Superman is the best kind of fictional role model

Collage of Superman through the years and in different mediums
Design: Abir Hossain

"The basic ingredient of Superman is that he is a friend." 

This quote by the late Christopher Reeve illustrates why Superman is one of the most compelling characters in fiction who has resonated with people across generations. Despite being an alien, he represents some of the best qualities of humanity.

The character's endurance results not from his godlike powers, but from his capacity to hope. In most adaptations involving the Man of Steel, the ideal of hoping for a better tomorrow remains constant. 

Ever since I became a fan of the character and started viewing him as a role model, I have felt my life go on a positive trajectory. 

Here are a few teachings of Superman that I think anyone can resonate with and apply to improve their lives.

Finding hope in the darkest times 
Superman inspires people to not give up in the face of adversity. He helps people find their inner strength. This is best exemplified in the comic All-Star Superman, where he stops a girl from inflicting serious pain on herself by reassuring her that she is stronger than she believes. He shows us that hope is never lost. We might not be able to save the world like Superman, but we can always save ourselves from getting lost in the darkness. 

Understanding and accepting oneself
When you look into the stories that portray his early years, it shows how Clark struggled to fit in and accept both his Kryptonian heritage and his human ideals, and the dilemma of revealing himself to the world. At some point in our lives, a lot of us feel alienated and struggle to accept our strengths and weaknesses. Only by truly embracing all aspects of our personalities, can we fully utilise them to the best of our abilities. 

Seeing the good in people 
Superman believes that there is goodness in everyone. Sometimes, we need to put ourselves in the other person's shoes before we pass judgment. Empathy is a powerful trait to cultivate. Once we are able to view people from their eyes and treat them the way we would like to be treated, we not only become better people ourselves but also inspire others to do the same. Things will not always be black and white, but we should never stop trying to be good and empathetic towards others.

Striving to follow the better path 
In issue 775 of Action Comics, there is a story where Superman faces the ideological struggle of what it means to be a hero as he faces off against the murderous superhero group, The Elite. By the end of the story, Superman proves that he does not need to resort to killing and that there is always a better path to take. If we take a closer look into our own obstacles, we can always persevere by finding alternative ways to achieve our goals. Taking the high road is never easy, but the fruits of our efforts will never go in vain.

When you dive deep into the lore of Superman, you will find many other aspirational traits which one may strive to attain. The character best represents what it means to be a hero – it is not about having great power, it is about being the very best version of oneself.

Sabil spends most of his time trying to stay as hopeful as possible. You can contact him at


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