The Batman Effect

Josh Linkner
January 29, 2018

Josh Linkner

Five-time tech entrepreneur, hyper-growth CEO, NY Times bestselling author and venture capitalist.

In an important battle to defeat the evil Lex Luthor, you can't imagine Superman sitting it out because he's feeling too drained. Wonder Woman wouldn't cut short an epic battle for justice because she already gave all her energy at the office. Yes, our heroes may have special powers, but the thing we admire most is their interminable will. Persistence and tenacity right more wrongs than their capes and masks.

The bat phone rings and a question is posed: What if we could harness their superpowers for our own advancement?

According to a 2016 research study published in Child Development, kids persisted through difficult tasks and performed better when they imagined themselves as their favorite superhero. When little Jenny took on the persona of Dora the Explorer, she became unstoppable compared to her control-group counterpart. When Ian became Ironman in his mind, he was able to persevere and accomplish more. Bobby as Batman had more focus and tenacity that Bobby alone.

As an adult, you may be uncomfortable seeing yourself as the caped crusader, but we can still leverage the concept of heroes and personas. If you're brainstorming a new product for your company, what if you took on the persona of an inventor hero such as Thomas Edison or Elon Musk? Need to push through to higher levels of mental toughness and endurance? Take on the role of Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt or NFL legend Peyton Manning. Imagining yourself as Nelson Mandela or Oprah will go a long way if you're working on your empathy.

You've spent your whole life being you, so your mind is subject to both your individual strengths and shortcomings. But cast yourself in a new role - one that embodies the principles you espouse - and your potential is liberated. Fight like Ali. Write like Hemingway. Innovate like Steve Jobs. Love like Juliet.

Brain science tells us that when you put yourself in a new role, new synapses emerge and previous boundaries can melt away. If a simple shift in mindset can yield better results, why not take your favorite character for a spin? In fact, you can carry around a full set of legendary performers in your mind that can inspire, focus, and maximize your abilities.

Forget the doubt from your internal Joker. Embrace the Batman Effect, and your own Gotham will never be the same.

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