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What You Can Learn From the Marvel Cinematic Universe About Taking Risks



Image Credit: Marvel

Growing up, Marvel’s comic books and cartoons were special to me. The characters are — and continue to be — the heroes and protectors of their worlds. They dream big, fight against incredible odds, and always persevere. When I was younger, the journeys and missions of these heroes resonated with me. That fandom has endured as I’ve seen these larger-than-life stories transition to the big screen and other properties.

That shift connects with me on a professional level, along with the aforementioned personal enjoyment. As I’ve grown up and further honed my skills, knowledge, and experience, I have been able to bring some of my biggest professional goals to fruition. Doing so, however, came with some degree of risk.

Risks might seem daunting at first, but smart gambles can improve our lives over time. That element of increased difficulty makes it easier to fail, but it builds your determination as well as your mental and physical resolve.

Bringing the Marvel Cinematic Universe to life involved a massive risk on the comic empire’s part, but that decision worked out in Marvel’s favor. When we’re able to envision our end goals, the outcome of taking risks is almost always worth any added discomfort or fear.

“Every risk is worth taking as long as it’s for a good cause, and contributes to a good life.” – Richard Branson

A Case Study on Risk

A decade ago, several Marvel properties weren’t the household names they are now. These characters were largely overlooked in favor of more well-known commodities like Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men. Since then, however, Marvel has taken movie theaters by storm to release more than 20 films while building a cinematic universe to tell these characters’ stories in a new format.

That success wasn’t guaranteed right out of the gate, though. Taking characters from the pages of comic books and bringing them to life in films, tells a story not only about superheroes but also about what you can accomplish when you take a risk.

Marvel used characters that weren’t necessarily well-known at the time. Thor and Captain America might be household names now, but they weren’t always seen as heroes with box office potential. Marvel took a calculated approach to develop and roll these characters out, and they are now some of the most popular heroes in existence. The studio will continue this trend as lesser-known titles like “The Eternals” and “Shang-Chi” debut in MCU’s next phase.

The MCU, like its comic source material, also acts as a mirror to society by reflecting current events and trends through its characters and storylines. For example, 2019’s female-led “Captain Marvel” delivered a stirring message of female empowerment that will click with a new generation of children and moviegoers.

While risks include uncertainties, Marvel shows that taking risks doesn’t have to be a reckless endeavor. Each risk we take should be informed, carefully considered, inspired, and in service of a larger goal. While not every gamble will pay off, the risks we take will teach us how to get everything right in the future.

What Can We Learn From Marvel?

While your business probably isn’t creating movies and telling superhero stories, the lessons from Marvel’s success over the past decade can inspire companies in any industry.

Here a few pointers to remember:

1. Keep the endgame in mind

Risks work best when you have a larger goal in mind. Marvel didn’t take risks for the sake of taking risks — it had a grand vision for what it wanted to create, and it then plotted those risks accordingly. The team behind the MCU had to start building the big picture somewhere, but it knew the larger goal was to connect dozens of movies and tell stories in a new way. When that kind of big-picture thinking guides your risks, they suddenly don’t feel so intimidating.

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali

2. It’s a franchise, not a standalone

Taking risks doesn’t usually produce immediate results. Risks can provide cash benefits and a financial return on investment, but sometimes they deliver “soft benefits” that are harder to measure. For Marvel, this involved appealing to viewers of many different demographics and working to provide each of those groups with representation on the big screen via movies like “Captain Marvel,” “Black Panther,” and the animated “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” Your risks will only pay off if you get into them with patience.

3. Speak up if you want others to assemble

If you can’t advocate for your own risks, don’t expect other people to do it for you. You need to be your most prominent advocate to bring your ideas to life. For example, everyone now recognizes Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Before that role, however, he was known as a talented but troubled actor who was considered a risky proposition for studios. “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau fought to cast the problematic actor, and that gamble eventually paid off in billions of dollars at the box office. You must find ways to show others that your idea has merit because nobody is going to do it for you.

Risks aren’t careless and uneducated leaps. While they aren’t guaranteed to work out, thoughtful risks that are inspired by a larger goal can end up being valuable in more ways than one. Take a page out of Marvel’s playbook by looking at the big picture, figuring out where you want to end up, and taking risks that help bring your vision to life.

Kevin Xu is the CEO of MEBO International, a California- and Beijing-based intellectual property management company specializing in applied health systems. He also leads Skingenix, which specializes in skin organ regeneration and the research and development of botanical drug products. Kevin is co-founder of the Human Heritage Project.

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The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

Balancing is for your checkbook, gymnastics, and nutrition; not for your people’s work/life ratio.



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Balance…it requires an equal distribution of value between two or more subjects to maintain steady composure and equitable proportionality. (more…)

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How to Find the Courage to Start New

Change is scary, but it’s a normal part of life.



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It’s 2023, a new year, new you, right? But how do we start over? How do we make the changes in our lives that we crave so much to see?  (more…)

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Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.



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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma



Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.


Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:


1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.


2. Persistent Pain

Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.

4. A strong need for control

It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
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