[Editor’s Note: Today’s post is an excerpt from the book “Open: What Happens When You Get Honest, Get Real, and Get Accountable” by Craig Gross with Adam Palmer]
There’s a reason our culture has suddenly been swimming in stories about superheroes-—we love courage. We love to see the downtrodden, the runt of the litter, the little guy become the hero, even though it’s almost always by accident. We love to see the mild Peter Parker turn into the web-slinging Spider-Man, or the meek Clark Kent remove his glasses and soar through the air as Superman, or even the cocky billionaire Tony Stark learn some lessons about love and friendship as he dons his high-tech suit of armor and becomes Iron Man.
All these characters, whether they embrace their super powers willingly (Batman, Captain America) or reluctantly (The Incredible Hulk, Ben Grimm [aka “The Thing” from the Fantastic Four]), they all wind up finding deeper reserves of courage than they previously thought possible.
We all can relate. We all want to feel like we could be superheroes, if only we could get exposed to gamma radiation or have super-soldier serum injected into our veins. And then we could unlock the vast stores of courage we never seem to be able to tap into.
The thing is: accountability allows for just that very thing. When we get accountable, we open up avenues of courageous, superhero-like behavior. Or possibly even beyond that, because while superheroes tend to fight against city-destroying supervillains bent on world domination, we have to fight against something even more difficult: