotham City are forever intertwined. In a warring city of ruthless gangs, psycho killers and cut throats Batman is Gotham’s Warlord, his word is law, his will unbreakable, his enemies and friends alike fear him and his wrath. Nobody wants the Batman’s attention, and if you ever saw him in person – you would really wish you hadn’t.

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WE ALL FALL DOWN

How does Batman avoid the corruption that characters like Dracula succumbed to? How does he use darkness rather than be consumed by it?

History is filled with those who held themselves up as heroes, as bastions of moral virtue and goodness only to succumb to their own repressed dark side, the side they never allow any healthy expression, and that you never see in the public arena that often is expressed through demented perversion in private.

Politicians and Priests provide some of the more obvious cliched and dramatic well publicised examples in our society. It seems the corruption of the few influences how we see the many, the disproportionate media focus on corrupt Priests and Politicians ignores the fact they are the minority, and that the majority are hard working honest people who capably go about their job, and look after the people they are responsible for.

None the less, when an individual is incapable of finding a healthy expression for their Shadow Self, and instead they become corrupted causing harm to themselves or others, then at those times it may be necessary for third party intervention. In cases of abuse of other individuals by that person, then unwelcome media attention can be a good thing, in exposing what lies in the shadow through the light of awareness.

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How does Batman avoid the same psychological traps? It’s not easy, he walks a constant line between who he is and who he might become. Batman doesn’t repress who he is. He lives his darkness at every level of his being, and he uses it as yet another weapon in his war on crime. He avoids falling down to his Shadow qualities by not hiding or repressing his Shadow, but embracing it and knowing it intimately.

Batman is a zealot in a way, and his unholy mission is to fight the forces that would serve to victimize the good citizens of Gotham, at the same time Batman is a hero we can relate to for his flaws, for we see the darkness and flaws in him as in ourselves.

Batman’s flaws are what make him human rather than super-human. Even if Batman took a super-pill and did gain super-powers, he would still be the same angry repressed guy. Batman remains a fantasy figure who lives an impossible life, but remains appealing due to his grounding halfway between realism and pure fantasy. Alex Wainer defines Batman’s adventures as falling between realism and fantasy as “Romance” using Northrop Frye’s scale of literary classification.

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 REALISM <<———-BATMAN———-> > FANTASY

“The romance is contrived to allow for a pleasing form that displaces aspects of myth, while at the same time borrowing a semblance of realism, to ensure a level of plausibility. Abstracting from the concrete, i.e., the realistic, toward the mythic, the romance mixes elements of the two poles to become a story form broad and flexible enough to include an enormous range of narratives.” – Alex Wainer: Soul of the Dark Knight

“…Set on a perpetual quest for justice and vengeance, Batman is more than an outraged vigilante, but less than a divine nemesis of evil. Partaking of qualities derived from earlier mythological sources and patterns, he symbolically fights against the chaos that frightens and angers us by adopting the fearsome visage of a night creature. Though apparently mortal, he transcends human limits in his keen ratiocination and athletic grace and power. Thus, as a mythic figure expressed in the comics medium, on the Literary Design Scale, he belongs at the upper levels of romance as an idealized, extraordinary heroic figure in a still-recognizable urban setting.” – Alex M Wainer, Soul of the Dark Knight: Batman as Mythic Figure in Comics and Film

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I AM VENGEANCE! I AM THE NIGHT! I AM BATMAN!

As an avatar of darkness and night time Batman fulfills a sort of elemental role. The Bat -his chosen symbol and totem animal – Batman is a creature of the night, a figment of our unconscious mind, a lord of the underworld, the bastard child of Erebus and Nyx – the illegitimate brother of Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death).

If Icarus flew too close to the sun, Bruce Wayne went too far into the Underworld, punched something dark and ancient in the face and stole its power to aid his war on crime. Touching the face of pure evil, he dares to wear its colours and mocks the unseen forces he fights against every night of his life as the Guardian of Gotham, its Dark Knight. He’s untouchable, he fears nothing, he will not stop, and he wants you to know it and be very afraid.

There is a purpose for every thing under the sun, and even the things that live in darkness have their own purpose and way of being. Batman who lives in darkness is still human and still feels connected to his humanity despite outward appearances.

To be in darkness is to know and embrace a part of our Being we often deny or don’t acknowledge. It’s something we don’t talk about in polite company or hear much about. To never explore that part of ourselves, to never metaphorically explore the underworld of our own minds is to live in fear of that darkness, of that unknown and all it entails. It is the place of creation, of sex, death , life, hunger, and all primal urges.

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We give power to our unconscious forces and primal drives by refusing to explore them. Most of us are afraid of that which is beyond words, space and time. The primordial unmanifest force that rests in the hearts and minds of all people, but is ignored due to the discomfort and pain of true self-knowledge – in favor of an inauthentic life of comfort and luxury.

The Hero’s Journey is not just a mythical “story” framework to be adapted from antiquity onto the cinema screen, but a metaphor for the necessary and essential psychological process of Waking Up and Growing Up in life that philosopher Ken Wilber discusses in many volumes of his Integral Theory. The Hero – or Heroine’s journey is our birthright. The refusal of the call, is the refusal of life, the refusal to grow and change and evolve. All things that live must grow, and that which does not heed this principle embraces death.

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To explore and stay in darkness is to give in to our own darkest impulses. However to never willingly journey into darkness is – like Luke going into the cave during his training with Yoda to cut off his own head – to never look beneath the cowl it to live in fear of our own primal forces. Take a look at Darth Vader. Nobody want’s to end up like that poor bastard. He’s a monster, and the ultimate bad-ass – YET – we still feel sorry for him. Instead of Vader passing through his own dark night of the soul, he began the process, staid there and swore allegiance to his corrupted master Darth Sidious.

The danger Batman forever faces is not that he may kill, but what happens afterward – that he may lose his humanity if he gives himself completely to darkness. Exploring our own Shadow means acknowledging all our bad habits and self-destructive choices, those we know, and those we are not aware of (and need others to point out to us) and our own repressed higher potentials. What is in shadow if often a corrupted version of what is good in us, as well as what is harmful.

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Batman is an avatar of darkness, but also a symbol of how to accept and transmute all of our own nature – light and dark – and use  it for the higher good not by denial or repression, but by acceptance and integration of all aspects of ourselves – John Sorensen

In stages of human growth, we may pass through a Spider-Man stage (child/teenager)  a Batman stage (adult /power) a Superman stage (god/transcendent) etc. As great as any of these characters are, we must not stay in those stages, but learn from them and move on. There are lessons to be learned in life wherever we turn, even in the humble pages of cheap pulp inspired comic book stories printed on flimsy paper. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, find inspiration and power wherever you please.

I think we can find inspiration is just about any good comic book or movie character. Good or evil, they all have some qualities and values that resonate with us, or we would not be so powerfully attracted to them in the first place.

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Batman is the coolest fictional character on the planet if you ask me.

