• Franz Saint-Fleur

Four Life Lessons From Comic Book Villains

Superheroes—and supervillains—inhabit a fictional world. The reason people are so drawn to them? Apart from the magical elements, we find their stories relatable. They provide life insights which are sometimes truer than our everyday realities. And while most of us emulate the good guys, I think the bad guys also have a lot to teach us—if we're open to a different kind of perspective.

There are four supervillains in particular who I think we can all learn from—especially guys looking to become bolder, braver, and more engaging with the ladies.

The Joker

Spontaneous and unpredictable, this guy keeps it exciting. But most importantly, he does things for himself, not for others. It’s all about intrinsic motivation. His experience is never based on the reactions of other people. And he always keeps a smile.

The lesson from the Joker? Don’t act, or make decisions, to impress someone else. Be true to yourself, and stay positive. Put a SMILE on your face!

The Riddler

He's mysterious—and fascinating. The man leaves you with questions—which means you're thinking about him long after the interaction is over. In some situations, an element of mystery to your demeanor is a great thing.

For example, if you’re at a party, be sure to ask more questions than you answer. Don't just talk about yourself—pay attention and be an excellent listener. By asking questions of the people you meet rather than simply talking about yourself, you leave a mysterious lasting impression.

Keep the small talk from getting boring. If you’re asked a dull, ordinary question, such as “So what do you do?” don’t say “I’m a computer engineer.” Depending on your personality, you could respond with humor—“I make sure the plot of ‘I, Robot' never actually happens" or something enigmatic—"I create the software that runs your phone, laptop, and car."

Be a riddle. Be a little unfathomable. Keep them guessing.

Two-Face aka Harvey Dent

The man knows how to make split-second decisions. He doesn’t hem and haw or deliberate over things—he just acts.

Not knowing what you want can be seen as an “unmanly” trait. Why? It usually comes from fear of making the wrong decision, which betrays your underlying lack of confidence. Faking it til we make it is not always a bad thing when it comes to making decisions—especially minor ones.

And on top of that, some studies have shown that making too many decisions throughout the course of our day can actually drain our willpower and energy.

If you can't come to a verdict quickly about something—like where to eat dinner—try this trick, straight from Two-Face himself: flip a coin. And have the person you're with call it, to add excitement. Simplifying things to two distinct choices, with a 50-50 chance of each, will prevent that slow drain on our resolve.

Ra’s al Ghul

Ra’s thinks big-picture—as in, global domination. His ultimate goal is to bring the world into total environmental equilibrium. (Sure, the way he goes about it is a little shady—as in, destroying the majority of human life on earth—but he’s certainly a man with a dream.)

What can we learn from him? Considering most of us don’t even know what we’re doing this weekend, let alone what we want our global impact to look like. Ra’s al Ghul gives us an earnest reminder to find our vision.

Ladies love a man with an idea of what he wants and a plan of how he’ll get there. Start with small steps to create your foundation, and build from there. Think of a house—a mansion begins with a plan, then laying the foundation and bringing together the right team to complete it.

Remember: Ra’s and the Joker are very different characters, but they share a core value: they act for themselves, not others. They’re working to fulfill a vision they can see, but not because it makes other people happy, or impressed—they do it because it’s their personal dream. To fulfill their own sense of worth. Their success is always personal and never based on what others might think of them.

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