By Sukh Singh, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International
Big achievements require huge levels of discipline, planning, and a great team behind the vision.
Whether you're a fan of comic books, superheroes and their films or not, it's pretty hard to ignore that the last 10 years has seen an extraordinary flood of superhero movies coming out!
So why does this and the most recent blockbuster, Avengers: Infinity War, matter?
Well, whenever something totally new and successful shows up, wouldn't you want to learn a bit about how it all happened and how you could apply that in your own life?
Here's a fascinating 4-minute feature on the legacy Marvel Studios has built over the last 10 years...
Do you want to create a compelling vision?
"I had two dreams when we started this... that 'Iron Man' work, and that we could build something as expansive and as experiential as what people who read the comic books get"
- Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios President
You hear about all the time how legends have this magical, compelling vision that pulls them out of bed in the morning, but the reality is, a great vision takes effort - it doesn't just come to you in a moment of meditation. You've got to plan and work on your vision, and put a serious plan together. 10 years and nearly 20 movies don't just happen by accident.
Are you willing to sacrifice short-term achievements for the long-term success?
"I think after the first 'Avengers' that people realised this was not just an ordinary comic book movie, that there was really a lot of thought, and a lot of care and passion that was going into each and every one of these films"
- Sarah Halley Finn, Marvel Casting Director
The most recent film, 'Infinity War', could not have happened without the previous 10 years of build up. Each individual film played its own part in laying the foundation for this new film and others yet to come. Bringing together over a dozen characters, the same amount of storylines and filmmakers is something that has never been done before in cinema history. No one has dared try to do this... why? Well, it's easier to just spin out another movie with a bankable star. It's easier for a studio to do something now that will be a success rather than take more risks, put in far more effort, work with far more people, to create something that is actually way more successful!
Not only that, but this whole process has clearly humbled everyone involved...
"Our lives are monumentally changed by our involvement in this world"
- Chris Pratt, 'Star Lord' in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
We live in a time where, unfortunately, 'instant success' is the god. Most people aren't willing to put in the hard work, the late nights, the earlier moments for what's really important to them. Even 10 minutes every day can transform your world after 3 months - that's 14 hours that most people would otherwise waste on surfing the web or watching whatever's on Netflix!
Do you put more value on people and their character, or just their skills?
"I really don't know how people are gonna react to this thing...this could be anything from a flop to a moderate single... you never know"
- Jon Favreau, 'Iron Man' director, speaking about the film's release
Most people who look at Robert Downey Jr. today might think 'A-list celeb and movie star'... but back when he was cast as Iron Man in the first ever film created by Marvel Studios, he was largely considered a good actor who mainly did independent films.
He had in the past suffered from alcoholism and a whole spate of incidents - he was certainly not considered the A-list movie star he is today. But the pioneering studio put character and talent before reputation and easy-success. They didn't go with a bankable star, they went with who they felt was right. And the same has happened time and time again not just with the actors they've chosen, but the directors too.
Yet in the working world, how often do we go for the skills and competencies over the person?
How often do the results trump the character and integrity of a person? Results are important but if you wanted to assemble a team for long-term success, would you rather want someone you could trust or someone who was great at what they do but with a very poor character? (The secret is, when someone's got a great character, they can learn the skills they need to be great at what they do).
Here's the 'class photo' feature as a little bonus...
How To Apply This?
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I want to make the most of my life and help others make the most of theirs. For the last 8 years I have been developing myself intensively with support of an amazing mentorship community at Lighthouse International and our non-profit organisation, Lighthouse Kidz. I am learning and appreciating more and more the importance of meaningful, trust-filled, character rich relationships with people - not just connections. These kinds of relationships completely revolutionise organisations, industries and change families and individuals' lives.
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