Batman is cool, sexy and a bad boy. He’s rock and roll. We love him for it. Batman wears the outfit of a villain, but he’s dedicated to righting wrongs. If we look deep enough, we may learn a little about ourselves from the Boy who became a Bat. Who embraced rather than repressed his Shadow Self.

He understands pain, fear and doubt, Batman feels it all and doesn’t identify himself with it, he feels ALL of it, but doesn’t mistake pain and doubt and fear for who he is, or let it stop him from accomplishing his mission. He transcends his circumstances, he transcends body, environment and time by focusing his mind on his chosen task, he’s honed his skills through years of physical and mental training. He’s not ordinary. But even taking all that into consideration, Batman is still flawed and deeply human. His flaws are what make Batman more human and relatable. He’s human and he feels every pain and every hurt, but he looks past it and keeps moving forward.

Batman has experienced deeply personal pain and loss like many people in the real world, and that has inspired his life’s mission, to help victims of crime and poverty through the Wayne Foundation and personally preventing as many violent crimes as he can. As effective as Batman is in his world, he’s even more powerful in our world as a symbol of standing up for ourselves and others, and of true self knowledge that embraces all that we are, strengths flaws and all with an unflinching gaze of wisdom that does not misidentify what we experience and feel, for who we are.

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Fear disowned is a destructive choice, both emotionally and spiritually. It leads to all-too-happy spiritualities with beings who seek only the light. Fear starts to drive their being unconsciously. We end up seeking only goodness and pleasantness in order to avoid pain and fear.  But this is not the way. The truth is:

“To conquer fear, you must become fear”

Fear owned and embodied is a form of awakening. Batman is therefore a Realizer of Awakening through the form of Fear – Chris Dierkes / Beams and Struts

 

 

 

 

5 ESSENTIAL HARD HITTING LIFE LESSONS FROM BATMAN

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1. YOU CAN TRANSFORM YOUR GREATEST FAILURES AND PERSONAL TRAGEDIES INTO YOUR GREATEST STRENGTHS

Youn Bruce Wayne saw his parents brutally murdered before his eyes. He swore an oath to “war on all criminals”. Instead of growing up a rich trust fund baby, he instead became the Batman, a one man army who fights a never ending war on crime with single minded determination and courage.

Batman fights the corruption that tangles like a creeper weed around the heart of Gotham City choking the very life blood of Batman’s chosen kingdom. By night Batman fights crime in the streets, and by day the Wayne Foundation fights the causes of crime like poverty., homelessness and lack of education.

Bruce Wayne is Batman 24/7. He never rests, he never stops. His dedication, and passion is unwavering, his commitment, 100%.

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In real life Jamie Walton was forced into a life of child prostitution. Jamie Walton is a survivor of child sex crimes in the United States and she runs the real life Wayne Foundation started by herself and Kevin Smith.

You  can find the Wayne Foundation website here

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Mission Statement

The Wayne Foundation is committed to spreading awareness of CSEC (Commercial Sex Exploitation of Children) DMST (Domestic Minor Sexual Trafficking) occurring within the United States.

Vision Statement

The Wayne Foundation’s vision is for a world without child slavery. We are dedicated to providing direct assistance to those victimized by exploitation.

By starting the Wayne Foundation, Jamie Walton has taken one of the greatest most horrific things that could have happened to her in her life and turned it into a strength. By offering shelter, a network and access to integral services for young women who have been cruelly exploited – she offers them a way out, a way to start the process of escape and recovery from modern day sex slavery in America that the mainstream media barely even acknowledges and polite society doesn’t even want to talk about, let alone do anything.

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If you want to donate to this worthy cause, or simply find out more about the organisation and it’s services, then please visit the website Wayne Foundation Donation page.

You can listen to Jamie Walton’s heart breaking true story as she tells it over a series of Podcasts with Kevin Smith. It’s very hard to listen to, but I urge you, like Batman to face darkness head on rather than run away or be afraid of that which is extremely disturbing.

2. NEVER GIVE UP ON BECOMING THE GREATEST VERSION OF YOURSELF

The Batman is always learning, always adding to his skill set. Ever-becoming, always hungry, never satisfied. His yearning for self-knowledge, growth, understanding and developing his skills knows no limits. In real life we have to learn many skills to be of any use in the world – and that is a lifelong process.

To become better people, to grow up into a healthy fully functioning human being means accepting the responsibility for your own growth process. It also means whatever we can’t do alone we should get help with. Batman may spend most of his time alone, buy he has Alfred to help him every step of the way, and Bat-Family made up of Robin, Nightwing / Grayson, Batgirl, Huntress, Catwoman and others who help him during his most challenging crises.
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We become better people through co-operation with others and ourselves, through building life affirming habits rather than soul destroying addictions. Becoming the best version of yourself means going beyond your own self-imposed limits. It means saying “YES!” to life and getting off your ass every day, facing your demons and doing whatever the hell you need to do today that gets you to where you ought to be. It means learning whatever skills you have to – to get where you know you need to be in life.

Becoming the greatest version of yourself must be a conscious choice. It is an ongoing process. Like Batman, simply deciding what direction to face in, deciding where your life is heading in the future can have a powerful impact on today, on how you live your life every moment from now on.

Becoming the best version of yourself means living personal excellence at all levels, and always looking to make improvements however small or incremental. It means living life not just with your head, but with your heart. It means being vulnerable and afraid, and feeling shame or doubt or any any other universal human quality, accepting all of it and using it as fuel like Batman. Constantly driving us to become better versions of ourselves, and not accepting lazy excuses or half-hearted efforts. It means taking all your failures and successed and using them as fuel to propel you forward to greatness and new heights of achievement.

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Batman ain’t lazy, and he doesn’t do “too hard” or “can’t be bothered today” – he charges forward with an unbreakable laser-like focus on whatever he sets his attention to, and why would you want to give anything less than your best effort?

You are your most authentic self when you show up in life and give everything you have, making no excuses for mediocrity. Total dedication, total commitment, living with purpose in every step, in every breath – is a daily choice. You may fail, but you damn well better show up and give life your best effort, nobody can fault you for that.

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3. NO MATTER WHAT DIFFICULTIES YOU FACE IN LIFE – KEEP MOVING!

No matter what tragedies, good fortune and suffering we experience in this life, there is a hard truth that we have to make peace with. WE HAVE TO KEEP MOVING.

Life is growth and movement. We stop moving – we die.

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Giving up on ourselves or on those whom we are responsible for means remaining stationary, taking no strides towards our goals or mission in life. There are times and places to sit and contemplate, or talk with people who can help us through grief and other types of suffering. Whatever we do in life, we’re going to experience suffering. We can either be crippled by that revelation or empowered by it. If we know ahead of time, that there will good times and horrible times, we can mentally say to ourselves

“Yes, I am a going to face whatever challenges and suffering come my way in life, and like the Batman I’m going to rise up and embrace it, rather than run away or repress whatever fears I must face”

When you keep moving you have momentum, and it’s easier to change the direction of your life when you are already in motion, than when you are stationary.

