Lessons from Paul and Peter Parker

What we all wish would happen v what actually happens
What we all wish would happen v what actually happens

A picture tells a thousand words, and here’s what I think they are for this one in particular… I’m writing based on the assumption that this guy didn’t consult a doctor after his spider bite; I’m assuming he allowed the venom to fester for a period of time in the hopes of achieving his new-found dream of becoming Spiderman…

  1. Even the seemingly best-laid plans don’t always go the way you expect. We all know what this guy – let’s call him Paul – had in mind when he felt that spider bite. And we are all thinking, ‘NOOOOOOOO!’ Sometimes others can see the folly in your ways, so always seek advice (1) from those you trust and (2) from those with knowledge and expertise in that area. Perhaps, if Paul had told his friends and family (trusted source) about his bite and his vision for the future as a result of his bite, they would have advised him to visit a doctor or A&E (expert)! They instead may have envisioned swelling, itching, numbness, fever, vomiting, and serious illness (http://firstaid.about.com/od/bitesstings/qt/07_spider_bites.htm) . And ultimately they would have been correct.
  2. Movies lie! This rule applies equally to comic books, cartoons, TV shows (even the so-called ‘reality’ ones), magazines, social media sites etc. Every day, people watch fictional stories that seem as believable as if it were happening to them. Nowadays, It appears to be the non-fictional ‘reality story’ that is most detached from the truth. If you want to learn how to be a genius physicist, watching The Theory of Everything may give you a few tips and pointers (I haven’t watched it!), but it won’t tell you the whole truth. Being ‘based on a true story’ allows room for embellishments; creative license is ubiquitous in Hollywood. If Paul had stopped and reflected for a moment, he would have realised his dream was based on a fictional comic-book hero, and perhaps re-evaluated his decision to not visit a doctor. So always check your sources!
  3. Create your own path. In Paul’s case, he found out too late that his destiny was not the same as Peter Parkers! Spiderman was bitten by a radioactive spider, but it had just the right level of toxicity, and his body and DNA had just the right levels of whatever it needed to react with the venom to mutate perfectly. We all have our own individual stories and journeys to take. So be careful when you are tempted to wholly emulate another because their road is not always the desired route for you – find your best fit and run with it.
  4. Sometimes thinking ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ is a good idea. Paul saw the best case scenario and launched into it without considering alternative, adverse consequences. I often employ the phrase – ‘expect the best, but prepare for the worst’. I appreciate it is a slightly cynical way to walk through life, but it is definitely necessary. Life is made up of the ‘unexpected’. So taking a lesson from Baden-Powell’s Scout and Girl Guide motto: always ‘be prepared’!
  5. Even when you screw up royally, your closest will always be there for you – family and friends are precious so cherish them, love them with your words and actions, and appreciate them every chance you can get!

There’s a proviso to all of these points though: sometimes you just need to go for it – ignore your friends’ and families’ ‘sage’ warnings because what they consider ‘best’ for you may be based on their fears and anxieties of potential failure; let the movies inspire you to dream big and pursue your most ludicrous dreams; copying others who are successful is never a bad idea if you have the wisdom and discernment to know what advice to take in its entirety, what to take with a pinch of salt, and what to discard, because no two people are the same; and sometimes it’s better to envision the ‘best that could happen’ because life truly is too short for ‘what ifs’. Sorry for the confusion, guys!

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