Five hidden superpowers we all need

Jul 13, 2023

Find Your Superpower newsletter 018

Read time: 5 minutes

Topics covered: Passion, communication, teamwork, work-life balance


Have you ever met someone for the first time and thought to yourself, they are just like me in terms of education, age, background etc. If so…

Why are they clearly so much more successful than me?


Comparing ourselves to others may be instinctive, but depending on whether you have a fixed mindset or growth mindset, you may default to one of the following two responses:

Fixed mindset: Hmmm, I’m very sure that they must know someone, they must have sucked up to their boss, they must have been born into privilege, they may be attention-seeking, they are all style but no substance, their life was easy and they just cruised through it … life is so unfair!!!

Growth mindset: Hmmm, I’m curious because I don’t have all the details. Are they doing something unique that I could try? Could I find out about their work ethic and philosophy? How do they communicate with others? Perhaps I should invite them out for coffee to get them to mentor me and give me some ideas.

Ladies and gentlemen, assuming everything being equal, and ignoring outliers where someone is born into extreme privilege or has experienced sheer luck like winning the lottery, what we may be dealing with here, is a case of…






Introducing…. the hidden superpowers. They are superpowers you can’t immediately see from the outside, as they aren’t written down on someone’s educational record, they don’t show up via appearances, and they may not even become obvious after a few conversations.

These are real superpowers, except that they are hidden.

And because you can’t see them, it is hard to believe they exist.

But they do exist. And it is high time all of us learn about them:


1/ Passion and purpose

When you meet someone who has no desire to do well in a job they are currently employed in, they often say something akin to, “I’m just here for the money,” or “The gig pays well, so that’s why I am staying.”

Now, this is a lose-lose situation for everyone. Crucially, the individual loses, because they are not innately motivated to acquire new skills and hone their existing skills. As technology and trends shift over time, their professional value may likewise erode away.

If you use the analogy of being the captain of a ship, passion for your job is a lighthouse in a rough storm that will guide your ship to safety.


2/ Strong work ethic and accountability

In June, former US President Barack Obama shared with LinkedIn News’ This Is Working podcast that his number one advice for workers was: “Just learn how to get stuff done”.

So elegant, so simple, and yet so challenging to find in reality. If it were that easy to find, President Obama wouldn’t have said this was his top advice for young people.

If your supervisor can count on you in the most difficult of times to get sh*t done, if they can turn to you when things are rough, you would most certainly win their trust and subsequently also be rewarded for it.


3/ Being receptive to feedback

The thing about feedback is, anyone who asks for feedback and receives it openly, gets more feedback.

If your supervisor know you take feedback well, they will offer you generous feedback whenever they see something that needs to be discussed. Your learning curve will be steep and sustained. You’ll grow faster than your peers.

Conversely, if your supervisor knows that you take feedback poorly, that your ego will be bruised or that it will make you feel insecure, they will think twice about offering feedback. Your learning curve will stagnate and flatline.

Virtuous or vicious cycle, we get to choose.

Ask for feedback. We deserve to grow!


4/ Collaboration skills

In both my past (academic) and present (entrepreneurial) life, I have never met someone who was a very strong collaborator who was overtly unsuccessful.

Why? All of us have a finite number of strengths and many, many more weaknesses. Those who prefer to play alone (and claim the credit) have all of their weaknesses exposed, whereas those who work well in teams (and share the credit) have their weaknesses complemented by the strengths of their teammates.

Wanna be a superhero? Play well in teams. You’re much stronger that way.


5/ Strong work-life balance

If we think of work like a marathon, then peaking very early in your career is similar to charging ahead for the first 10 kilometers but losing the next 32 kilometers. Social media may make a young person feel that they have to find success quickly and keep pace with their peers.

The problem about peaking too early and not having the necessary safety nets for one’s mental health, recreation and rest, is that we may run out of steam halfway.

Adequate rest and recovery, a positive outlook to life, a strong network of friends, and recreational activities outside of work such as sports, religion or charity, will take us to the finish line in the marathon of life.


Thanks for reading issue 018 of my weekly Find Your Superpower newsletter.

See you next week. 



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