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We all have the same 24 hours in a day. The only difference is how we use them. Every day we must get out of bed , brush our teeth, get dressed and face the world. So do whatever you have to do during hard times – cry, get angry, blame the world, the economy or whatever you like while you endure the unendurable – but keep moving. Batman welcomes challenges and difficulties – they make him stronger as he inevitably finds a way to overcome them – and you can do the same.

4. WHERE THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY

I have a silly expression I often like to say to myself:

“Batman does 5 IMPOSSIBLE things before breakfast”

It is an exaggeration on the myth of Batman as BAT-GOD (being unbeatable), but when you set your attitude to being able to do the “impossible” and just turn a blind eye and ear to anyone who tries to stop you or criticize you – you end up routinely doing the impossible.

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The impossible is not walking on water like Jesus, punching like the Hulk or flying like Superman – in the real world the so called impossible is often other people’s lack of faith in themselves and their own abilities projected onto you.

Or your own lack of faith in yourself and your abilities. Where would the world be if every time somebody said something was “impossible” we gave up without even trying? We would have no Batman for one thing.

DC EDITOR:  “We need another hero like Superman by Monday Bob!”

BOB KANE: “Well, that is impossible, it simply can’t be done so I won’t even try.”

When you stand for something in this world – whether you shine brightly in the sun like Superman, or do what you do best in obscurity like Batman in the shadows – well some people are going to get jealous and want to drag you back down to their level. Don’t let them do it. Be immune to critics, and do “5 Impossible Things Before Breakfast”.

Doing the impossible is not really about setting world records, or trying to impress anyone as it is about going beyond your own self-perceived limitations. You don’t know what you are truly capable of until you do it. And those who never try will seal their own fate as people dis-satisfied with life, too afraid of their own shadows to move forward and accomplish new things.

Batman kicking ass and taking names X

5. BATMAN IS NOT JUST MAN, A COSTUME, A LOGO OR URBAN BOOGEYMAN. BATMAN IS AN ATTITUDE.

I frequently refer to Batitude in my verbose rambling Batman articles.

Batitude is a fun word that was popularised with the release of The LEGO Movie. But more than a social meme, my version of Batitude represents having  a Batman like attitude to life. You are are reading about this attitude right now. I hope you also live it.

I apply the same kind of mental discipline to my physical and mental training, and values in life that Batman does.

Batman brooding black red background

You can leave out the the negative stuff about Batman – the depression, stand offish attitude and the murdered parents part, and embrace the good stuff from Batman. You can choose your own personal version of Batitude, Bat Wisdom and Bat Values and live it however you damn well please.

For me Batman is an avatar of darkness, of our individual and collective shadow self, someone who walks the line between light and darkness, denying nothing in himself and accepting everything. If you take a look at my Batman Value Grid you can see some of his overall qualities and characteristics. It’s up to you to choose the values your own values to live by.

table-of-batman-essential-qualities-by-john-sorensen

The particular values I aspire to live by in my own life inspired by Batman include:

Heroic, Determination, Goal Focused, Single Minded, Relentless, IRON WILL, Protector, Strong Man, Mission and Purpose.

However – I don’t always live up to those qualities, but I damn sure aim in that direction and take action every day of my life.

The alternative is to drift aimlessly through life standing for nothing, and being basically nothing. You know you’ve met people like that all too often, so don’t become one. Instead rise up like Batman and live the best life you can imagine for yourself and others. Find your own mission, find your own purpose and get busy being of service however you can.

BATITUDE 1

It’s up to you to choose your own values to live by, but whatever version of Batitude you apply in your own life, don’t compromise who you are, don’t give up on being the greatest version of yourself you can become. Remember that like Batman, at any stage of life you can totally reinvent yourself and go in new directions, learn new skills, and literally be a new person. No matter what tragedies you suffer, no matter what happens, you get up off your ass and keep moving. You take each day one step at a time, making steady progress towards your goals and dreams.

If you can’t remember all of that, then remember this simple mantra;

“BE LIKE BATMAN”

And remember whatever you do in life you can’t always choose the circumstances, but you can can control how you react to the circumstances and events of your life.

By choosing the right kind of BATITUDE!

batman david mazzucchelli bright night 2

HOW TO BE LIKE BATMAN PART#4: Build Self Confidence Brick by Brick

ROCKY_1 Sylvester Stallone

I’ve always said Rocky was semi-autobiographical.  Having grown up in the streets, I knew a million down and outers.  I knew what they ate, where they worked, how they thought.

Most of all, I understood their broken dreams.  I’m a guy who basically had to build himself from scratch.

-Sylvester Stallone

Many men who are now strong and confident were once weak and timid.

The way to build self-confidence, strength of character and physical strength is slowly.

Brick by brick, piece by piece.

Every day of every year you add a little at a time.

Until one day the person you were is no more.

From old timers like Charles Atlas, John Wayne and Jack Lalanne to modern day self-made men like that “wolf guy” from True Blood Joe Manganiello, Ah-Nuld Schwarzenegger, Sly Stallone and of course Bruce Wayne who would become the Batman, they are self made men who chose to develop themselves and their abilities.

These self made champions did not settle for what life handed them, but chose to mold their own destiny.

Sly Stallone Transformation skinny kid to muscle man and hero_resized
Old Rocky Rambo himself at age 10, in his 20’s, 30’s and 60’s (from left to right)

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Because of birth complications, Stallone suffered from a severed nerve in his face that left him with partial paralysis in parts of his face, giving him his trademark droopy faced snarl, and at times slurred sounding speech.

As kid, Stallone was teased by his peers and he didn’t like it one bit. His role models included Superboy, Steeve Reeves (a bodybuilder an on screen “Hercules” and of course his parents. His father was a physically robust hard working man and his mother opened one of the first Women’s gyms in Washington, DC in 1954.

Mom started exercising with her father (who knew Charles Atlas) when she was very young, and grew up hitting a punching bag and tossing around a medicine ball – Sylvester Stallone, from his book “Sly Moves”

Stallone struggled for years to become an actor, working all sorts of dead end jobs just to get by. That his breakout film Rocky was such a hit was in his own words “a million to one shot“. Stallone wrote the story of Rocky himself, and eventually succeeded in selling it to a studio with himself attached to star in the film, despite not being a bankable name.

To pull off that sort of magic you need unrelenting determination, belief in yourself, dogged persistence, a “can do” attitude that never quits and yes, ENORMOUS self-confidence. If you can’t convince yourself of how important you and your dreams are, then you don’t have a chance in hell of convincing anyone else in this world how important you are.

Joe Manganiello skinny kid to celebrity man candy

JOE MANGANIELLO

Joe Manganiello used to be a timid skinny geek who grew up to be “that werewolf guy” on True Blood. Joe Manganiello became even more popular with his co-starring roles in Magic Mike and its sequel Magic Mike XXL. Joe has also released his own fitness and training/bodybuilding book and has hosted an episode of WWE Monday Night Raw with Hulk Hogan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Joe defied cultural stereotypes by being both a genuine Geek and simultaneously an athlete as he grew up. What he learned along the way, is that you have to want to change and find that place in yourself, that reason to better yourself. He admits that alcohol was problem for him for a while, that is long behind him now, and he also gave up cigarettes, which were hurting his conditioning and level of fitness and health.

