Ten things I learned from Iron Man

Yes, I admit it. I like Iron Man! He’s a superhero. People love superheroes. I am no exception. Sorry ladies, but the truth is that men want to be like Tony Stark: charismatic, genius, filthy rich, adored, a couple of Iron Man suits at his disposal, good at heart, idealistic, visionary, knows what he wants, getting away with almost anything… what could you possibly learn from that character (apart from how to be the most arrogant person in the world)?

I guess I watched the Iron Man 1-3 movies a dozen times. Every time I see something new that makes me think “Hey, there is a lesson for me in this”… how to become a better person, more productive in my work, more creative etc. Here is what I learned so far

  1. If there is no tool for the job, create one

It is not every day that you have to create a new element in your basement to survive. No pressure! Even Tony Stark does not have a particle accelerator in his basement. That does not stop him, he just builds one.

I am not afraid any more (although I used to be) when my boss turns up and says “Hey, can you build me an ABC that can do DEF within GHI until XYZ”. Now I enjoy the challenge…and I built things like meeting cost calculators, data simulation models, supply chain design methods, KPI configurators, team health assessment tools…….go get creative and create!!

  1. Sometimes you need to run before you walk

Without testing your prototype to the limit you won’t find out what it is and isn’t capable of (also applies to point 1 above). Don’t they say about innovation that you need to apply rapid prototyping and go into a loop of test, fail fast, improve, test…

  1. No man is an island

Even superheroes need friends. They need their help and are stuck without them. Who would have thought that?

  1. Kids love a hero

The great thing about being a parent is that you are automatically your child’s superhero…ok, up until a certain age where they tell you “Dad, stop that, you cramp my style, I don’t want to be seen with you any more”. OK, but there is no age restriction for thinking about what you can do to make others happy, each day…even if it is just being there, listening… which can be a superpower…

  1. Identify your superpower

Superstrong, superfast, super…. Everyone has strengths, abilities, a talent, a passion for something…over time we can figure out which one it is that we should develop into our superpower; something that makes us different and unique. How about starting a job interview with “I help people make sense of the most complex situations so they can take rapid action” – BANG – that’s my superpower – sounds quite different to “I am this person, did that in my past, 3 strenghts are, blablabla”

  1. Positive mind unlimited

I am grumpy all the time and look for reasons why something won’t work…it is hard work for me to stay positive or even get into a positive mood…picturing Tony Stark helps, Mr “positive mind unlimited”…with a negative mind I will achieve nothing, nothing at all…it’s all good…I love myself

  1. Mark 1 to Mark 42

I believe in lifelong learning. There is no such thing as a finished product (Mark 1 or Mark 42). Development always continues. I took courses to get certificates to prove that in 2005 I knew how to pass written tests on Knowledge Management. It proves nothing in 2015…you don’t practice, you forget; you don’t teach, you forget; learning how to learn new skills fast is what makes the difference today…unfortunately, I have not seen a course on this anywhere…

  1. If you don’t know what to do, ask a kid

“I don’t know how to do this” “but you are a mechanic, build something”….I get stuck all the time, every day. The science is quite clear on what to do: rest the mind, do something different, unconsciously your mind is still working on this problem…I like to hear new perspectives, from a completely different angle….kids have an amazing problem solving capability…or ask grandparents, physicists, artists, the person at the supermarket checkout…often that gives me e new reference point and although I don’t get the solution served on a plate it gets me going again.

  1. You go after a man’s legacy….

It is in a negative context in the movie. However, I thought “hey, lucky if you managed to build a legacy in the first place!”. That’s my mission: build something worthwhile for my family…

  1. …. Blank space….that’s for you to start your own list of things you learned from movies (or something else)…I can tell you it is really big fun to come up with answers…hey, that may be a good party game or ice breaker for events…..
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