Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Being Clark Kent

The "Man of Steel" floats in the upper atmosphere, looking down on the tiny little problems of the planet called Earth. He smiles, recalling the faces of those he's saved, all in a single evening. A euphoric feeling of satisfaction floods over him as he thinks, "This is exactly what I'm meant to do. I was born for this; I'm living my dream."  Then, slowly descending back to the surface, he effortlessly morphs back into his mild-mannered alter ego. 

Clark Kent isn't anybody special; just an average, goody-two-shoes Joe with a big heart and bigger glasses. But the illustrious hero realizes, as he steps back into everyday life, that as much as Superman is needed by the masses on earth, Clark Kent is needed by a small, but significant handful, namely: Superman himself.

Jon Acuff, during an interview with Dave Ramsey, inspired this illustration for me, pointing out that even though living out normal, average, day-to-day stuff can be boring and tedious, at the end of the day, everyone--even Superman--needs to just be Clark Kent sometimes. 

When you have a dream in your heart that you're just aching to live out, it can be torturous to be forced back into everyday life after glimpsing that dream. But remember, the Superman story would have been shallow at best without Clark Kent. Kent often showed us what Superman was really made of. While the Super-side of the Man of Steel showed us his strength, the regular-guy-side of him showed us his character, and his heart. Your character is most often evident in your little everyday habits, mannerisms, and words, not in your heroic accomplishments.

Here are some of the takeaways I got from Jon's discussion on The Dave Ramsey Show about his new book, Quitter, which comes out on May 10th.

1. Everyday life is a stepping stone to your dream. 
You have to take practical steps in your every day life to make it to your incredible, superhero career goal. Managing your money wisely, learning interpersonal relationships with your relatives, and keeping your home neat and organized may seem like trivial chores, but they may be just what you need to help you become the kind of person who will work the job you want.

2. Just because your job isn't your dream job doesn't mean it doesn't count.
Viewing your job as a stepping-stone to your dreams is good, but you have to make sure the stepping stone mentality doesn't lead to a "stepping on" mentality. Jon recalls that at times, though his job was to help and reach out to people, he ignored the very people who were right in front of him: his coworkers. I've often found myself doing the same--looking into the future instead of working with what and who God has given me now.

3. You can't work halfheartedly at your day job and expect to be diligent and successful at working toward your dream.
Your character is being developed through every choice you make! (See my blog, Escaping the Dark Side). So don't think that you can spin around in your chair, goof off on Facebook, and chat with buddies on Skype at work and then turn around and work like a cramming medical student on your dream when you get home! Jon also cautioned against dreaming on your company's time. Don't steal time from your job in order to work on your dream. Work faithfully, diligently, and efficiently at your "Clark Kent Job" or tasks, so when you get home, you will be ready and eager to get busy on your dream. 

As Solomon said, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." (Eccl. 9:10 NIV) He also says, "Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well." (Eccl. 11:6 NIV) In case you didn't know, Solomon was the wisest and richest king of Israel. I'd take his career advice, if I were you. ;)

Although perpetually living in the clouds of a dream job would be nice, even people with "perfect jobs" regularly have to face the realities of life. The question is, are you going to let your alter ego be a second-rate, grumpy, lazy citizen? Or are you going to use him to reach the people closest to you? Remember, your Clark Kent might just be your most valuable partner in achieving your dream.


  1. just what i needed to read. thank you.:) some days i feel like facebook consumes me when im trying to do my school work.

  2. Very well put. I think I tend to be on the opposite side, afraid to dream. It's a good reminder that it's okay to dream of something better, but also to do your best at where you are right this moment.