It’s not about what you can get away with, it’s about becoming the best you can possibly can be. It’s not about the exterior. The aesthetics wind up becoming a bi-product of this internal work. It’s more about motivating and being the best person you can be, and as a result your body will transform. It’s not about vanity it’s about evolving as a person. – Joe Manganiello on his workout ethos / GQ Magazine Online UK

John Wayne Football kid western legend

JOHN WAYNE

John Wayne was born Marion Mitchell Morrison, a name he didn’t much care for. Some local firemen he would pass on the way to school gave him the nickname “Duke” and that name stuck around long enough for the boy to become a man and a screen legend beloved in America and around the world.

The good Duke rode off into sunsets and into our hearts as the model of hard work, integrity, kindness, dignity, strength, pride, self-confidence and self-reliance. John Wayne tried a bit of everything as he grew up. He was an athlete, and involved in 101 extra curricular activities through school and college. John Wayne was not afraid to try many different things, he was not afraid to fail and try new things.

Duke Morrison started as not just an extra but an all rounder on film sets, pitching in and getting involved with anything he could. John Ford took an interest in the young man, and eventually after a decade of B-Westerns Ford put Wayne in the film that would become his breakout role and a genuine Western classic – Stagecoach.

But John Wayne did not become a living legend overnight. He worked, harder than most other actors, and he built himself from who he was – Marion Mitchell Morrison, into who he became – America’s most beloved screen Cowboy The Duke one step at a time.

Captain-America Steve Rogers skinny to mantabulous

STEVE ROGERS

Captain America is the fantasy of every skinny kid who wants to grow up big and strong. While Steve Rogers gained tremendous muscle and power from the super soldier process and seemingly did not have to work for his strength, he still had to train himself in combat. Steve Rogers the man possessed tremendous willpower, kindness, bravery and self-confidence before he ever became Captain America.

In stories where Cap lost his powers, Steve Rogers the man still showed the same courage, will power, determination and resilience that is at the heart of Captain America.

Captain America sayings

Steve Roger’s bravery, heart, guts, integrity and character did not come from the super soldier process, they were there to begin with. He built those qualities brick by brick. A lesser man would not have been chosen for the Super Soldier program.

Steve Rogers is every skinny kid in America who wants to grow into a “real” man. While muscles and an athletic physique are naturally desirable (and a worthwhile pursuit) being a “real” man is every bit as much about developing character, confidence and the courage of ones convictions – and that is something that every person can develop in themselves if they choose to. The Sentinel of Liberty may have been gifted genetic enhancements by science, but the man and his self-confidence and belief had to be built up brick by brick.

Bruce Wayne kid parents murdered-tile

BRUCE WAYNE

Bruce Wayne could have lived a soft and cushy life of comfort, he could have given up on himself and on life after the brutal murder of his parents before his eyes when he was as child. Instead he remade himself into a modern day urban legend. A mountain of a man – he wills himself to be the best detective, and crime fighter in the world and he puts in the hard work to become what he imagined he wanted to be.

Bruce Wayne remade himself piece by piece, step by step, brick by brick until the timid terrorised child  was no more. In his place was a man of iron will, courage, determination, passion and devotion to his never ending war on crime. Batman’s desire to stop criminals and serve the needs of others knows no limits. He knowingly fights an impossible battle he can not ever win.

Bruce Wayne fights a never ending war on crime in his persona as Batman. He stops the maniacs and the mob that are beyond the reach of ordinary cops. As Bruce Wayne – businessman and philanthropist – Wayne invests in the community, social programs and more to not only fight the symptoms of crime, but build a better future, a better Gotham by addressing the true needs of the people he serves.

As Batman he punches crime in the face, and he will not stop. EVER. Everyday Batman rededicates himself to his cause, he renews his vows to war on crime and terrorise the underworld the way they terrorised him as a child.

Batman Begins Quote Compassion Ras Al Ghul

Being Batman means making sacrifices, it means giving up on luxuries and soft living, it means utter and total dedication to ones cause with little time for the “normal” activities of life. In this sense Batman is somewhat of a Zealot, he is fanatical in his training, in his application of intelligence, to being the best version of himself he can be.

Batman proves that man who CAN make a difference, that an individual can stand up for the common good, to crime and corruption, one man can say “ENOUGH” to the insanity of crime the mob and corrupt cops and “YES” to Justice.

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The transformation from scared child to unrelenting crime fighting machine did not happen over night for Batman. He trained himself in various arts step by step. As his skills and abilities grew, so did his confidence. Bruce Wayne built self-confidence brick by brick, one piece at a time.

If we choose to, we can do build the same type of self-confidence in our own lives. We can build confidence through real world experience, and we don’t have to suffer through some horrific tragedy to inspire us to be the strongest version of ourselves.

One day you wake up and the person you were is no more.

The transformation from a timid child to a confident man is total. People you meet in life feel your immediate presence. They feel your firm handshake, your warm smile, your good posture, physical strength and strength of character.  You radiate charm, confidence and sincerity. The kind of confidence that Batman / Bruce Wayne has that you just can’t fake.

This type of transformation is not easy it takes time, and it takes a lot of effort.  Above all it takes the will to try, to experiment with new behaviors and new learning.  And it takes a consistent effort day by day that never wavers.

It takes a consistent and even effort day by day to reach new heights and stop making excuses for living a mediocre life. To stop justifying why you can’t do something and simply believe in yourself and in your plan. Whatever your goals in life may be, you move towards them one step at a time and live the life you intend.

Building Self-Confidence is one of the most important things any man or woman will ever do. I am a man so I tend to use the male pronoun in my writing. But male and female, young or old can take the same lessons and apply them. Confidence is not the domain of any one individual or group.

Batman profile_1

You don’t have to be a weight lifter or athlete or Batman to develop self-confidence, but it doesn’t hurt.

What does matter is that you cultivate your body and your mind. Neglect either and your total self-confidence will never be what it could be.

Neglect any part of yourself and that weakness will show through to every person you meet without ever saying a world.

A confident person carries themselves with a spring in their step. They know that life is on their side, and they spring out of bed with something to look forward to each day. The man of true self-confidence is always learning and growing and challenging himself as a human being, and continually pushes past artificial self imposed limits.

Those who have no confidence in themselves and their own abilities can never convince others of their worth. The confident man gets the job or makes the sale or accomplishes the task he set himself not through inflating his sense of self, but by honestly expressing himself and daily taking action towards his dreams and goals.

People who live without self-confidence in their actions remain in patterns of self-defeating behavior that will sabotage their efforts for a lifetime.

Any “confidence” they project will be false and worthless, a man (or woman) of real confidence, strength and integrity is unshakable, their will is absolute.

Real self-confidence expects nothing, and gives everything.

