It turns out the Green Lantern isn’t the cheesy comic book character I had pegged him to be. In fact, his entire being is one of the most philosophically intriguing of all the major superheros. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Green Lantern, he is a superhero that has the ability to create constructs by simply thinking or imagining them. He can create anything from a giant fist to a machine gun and more.
In order to harness this ability he must be wearing his power ring which is fueled by green energy. Green energy is willpower, and therein lies the essential component of the metaphor that is the Green Lantern: if you have the willpower you can create whatever you can imagine. Sound familiar? Maybe you’ve heard this: “you can be anything you want to be as long as you put your mind to it.” The reason we don’t achieve what we want is because of a lack of willpower. In a word: laziness. We lack the will to push through the obstacles life puts in front of us. Even worse, most obstacles are not real obstacles but are perceived obstacles. Which brings me to the other mental culprit we must overcome to realize our dreams: Fear.
Fear is the enemy of willpower. In the movie Green Lantern, fear is the main foil of Green Lantern Hal Jordan. For the Green Lantern, fear functions as an internal threat in the mind that can hinder the Green Lanterns abilities, and also as an external threat: the embodiment of fear, the menacing entity named Parallax. Fear is a mental hurdle that prevents us from accomplishing our goals. If you are human then I am sure at some point you have had the experience of wanting to accomplish something only to give up on that desire out of fear? Fear can rear its ugly head in any number of forms. It can be fear of failure, fear of public speaking, fear of rejection, and the list goes on and on. It is even possible to fear success and the responsibility that comes with it. See Coach Carter – Our Deepest Fear. Fear stops us in our tracks. It paralyzes us into inaction. Fear is like a wall and it takes willpower to blast through it.
Fear and laziness work in tandem to prevent us from becoming our best selves. Fear can be used to justify laziness and vice versa. We tell ourselves “it will take too long”, or “I probably won’t be good at it anyway.” The first is laziness and the second is fear of failure, and each give reason not to confront the other. Willpower, Green Energy if you will, is what is needed to defeat these twin enemies. Fear and laziness create a conflict within us and conflict without will creates frustration. Frustration leads to apathy and unhappiness. Willpower, on the other hand, when applied to conflict, creates energy. It is the opposite of fear and laziness.
The enduring quality of will power is that it is not a power at all. It is a spark. It is the catalyst for the power that is already inside of you. Will power is a decision and from that decision energy stored within you begins to flow, and what you make from that energy are your own constructs. And like the Green Lantern’s construct your constructs too are limitless. It could be art you create, a business you start, the body you sculpt, or even the way you decide to construct your family, friendships, and other relationships. The moral of the story is to channel your inner green energy and create the life you envision for yourself. If that’s cheesy, then I guess I like green cheese.