I read today a couple of posts lambasting the ever increasing use of one of the above titles – whether for the purpose of recruiting “We need a coding Ninja/Jedi/Superhero” or someone blowing their own trumpet “I’m a [insert generic skill here] Guru/Rock Star/Genius”.
I get entirely why people are frustrated with the ever increasing use of these “titles”. It’s fairly irritating, particularly when used to spice up mundane job adverts. I see no connection between being a Barista and a Ninja, because as far as I know coffee making doesn’t entail using nunchuks or throwing stars, nor does it – generally – involve assassinating people, which was the primary role of a Ninja in feudal Japan.
But hey, I don’t want to make too many assumptions – so I thought I’d quickly research (if you can define search Wikipedia for 5 minutes as research) to see how each of the above “titles” are defined. Have a read, and have a think about whether you are any of these:-
Wikipedia (which is of course 100% accurate) describes a Superhero as:-
“…a type of costumed heroic character who possesses supernatural or superhuman powers and who is dedicated to fighting crime, protecting the public, and usually battling supervillains.”
So, do you have supernatural or superhuman powers AND are you dedicated to fighting crime, protecting the public and battling supervillains? If not, you’re probably not a Superhero.
Wikipedia suggests a Genius is:-
“…a person who displays exceptional intellectual ability, creative productivity, universality in genres or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of new advances in a domain of knowledge.”
I hate to break it to you, but that’s probably not you. You’re probably smart, hardworking, innovative – but someone who’s achieved an advancement in a domain of knowledge, most likely not. Sorry.
Here’s one you just might be, Wikipedia says a Guru is:-
“… a counselor, who helps mold values, shares experiential knowledge as much as literal knowledge, an exemplar in life, an inspirational source and who helps in the spiritual evolution of a student.”
So, if you’ve helped any of your “students” with their spiritual evolution, you just might be a Guru. But before you go claiming said status, take note that a Guru is often associated with:-
“…individuals who have allegedly exploited their followers’ naiveté, particularly in certain tantra schools, self help, hippie and other new religious movements.”
So maybe you don’t even want to be a Guru?
Before we get on to this one, let’s just say – I’d love to be a Rock Star, but unfortunately I have the musical talent of Justin Bieber (who most definitely is not a Rock Star).
Wikipedia let me down here, as there didn’t seem to be a specific pages for “Rock Star” – so I reverted to Wiktionary, which defines it as:-
A member of a rock band, or a solo artist in the genre, especially one with celebrity status.
A person who is renowned or revered in his or her field of accomplishment.
Hey! Maybe on this one, I stand corrected? Perhaps you are renowned or revered in your field?
But let’s get this straight, being the best salesperson in your region, country or company doesn’t make you a Rock Star – being one of the best salespeople in the world may just qualify you though. If that’s you, I’ll leave you to your stage diving, groupies and drugs. Rock-on.
Ninjas are ace right? All that running up walls, silent creeping and assassinating people – who wouldn’t want to be a Ninja?
Most of my reference points on Ninjas come from watching various Turtles, Lego Ninjago (with my 2 boys) and playing computer games; so is not exactly based on hugely historically accurate information.
My old friend Wikipedia seems more accurate though, stating that Ninja’s were:-
“…a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, assassination and guerrilla warfare.”
So basically a terrorist, or freedom fighter – depending on your view. It also says:-
“Their covert methods of waging irregular warfare were deemed “dishonourable” and “beneath” the samurai-caste, who observed strict rules about honor and combat.”
So, if your job involves espionage, assassination or guerrilla warfare – in particularly dishonourable way, go ahead and call yourself a Ninja. If it doesn’t, and you’ve not killed anyone recently, perhaps you shouldn’t?
My absolute favourite. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and dreamed as a boy (OK – and as a fully grown adult) of being a Jedi, and mastering the Force.
Hell, Yoda was a Ninja, Guru, Superhero and Genius (his musical abilities were never covered) all rolled up in to a small green Jedi package. He could lift spaceships (X-Wings to be accurate) with his mind, kick-ass big time and provide wise council and sage musings all day long. He was the man (albeit he wasn’t actually a “man” – his true species was never revealed).
Anyway, you get it – I love Star Wars, and have an unhealthy obsession with Yoda. Geeky I am.
Enough of my ramblings, what does that trusted source Wikipedia say about the Jedi, and The Force (because without the Force, you’re no Jedi)?:-
“…the Jedi study, serve and utilize a mystical power called the Force, in order to help and protect those in need.”
“…Obi-Wan Kenobi describes the Force as “an energy field created by all living things” in Star Wars.”
So, as much as I want to be Jedi – and many of you out there probably do as well – unless you can both claim to be in the service of helping and protecting those in need AND have the ability to control and manipulate an energy field created by all living things, you’ve not a Jedi.
If I’m not any of these, what am I?
After reading this you’ve realised that you’re definitely not a Superhero, Ninja or Jedi, and probably not a Guru, Genius or Rock Star.
If you haven’t have mastered the Force, if you can’t run up walls, if you don’t have x-ray vision, if haven’t advanced the spiritual enlightenment of your students, if you haven’t played lead guitar in front of a packed stadium and if your work hasn’t advanced human knowledge significantly – then you’ve probably “none of the above”.
For me though you should do what you can to be the best you possibly can. If that means aspiring to be any of the above, great – set your sights high – but don’t be too disappointed if your attempts to levitate – or stop a runaway train – fail.
May the Force be with you,
Alan is the Co-Founder of TheTalentFinders, an innovative talent acquisition consultancy who’s primary aim is supporting companies to hire talent directly. He’s also a bit of a geek (see above), a lapsed Sheffield Wednesday fan, the proud dad of two young boys and a happy husband to one wife.