Confidence, sincerity, passion, enthusiasm and honesty are the values that will thrust an individual in the direction of their dreams like an unstoppable force of nature, like the unstoppable Batman who just keep moving forward no matter what. These are the values epitomised by characters like Superman, Batman, Captain America, Wonder Woman and other great timeless heroic characters.

Batman Bruce Wayne kid parents dead grim dark avenger

When faced with difficulties and challenges in life, the confident self-assured person facces them knowingly and willingly, knowing that struggle and challenge are the proving grounds of life.  We are never saddled with a challenge or difficulty in life without also the ability to also overcome that challenge, to use that struggle as fuel to grow into a more evolved and well rounded person.

Real self-confidence comes not from any external source, but from the power within our own hearts and minds. Confidence is not dependent on being an athlete or physical culturist, those are just examples – Christopher Reeve for example was still a vital confident and outspoken man after he lost the use of most of his body. Christopher Reeve continued to be an inspiring real life hero after his career as the worlds best on screen Superman.

Chris Reeve’s books Still Me and Nothing is Impossible memoirs are testaments to hard work, determination, strength of character, strength of will and unbeatable confidence.

The man who can be beat is the man who gives up on himself and his dreams.

The man who never gives up, can never truly be beaten. It is one of the reasons we love Batman. It is why Christopher Reeve in real life is just as inspiring as his persona of Superman.

The confident man who takes a hard road day by day. He builds himself one brick at a time.

His efforts are ceaseless and untiring.

Batman leaping pin up

There is no great secret to being this kind of person, other than choosing to be who you already imagine yourself to be in your heart of hearts.

To find our way out of the confusion of doubt, insecurity, and indecision the simplest way is to look for good role models and emulate them. To find people who have already done what we seek to achieve and see HOW they went about their accomplishments. We model those who have come before us who have done great things so that we too may be great.

Batman learned from the example of The Shadow and Zorro, forerunners who helped to inspire him in his quest for Justice and War on Crime.

It is up to your seek out your own role models and find out how they became good at what they do. Confidence comes with practicing our abilities, talents and skills and applying them daily in the art of living.

The confident man is the man who chooses to be confident. Who experiments with his own life. Who tries new things and instead of beating himself up when he fails, learns from his failures and moves on. The confident man is too busy celebrating and mentally reliving his victories in his mind, creating powerful emotional associations that help him build on his successes.

No matter how big or small his victories and successes the man of confidence keeps a record of his greatest mental movies and he reviews them regularly. He may do so daily or weekly. The confident man sees failure not as failure but as essential feedback in the ongoing process of self-actualization. He builds on his successes and learns from his failures.

The man of true confidence sees and experiences failure as a great benefit to his way of being. Those who have not failed in life, can never truly succeed for they have not dared to go to places where they must to become who life is asking them to be.

The World’s Finest - Created by Vassilis Dimitros

Where there is pain there is growth, where there is struggle and resistance comes new learning and transcending of ones circumstance. The strongest sword is forged is the hottest fire. The strongest most confident individual is not the man with the cushy life of soft living luxury and excess, but the man with the difficult life who makes the best of it and accepts his challenges with gratitude. Knowing that every action, every plan that does not work is driving him closer to his goals, closer to the plans and actions that DO work out.

The pain young Bruce Wayne went through when his parents were shot right before his eyes was horrific. But as horrible as that event was, Bruce would not become Batman without that defining moment. From his tragedy came great strength. From his tragedy came the fire of passion and pain that would eventually forge young Bruce Wayne into the living weapon that is Batman. From that one tragic moment was born the fire in Bruce Wayne’s heart that always burns.

In that moment of unspeakable tragedy, the seeds were sown that would eventually transform Bruce Wayne from an ordinary mortal into a modern myth – the Batman. An unrelenting one man army who never stops in his crusade to terrorise and dismantle Gotham’s underworld.

Batman is a metaphor for the alchemy of our own soul. He symbolises how to integrate and transform our darkest impulses and direct them toward our highest good.

A man of confidence is not infallible. He may have doubts and make mistakes. We are all human.

The difference is the CAN DO confident man gets off his ass and takes action every day.

the “can’t won’t don’t” man refuses to lift a finger to help himself, does nothing and justifies his every vice when he should instead be building virtues.

The can do man relives mental movies of all his successes and greatest joys in life daily.

The failure man relives mental movies of all his greatest failures and excuses and wonders why he feels miserable.

The can do attitude man and the failure attitude man – Which one will YOU be?

As babies we learn to crawl, then walk, then run.

It is hard for a baby to crawl.

It is hard for a baby to even lift its heavy head.

But without that challenge, the babies leg and torso muscles would never grow strong enough to for it to be able to walk at all. A baby lifting its head gets one hell of a workout. From resistance comes strength and growth.

No resistance = no strength, no growth

Christophe Reeve the real life Superman

Christopher Reeve after his paralysis inducing horse riding accident instead of becoming a weaker broken man, became a man stronger in mind and spirit. How did he find that inner strength? It may be different for each person, but we all have to reach down into out very depths and find our own motivation, our own mission in life. Chris made his mission helping others through being a spinal cord research advocate, as well as his work with various charities and organisations around rehabilitation and stem cell research.

His body may have become weaker after his accident, but his mind became stronger. As a man he radiated the same confidence and charm he had before he had his accident. Proving that you don’t need to a bodybuilder or athlete to be confident in who you are. Self-confidence comes from authentically being who you already are, owning every strength and every flaw, not making excuses or trying to justify your existence to anyone for any reason.

If there is something you don’t know how to do, rather than faking your way through life like a con-man in a B-movie, instead learn the skills you need to become confident at your chosen task or responsibility.

You build on your strengths, and while you don’t ignore your weaknesses, you don’t let them hold you back.

Celebrate, build on and yes – mentally relive your greatest successes in vivid detail, but learn also from your failures, and vow to be a little better tomorrow than you were yesterday.

Men such as Jack Lalanne and Joe Manganiello who were once weak in mind and body humbled themselves and learned what they needed to do to transform into the men they imagined themselves to be.

The Dark Knight Batman 1

Bruce Wayne imagined himself as highly trained and capable in his mind, then he went out in the world and became what he had already imagined himself to be.

Joe Manganiello imagined himself as big, confident and strong – and found a way.

Steve Rogers imagined being the man he wanted to be in his mind first, before it happened in reality.

Jack Lalanne, American fitness pioneer – and one of the fittest and strongest men that ever walked the planet – was once a skinny kid who ate “mostly junk food” and knew nothing about Nutrition or Strength Training. That kid grew up to open some of the earliest gymnasiums in America and promote healthy lifestyles and healthy foods all over the world for decades. What was Jack’s secret?

He IMAGINED who he wanted to be in his mind first. Jack Lalanne saw Paul Bragg on stage and knew he wanted to be healthy and strong like his role model. Jack may not have known how to become like Paul Bragg, but he knew it was possible, and he found a way to better himself through emulating his role model.

A young Sly Stallone looked up to Steve Reeves and saw what was possible.

A young Arnold Schwarzenegger looked up to and emulated Reg Park, and saw “what was possible”.

