Stan Lee: 3 Lessons To Unlock Your Inner Visionary

stan lee

Illustration by Christian Laborin

We lost a great one! Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man, The Hulk, Fantastic 4, X-Men and other super-heroes died yesterday. He leaves a legacy of inspiration behind that will keep inspiring many more generations.

Most of his comic book characters have been adapted to film, creating a franchise that is shaping the world over. You might want to visit sites like to learn more about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I never read comics when I was growing up, but I watched a lot of cartoons and loved Super-heroes; Superman and Batman are my favorites. Spider-Man came into my radar when the cartoon series launched, and then I got to know more of him and other super-heroes because my childhood friend, Daniel, read and collected comics.

Up until then it never occurred to me to ask who created these characters; that changed when the first Spider-Man movie came out in 2001.

I ‘ve always studied the biographies of people I find interesting to understand their mindset and thought process; Stan Lee is one of them. With that said, here are 3 lessons he leaves to help us unlock our inner visionary:

Create what you want to see in the world

Innovation is the mother of necessity, but imagination also drives innovation. There isn’t one single way to get ideas, the most common way is seek out needs and create something that will satisfy those needs. The other way, less talked about, is to scratch your own itch.

There’s a very interesting interview from the year 2000 of Stan Lee get interviewed by Larry King where he talks about how he created Spider-Man:

Stan Lee talks about scratching his own itch when creating his stories, not about satisfying someone’s needs. On who does he write for, who’s his audience: he writes for himself, writing stories that he would want to read.

Reframe what you do to make it more meaningful

Nowadays everyone worries about technology taking away their jobs. The only constant is change, and we’re not the first and only ones to go through changes. All one has to do is look to the past for perspective, because everyone takes what exists today for granted and believe it’s always been this way and will stay that way.

Take the job of writing, today comic book writers are celebrities. But you would have never imagined that there was a time when they weren’t. Check out this quote by Stan Lee:

The stories we tell ourselves shape who we are; and limit us. A writer isn’t simply someone who writes words; he / she is a storyteller. Whether it’s for the purpose of entertainment or another reason, how you view what you do shapes how others perceive you.

Stan Lee helped change the way we view comic book characters:

Entertain possibilities

In time, most people lose their sense of wonder because everything becomes repetitive as we grow older. The goal is to keep surprise at bay. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Ironically, what gets us out of our comfort zone and inspires us is surprise.

That surprise can only come from entertaining possibilities. It’s important that you consider “what could be” by asking yourself “what if?” and “why not?”, even if it’s in written form. Because just like sci-fi writers inspire engineers to try to create what seems only possible in books and comics, super-heroes helps us see ourselves in them and inspire us to be better humans.

Thank You Stan Lee for sharing your imagination with us!

Also published on Medium.