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

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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.

Life

These 7 Daily Resolutions Can Change Your Life

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We all strive to be better every day. Most of us want a new day to bring something new, and we plan for it as well. Of course, the execution is debatable as procrastination is real and it becomes an overwhelming feeling at times. Also, not to forget the customary practice of making resolutions on new year’s eve!  All of us are fascinated by the thought of preparing long lists of resolves to mark the beginning of a new year. Not sure how many people are able to translate these resolutions into functional realities. (more…)

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4 Reasons Why Content Is Pivotal For Mental Health Healing

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One of the most important things for an entrepreneur’s mental health is expressing their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. This is where content creation and writing becomes pivotal. Whether you read something that resonates with you or you write a compelling blog post, the act of expressing yourself through content can help to put a smile on your face and make you feel better about things.

Most entrepreneurs don’t spend as much time taking care of their mental health as they should. Over the course of your career, you will experience a lot of ups and downs; these emotions have the potential to take a toll on your mind and body if you don’t learn to manage them properly.

Here are four reasons why expression through content is pivotal for healing, slowing yourself down, and giving yourself grace when the going gets tough.

1. Content can be a form of self-expression

When you are an entrepreneur, you frequently face feelings of insecurity, doubt, fear, apathy, and exhaustion, just to name a few. Some days it feels like no one is on your business’s side and everyone else has it all figured out. On those days some of us try to look at our website’s analytics to cheer up. 

But an even more freeing task is creating content. You create content to improve your business and reach more people’s lives. But, there is something special that happens when you write with the intention of expressing your thoughts and feelings — you open a door to yourself. 

Content is inherently personal, which means content creators open themselves up when they share their thoughts on a platform. Everything from the title of the post, the keywords they choose to include, and even the content itself helps you to understand who the author of that post truly is. And as an entrepreneur, this can be an important experience because it allows others to empathize with you.

2. Self-reflection will lift you up

As you think through what to write about and how to express yourself, the process of self reflection is a valuable step you need to go through. You’re able to reflect on the blessings you have, assess what you learned from the negative experiences, and create a plan on how to maintain the positive experiences you’ve had. 

There are a few ways that self reflection can help you with mental health healing. The act of reflecting on your experiences helps to create clarity in feelings, thoughts and emotions which will eventually lead into acceptance for what has happened or is happening currently without feeling overwhelmed by it all. This process also leads people towards finding new things they enjoy doing. Self reflection is therapeutic and can be implemented anytime you feel the need to overcome overwhelm.

“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” – Hal Elrod

3. A sense of belonging and camaraderie

It is important to have a support network of people who will listen and understand what you are going through. When you post a blog or upload a video on YouTube, there are others who feel the same way and experience a sense of connection with you.

When you put time, attention and thoughtfulness into your writing, it is amazing when someone reads what you’ve written and comments on it thanking you or expressing how they resonate with what you’re going through. It’s hard to put into words how powerful it feels when someone who has gone through the same experience and reads your words then reaches out.  There is power in expression but miracles happen when people bond over a similar experience.

4. Library of content to share with more people

It can be very difficult to know what content to share with people as the symptoms of mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, etc.) vary from person to person. But as you accumulate more and more content, this will increase the number of articles or videos available for readers to choose from depending on their specific purpose. It also builds your personal library of resources you’re able to share to different people you encounter or engage directly with.

As chaotic and distracting social media can be, it can also be a beacon of hope with the right content. Many people share viral posts, or content that interest them. Since your content is valuable and personal, the more you share it, the more likely it is to be shared with the right audience.

You never know who is watching (reading)

Your content is speaking to someone and even though they may not be actively engaged, their experiences with your work are impacting them. Think about the last time you watched TV: did everyone in the room have something entertaining to say? 

You never know who’s watching because there’s always somebody reading your posts or viewing your videos-even if they just skim through it briefly. This is why creating content worth consuming is critical, not only to get you out of your funk, but also to serve your audience.  Be authentic and stay true to yourself; make every post count as an opportunity for connection with your best self and for potential readers to bond with you.

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Life

5 Ways To Invest In Yourself and Change Your Life

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Warren Buffett once said, the best investment you can ever make is in yourself. Time and money spent on bettering yourself are never considered a waste. Whether it’s through learning how to make money online, exploring new ways to increase your financial security, or watching TED talks to expand your knowledge. Do not be stingy when it comes to self-improvement because it will definitely pay off in the end. 

Need some ideas to get started on your journey to becoming a better you? Here are 5 ways to invest in yourself and transform your life. 

1. Change Your Self-Concept

Having a negative self-concept can have a tremendous impact on your life. Limiting beliefs and self-doubt are some of the main reasons why many never achieve or attempt to pursue their dreams. Take a moment and think about all the negative thoughts you have repeated to yourself throughout your life. How have these thoughts impacted the way you live life? From now on, create a new self-image by turning these negative thoughts into positive ones and appreciate your good qualities. 

2. Sign Up For An Online Course

If you’ve been wanting to brush up on your Photoshop skills or learn how to code professionally, this is the perfect time to get started. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can access an endless amount of valuable information online. For example, sites like Coursera and Youtube are both awesome resources for online learning. With a few search strings and clicks, you can find all the information you need. 

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.” – Robin Sharma

3. Learn From a Mentor

No matter which stage of your life you are currently in, working with a mentor can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. Not only can they guide you in the right direction, but also transform your vision, provide you with new insights, and connect you with amazing resources. If you’re feeling unmotivated or unsure about what you want to do in life, consider finding a mentor to help you navigate this process. 

4. Start A Side Hustle

The salary from a 9-5 job would rarely allow you to reach your maximum income potential. Why not achieve financial success while pursuing your passion by starting a side hustle? Whether it’s through starting an ecommerce business, freelance writing on the side, or starting a Youtube channel. There are infinite numbers of ways to make money, and there is bound to be one out there that fits your passion and skills. 

5. Nourish Your Body

As many may say, “health is the new wealth”. Without a healthy and functioning body, living a fulfilling and comfortable life becomes difficult. To take care of your body and prioritize your wellbeing, start with small habits such as eating healthier foods and exercising regularly. Bike or walk to work instead of taking the car, and opt for a healthy protein bowl instead of greasy burgers at Burger King. With time, these small habits can make an incredible difference.

Check out the infographic below, to see more ways you can invest in yourself:

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Life

How to Turn Inward and Detox Your Mind

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When we are overwhelmed by confusion, our psyche tries to establish certainty to alleviate our discomfort. This is usually accomplished by mentally imagining and acting out a plot. Unfortunately, much of the time, we mentally visualize pessimistic (or worst-case scenario) scenarios to provide certainty. (more…)

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