What did these men all have in common? They had the burning desire to better themselves, to be more than they were. They had the passion and determination to find a way, BEFORE they knew how to grow confident and strong. They could see in others what was possible.

Most importantly they had to admit the POSSIBILITY into their own minds that they too could better themselves, they had to get past their own self-imposed doubts, insecurities and thoughts like “I can’t do it”.

These men of confidence and will power all had to dig down and find a way to believe in themselves and in their dreams, and you too need to find that place in yourself if you truly want to better yourself.

Batman art_2

These men of confidence and determination had to beat lousy doubt riddled thinking into the ground with a hammer. When thoughts of lack and failure once again entered their minds, they beat back those thoughts once again. They fed their mind over and over again with thoughts of confidence, bravery, strength, success and examples of those who had gone before them.

They hypnotised themselves again and again into knowing that they could succeed at their hearts desire. They showed the unrelenting determination and persistence of the Batman who has no place for doubt and insecurity in his mind.

How did Bruce Wayne transform himself from timid child to a mountain of a man? He imagined he was already who he wished to be in his heart of hearts. He then practiced daily over and over being that person, until he was that person. He mentally rehearsed becoming the best most strongest version of himself he could imagine, and built himself into that man day by day, step by step, brick by brick.

Bruce Wayne burst through the barrier of cultural indoctrination and well meaning others who tell us what we “can’t do” in life, and who encourage us to “set limits”, “don’t overdo it” and never do anything truly worthwhile.

Bruce Wayne went to that place where all great men and women must go. Into the very fire of their own being, into the very depths of their psyche. Into the depths of their own heart and soul, and emerged a stronger man. Reborn, with a mission and a purpose. To “BE BATMAN”.

We first build the best version of ourselves in our own mind through imagination – then find a way to create that version of ourselves in the exterior world.

The Batman knows his own mind, his own values and he is confident in and at peace with who he is and what he stands for. While he is tormented by the death of his parents, time and again he reaches deep down into his own psyche and finds a way to rise above his circumstances in life. While he may lose his edge and sometimes his sanity in the comic books, Batman always comes home to who he is. He always comes back to his core mission, and to being the best Batman he can be.

Batman Dark Knight Jim Lee

Despite Batman’s numerous failures he keeps trying. He keeps moving forward atoning for his mistakes by renewed unwavering dedication to his war on crime.

Batman’s terrible childhood tragedy could have destroyed him but instead it made him stronger.

Something in that young Bruce Wayne emerged the day his parents died that would later develop into the character we know as Batman. A deep vital feeling that he would leave the world a different place than when he entered it.

One night after months of training his various capacities, in an introspective moment sitting in his fathers chair, Bruce Wayne looks out the window and sees a bat. A moment of inspiration strikes him. He decides to become a self-invented myth. To strike fear into the hearts of “superstitious and cowardly” criminals, to wage a one man war on crime that never ends.

Batman choose to go beyond his own self-imposed limitations, he choose to rise. He choose to reinvent himself. Batman did not just reinvent himself once time. He reinvents himself daily.

While as children we are dependent on others to help us build self-confidence, as adults we must take responsibility for our own sense of self-worth and confidence. If we don’t treat ourselves right, how can we expect others to?

However we feel internally is what we project to others in social situations. The man who feels love and respect for himself loves and respects other people. But the man who feels miserable and worthless inside feels that others are also miserable and worthless. He is incapable of seeing another’s world view.

Batman vs Joker in Rain 1

As adults we can consciously seek out healthy environments to develop all types of skills. We can find clubs, groups, teams etc to be a part of where we practice something we enjoy, and get positive accurate feedback and criticism from others who care about us and want us to succeed not only in life, but in being who we already are.

The man  who fears genuine criticism is afraid of change and afraid of growth. To become out best self we must get accurate feedback from trusted sources. We are free to embrace or ignore the feedback from others. But if we consistently get the same message from trusted sources, then there is a fair chance we have a habit or character flaw that needs addressing.

The bullish unthinking idiot continues down a path of self-destruction blindly, the wise man knows he is also an ignorant fool but seeks to improve himself daily.

The wise man considers others people’s point of view but ultimately he is the judge of his actions. Only he knows his true motivations and intentions. Only he can decide what changes may be necessary, what skills he may be lacking, what direction to evolve in next.

I will learn to stand upon my feet and express myself in clear, concise, and simple language, and to speak with force and enthusiasm, in a matter that will carry conviction. I will cause others to become interested in me, because I will first become interested in them. I will eliminate selfishness and develop in its place the spirit of service. – Napoleon Hill

Batman_4

The fire of pain and suffering is not meant to drag us down to make us drown a thousand small deaths. Suffering is there to motivate us to go beyond our personal story and drama, suffering is there as feedback in life that motivates us to better ourselves, to grow, to evolve – not to hold us back.

Men and women of great self-confidence share various traits. They don’t get lost in the “story of suffering” and their personal life dramas. They choose to rise above it.

They tend to have a more accurate view of themselves and their abilities, no matter what other people tell them.

A confident person knows that their own opinion of themselves is a million times more important than any other person’s opinion about them.

They know that are worthy, that they matter, that they have a unique and essential place in the universe.

They know and feel this in every cell in their bodies, in every bone and muscle, in every atom, in every thought, feeling and emotion.

Their essential worth as a human being of the confident man is never in doubt. No matter what troubles doubts or insecurities they may encounter in life, the man of self-confidence knows he has a right to live and express himself and feels himself to be neither superior nor inferior to any other human being on this planet. Regardless of social standing, wealth, status or privilege.

The self-confident man knows he is here for a reason, and he is too busy getting on with his life’s mission to be wasting time indulging in anything other than that.  He has no time for naysayers, nor the doubting Thomas’ of the world.

Like Batman we each have our own unique purpose in life, it is up to us find out what that is, to choose our own purpose and live it.

We test ourselves daily in trying out new things, in being unafraid to be who we already are, our unique self.

Being confident in who you are doesn’t mean throwing away all your bad habits and trying to live some impossibly perfect life – that road is a short path to misery. Being confident and at peace with who you are simply means accepting yourself exactly as you are RIGHT NOW in this moment, not in some imaginary future that never arrives.

It means that if you have things you are not happy with in your own character you take steps to do something about that, but you still have to accept yourself where you are right now and not beat yourself up – the world will do that for you.

Batman comic art pin up awesome 3

Being confident means being at peace with your flaws and your strengths and not being caught up in the game of believing you are better or worse than any other person. you acknowledge where you are at in life, and continue to grow and improve in whatever way suits you best. Every person has a right to love and accept themselves exactly as they are.

Push back the mask and Bruce Wayne seems lost and unsure. Slip it on and he becomes someone else, more confident in action, more definitive in deed. On the inside maybe Bruce Wayne is not that much removed from a little boy who lost his parents so very long ago. But Batman—the guy Bruce becomes when he’s in costume—can’t afford to express doubts or insecurity. His mask doesn’t just hide his features: it helps define them. – Paul Asay – God on the Streets of Gotham

Being confident doesn’t mean being a jerk to people and never apologising for anything. It does mean that we work on ourselves daily, beating our bad-habits into submission like Batman beating up some punk in an alley. Not to live to please others but to live an authentic life. A life where we don’t accept mediocrity, excuses and laziness as an excuse for living an unsatisfying life.

We each live the life we choose, and if we don’t like the life we have chosen so far, at ANY time we can reinvent ourselves like Batman did and live a new life. The thing is what you do in life doesn’t matter all that much. The events of your life don’t matter a whole lot, but how you process them and whay you do with them in your own mind DOES matter. Will the events of your life as an excuse to be miserable or as excuse to transcend who you were yesterday?

Being truly confident means that we stand up not only for our own rights, but those of others. The sane man, the confident man admits to his failings and mistakes, but doesn’t let his flaws hold him back, doesn’t use his mistakes or character flaws as excuses for not living the life he intends to live.

What does matter is the energy and attention you bring to what you do.

What does matter is the concentration and focus you bring to your daily tasks in life.

What matters is that you are at peace with who you are and what you stand for. Even when surrounded by people who question your motivations and character, even while you serve the needs others and taking care of them, even when you don’t agree with them. Even when your Bat-Family is telling you to go in one direction, and you defiantly insist on marching in another direction.

At times Batman becomes unbalanced and his Bat-Family plead with him to stop being so self-destructive. Sometimes Batman is right and goes his own path. Sometimes he is dead wrong – be he still goes his own way.

Batman’s will is absolute – even when he is absolutely wrong. Batman follows a course of action to its conclusion. His friends such as Alfred Pennywoth, Jim Gordon and his Bat-Family will still be there after the crisis has passed to support him. Even when Batman truly goes off the deep end they still support him, and sometimes that means they walk away and leave Batman alone until his bout of madness has passed.

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What can we learn from Batman?

That it is better to do something wrong with total conviction, than do something right in a half-arsed way.

You learn more by trusting your own instincts that constantly readjusting you values and actions to suit other people. Even when you are wrong, you are wrong with integrity. You can pause and examine your own actions and make changes. You can make mistakes with the awareness of how you will do something differently next time.

Better to make conscious mistakes than unconscious successes.

That is how Batman never truly fails. Whether Batman succeeds or fails he throws himself at life 100%, never doubting himself or his abilities. But when Batman does make mistakes, he later has the introspection and conscious attention to admit them first to himself, then to others. Batman takes actions to correct his bad habits as much as possible.

But life is unpredictable, and we can not afford to drift through life living on auto pilot. We must pay attention not only to what we do but WHY we do it, and when we veer off course – have the wisdom to correct our course in life and the courage to seek help from others when we are unable to do this for ourselves.

There is a difference between beating your self-defeating habits, and being manipulated by others into believing something is a flaw that may actually be a strength.

We must cultivate the wisdom to question our own actions and the effect they may have on others. But not in the middle of when we have already embarked down a particular road. If we are constantly doing U-turns in life, constantly starting new projects and never finishing anything, then we don’t get to that place of satisfaction of having completed and seen the full consequences of our choices.

Leaders who question themselves openly in front of their group sow seeds of doubt with disastrous consequences in those who follow them.

A leader such as Batman must act with total confidence and faith in himself even when he is full of doubts about his chosen course of action, lest the doubt spread to those he leads.

Only after we have made our choices can we in retrospect look back and say we made a bad choice. It is impossible to know the full repercussions of any of our choices in life. We must act and decide with limited information, and not be crippled by doubt and indecision. Rarely is making no choice at all, or hiding from our responsibilities better than making a conscious decision, even if it is later seen as a bad decision.

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Our confidence grows the more the more we come to know who we are and what we are about.  The more we express ourselves openly and honestly. The more we know our own mind and don’t apologise for who we are and what we stand for, the more we settle into ourselves.

If we want to become like Batman it means owning our faults and flaws, but not using them as excuses to hold us back. Like Batman we become confident beings by living life the best way we know how. We work daily to banish the demons of doubt, insecurity and self-loathing from our mind. We become who we intend to be by accepting ourselves as we already are, while making strides to daily better ourselves. We ask others not to adapt to our bad habits, but accept that we are all beautifully flawed in totally unique ways.

True self-confidence is not about dominating others, getting ahead, being successful in worldly terms or proving anything to anybody.  True self-confidence comes from within and is not based on external values.

My will to do springs from the knowledge that I CAN DO. I’m only being natural, for there is no fear or doubt inside my mind. – Bruce Lee

True self-confidence is about inner integrity, about knowing your place in the world, what you are about, what you are for and living that daily.  When one lives a life of honest integrity where nothing is forced, nothing is faked, confidence naturally flows from who we are and what we stand for.  There is no need for motivational courses and endless marketing tricks, props or supports that elicit temporary euphoria but do not enact real lasting change in the individual’s psyche or daily habits.

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To be confident in who we are and how we apply ourselves to our daily tasks may mean starting from scratch, building ourselves up brick by brick.  Perhaps we are an expert at kung-fu or sewing or swimming. But then we try Formula-1 racing or building a house or something as simple as mowing a lawn for the first time – and we are back at square one, like a little baby finding its way in the world.

Building our confidence brick by brick means being humble, learning from those who already know that which we wish to learn, and modelling “what works”.  The more we immerse ourselves in high quality knowledge, principles, and hands on practical experience, the faster we grow and learn.  The more we act on our learning, try, test and fail, hypothesise and try again, the more feedback we get and the faster our confidence, skill and ability grows.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. – Samuel Beckett

True self-confidence then is not about fooling others, but is based on genuine experience in living.

Anyone can “fake” being confident.  A man may walk, talk and act “tough”, but the moment he steps into the ring with a professional boxer, wrestler or MMA champ, all that false confidence and bravado goes straight out the window.

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The man who learns day by day a little at a time, always making subtle improvements and further distinctions grows in confidence slowly but assuredly. Batman is the man who is forever learning and growing, but like his progenitor Sherlock Holmes he limits his learning to what is relevant to his war on crime.

The man who is unafraid to express who he is and what he stands for daily grows more confident than the man who never lifts a finger to help himself or others. Who never stands up for himself or others, and never expresses his most heartfelt desires or takes any steps towards their manifestation.

Life is action, life is motion.

The universe demands conscious aware people. Life demands that we stand up and pay attention to who we are, and honestly express ourselves.  If we never act, we never fail.  If we never fail, we never truly succeed at anything. If we never try we never learn from our failures, we never learn to fail better.

Without resistance, without feedback, there is nothing to gauge our efforts against.

Without resistance there is no impetus to grow, no demonstrated lack of ability that causes us  to self-assess our own abilities and find them lacking.

To be good at something, to be confident at something, or to be merely confident in who we are, happy in our skin is one and the same thing.

There is no “practice” in life, therefore every day in life is “practice”.

There is no true “winning” or “losing” in life, merely perception. Therefore all we have is our daily lives and how we feel about who we are.

Batman is the man who is daily practicing his skills and talents. He is always prepared, ever alert to opportunity and takes action not in haste, but after careful consideration of the numerous tactical options available to him. Batman focuses his efforts like a laser beam concentrated and unbroken in his intensity.

He treats every rehearsal, every practice element in building his skills as the “real thing”, therefore when faced with true danger he remains calm and detached from the situation. Batman relies on his highly conditioned physical reflexes, his vast knowledge of escape artistry and perhaps his greatest asset  – his infinitely flexible mind.

The Batman remains flexible and adaptable in any situation. Able to turn the odds in his favour or pull a victory out of a seemingly impossible situation. His art is that of infinite adaptability and pliability. He is present in the moment, and able to respond in exactly the right way in exactly the right moment, using his calculated precise tactics to the maximum effect.

Give Batman a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and he will move the world.

In a battle with Batman if you give him an inch, he will take a mile. Batman is so confident, strong and adaptable in his abilities that he can take whatever his adversaries throw at him and use it against them. He uses his iron-will and mental abilities to be five steps ahead of any opponent.

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What does self-willed mean? Does it mean “having a will of one’s own?” The human herd instinct demands adaptation and subordination, but for his highest honor man elects not the meek, the pusillanimous, the supine, but precisely the self-willed man, the heroes.

– Bruce Lee

What actions we take to change how we feel on any given day give us new opportunities to develop self-confidence. We take action and we get feedback. Whether we succeed or fail in our task we have the satisfaction of knowing that we gave it everything we had. We have the peace of mind that follows living life with integrity.

The man who always has the support of his family, friends and peers may feel confident.  The man whom finds himself without tragedy or struggle may feel confident. The man who feels that all things in life come easily to him may also feel confident.

But no man knows true self-confidence who has not also known pain, struggle and defeat.

No man knows true confidence who has not known adversity, hopelessness and been to his lowest of lows.

Batman  has been down in the very gutters of his mind time and again. Batman has been at his absolute lowest and he always finds a way to bounce back. He finds a reason to continue, he has the need to RISE like the phoenix. Reinventing himself time and again, turning struggle and adversity into indomitable strength and resilience.

When a man has experienced every kind of horror and rises up, pulls himself back from the depths of despair and desperation, like Rocky, Bond or Batman – he has applied all he learned to bettering himself in every conceivable way. Then he can claim to possess true self-knowledge and self-confidence that is unshakable, that is unknowable to anyone other than him.

People directed by external events and circumstances are unconscious creators, they refuse to be the agent of change. They refuse to be the authors of their own life story.

To these outer directed people, inner directed confident individuals who take their cues not from the world out there, but their own heart and mind in here such as Batman – life is somewhat of a mystery.

But to any who would confidently claim their own self, who would stand up and be who they already are, who express themselves openly and honestly, and boldly march forward – the world makes way for such people.

Living not from  a sense of entitlement, but a knowing that life has the meaning and depth that you give to it, that you invest in yourself and in those you love and are responsible for.

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The Batman is a man who has explored the depths of his own psyche. He has explored pleasure and pain, he knows true suffering and true joy.  He lives as a mountain of a man, unshakable in his convictions.

The Batman lives his life on purpose with total confidence in his abilities and total conviction of his purpose.

Batman knows his actions matter, that he matters and that his confidence in his trained abilities is total and uncompromising.

Faced with impossible situations, deadly encounters, poisons, death traps, ferocious foes and allies alike, The Batman pauses for a breath, savors the moment, for all of this “drama” out here is merely a warm up, merely a respite from his own intense training.

Whatever his enemies put him through, whatever tortures they may dream up to “break” the Batman, he has already willingly put himself through far worse by  his own hand.

The Batman know that daily life is mere practice. Every little step Batman takes is feedback, it may destroy him or fuel his greatness. The stuff of life is there for us to experience and use as fuel to transform our own lives. We may not have control over many of the events of our lives, but we always have the ability to choose out attitude to life.

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Batman’s confidence is total, he acts like it all matters, but in his heart he knows whatever difference he makes in the world will be insignificant and small, he knows that can not rid the world of crime permanently.

But that doesn’t matter.

Batman throws himself time and again into impossible situations no matter the danger, no matter the risk, no matter if it means today he dines in hell, HE NEVER STOPS.

Batman fights the impossible fight.  Batman accomplishes five impossible things before breakfast while we sleep. Why? Because he’s Batman. That is what he does. But also because he chooses to do the impossible. Batman will not accept ordinary limitations saddled on him by society.

Batman dedicates himself to a cause that is unwinnable that will never end, that can only bring pain and misery.  He sees all this and laughs, for it is good to struggle. It is good to have a boulder to carry or roll up a mountain every day. For struggle and resistance gives us something to push against, it is how he grow in self-confidence and real world abilities. Struggle and resistance are how we build true strength and iron will. Not through soft living, but through sheer will power and determination.

The Batman struggles and he is grateful for it, how else would he test his limits. How else would he transcend himself.

The Batman rededicates himself to his cause daily. His training never ends. His practice never ends. His determination never ends. His courage, determination and strength of character never end. His life may be defined by one moment of suffering, but suffering to Batman is only another type of knowledge, another of life’s experiences to live and transcend. To feel deeply, passionately and intimately in full awareness, yet not be bound by his suffering.

In a way, however horrible the circumstances that lead Bruce Wayne to becoming Batman, he is grateful because every experience he has endured has made him into the best Batman he can possibly be. Into the man who dedicates himself in service to a higher good, to serving the people of Gotham as their Guardian and eternal protector.

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Some train and live and grow weak in the best of conditions.

Some people – like the Batman – forge hearts of iron and minds of steel in the worst possible conditions.  They thrive under adversity. The Batman doesn’t shrink away from adversity and challenge in life, he rises like the immortal phoenix, time and again reinventing himself and meeting life’s challenges head on with total confidence, courage, passion and conviction.

He commands body and mind to do his bidding, no matter the external circumstances of his life.

Men of confidence bring their best self forward. Their true self emerges in the white hot fire of pain, difficulty and suffering. They see it all and rise above it, refusing to give an inch, refusing to be a victim, to give up and go home, to crawl away and die somewhere in a corner.

Like Batman, men of confidence have fire in their belly and grit in their eye.

Whether they stand alone or with others, they are naked and unashamed in the world, and they would have it no other way.

Destiny waits for no man.

But destiny will bend and serve those who call it master.

Destiny will serve those whom command themselves to be in alignment with life.

Faced with the choice of being a coward who sinks into mediocrity or being a confident man like Batman who rises – which will you choose?

As for my choice? It’s the same choice I make every day. The one that fills me with determination to face life head on whatever comes my way.

BE LIKE BATMAN!

I am Batman I am the night I am vengeance

READ MORE ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES:

HOW TO BE LIKE BATMAN PART#1: Mental Training and Physical Conditioning

How to Be Like Batman PART#2: Develop an IRON WILL

How to Be Like BATMAN PART#3: CORE VALUES