Life Lessons from the Marvel Cinematic Universe


“Heroes Aren't Born. They’re Built.” Four Life Lessons from the Marvel Cinematic Universe

When it comes to movies, there’s no such thing as a ‘sure thing.’ There are, however, juggernaut franchises that are more likely to produce a solid-performing film than not. Marvel and its cinematic universe is one of those franchises. As we write this, the MCU marketing machine is preparing for both the DVD/Blu-ray release of Spiderman: Homecoming and the theater roll-out of Thor: Ragnarok. As fans anticipate both, wallets at the ready, they buzz about next year’s Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, and Ant-Man and The Wasp.


MCU fans, perhaps yourself included, are reaching for their collection of DVDs with plans to binge watch their way from Iron Man to Spiderman ahead of the next wave of films. Forget the debate over the proper viewing order. (Should we watch by release date or place in the story line? Do we watch Capt. America’s origin story before Tony Stark’s and where does Agents of Shield fit in anyway?) As you sit back and revisit Marvel’s heroes, watch for the life lessons imbedded in each story. Remember, as the marketing tag for Iron Man said, “Heroes aren’t born. They’re Built.” Catch these four life lessons to be your own kind of hero:


Persevere: Lesson from Captain America: The First Avenger

Seeing Steve Rogers for the first time on the big screen, it’s hard to believe that this small, scrawny kid from Brooklyn is going to become one of the nation’s most formidable heroes. Early in the film, our not-yet-hero is taking a beating in an alley. Every time he gets knocked down, he gets right back up. His opponent is exponentially larger, but that doesn’t stop Steve. His opponent says, “You just don’t know when to give up, do you?” Rogers replies, “I could do this all day.”

From that weak, small-statured, determined kid, Rogers will eventually transition to the serum-induced superhero we know as Captain America. The film shows us repeatedly how Rogers greets adversity head-on with the determination to succeed no matter the odds. Ultimately, it’s that determination that makes him heroically successful, not his strength. Take a page from Captain America. Didn’t land the role you coveted? Audition for the next one. Didn’t perform well on your math test? Study and knock the ball out of the park on tomorrow’s.


Be You: Lesson from Spiderman in Captain America: Civil War  

There’s Peter Parker before the radioactive spider bite and Peter Parker after. The MCU’s rendition of the teenage web slinger makes his debut in Captain America: Civil War. Tony Stark has come recruiting and as he sits next to the teen, he asks Peter why he’s taken on the Spiderman persona. Buried in his answer is a hint at our second lesson. Peter says, “I would love to play football but I couldn’t then, so I shouldn’t now.”  In the suit, Peter Parker is the stuff legends are made of; out of it, he’s perceived as just your average teen.  When you land your first role, or your second, or your third, life is going to change in some ways. You may find a measure of fame. Regardless, stay you. Whoever you are before the success on camera (and off), should be the person you remain after it.


Listen: Lesson from Doctor Strange

As hot-shot surgeons with a God-complex go, Dr. Stephen Strange may be the poster child. He’s good at what he does, he knows it, and he wants to make sure you know it too. When a devastating accident shatters both hands, Strange finds himself without the manual dexterity needed to perform the type of procedures he’s made his name doing. Talk about humbling.

He sets off on a quest to find a cure, something he thinks the Ancient One will bestow upon him. Instead, she schools him in the Mystic Arts. To master these new skills, Dr. Strange must humble himself enough to step back and listen. He must learn to take direction.  When we’ve got skills (and you most certainly do!), it can be easy to think we’ve also got all the answers. Learning to listen, however, is an important skill. Whether we’re talking about literal direction on set, instruction in the classroom, or advice from a mentor, tune in to what others have to say. Learn from them.


Tomorrow’s Another Day: Lesson from Ant-Man

Scott Lang made some mistakes; one of them big enough to land him in jail. When he’s released from prison, Lang is determined to start over and do better. The world appears to have other ideas. Just as he’s about to give up and revert, Scott meets Hank Pym who offers him the opportunity of a lifetime. While Pym’s recruitment techniques are quite unconventional, the take-away for us is that we get a chance to pick ourselves up and try again each new day. Lang’s post-prison job history was laced with misfires and failed attempts, yet someone saw potential in him and made him the hero. Forget the auditions that didn’t pan out. Today’s call is a new chance to land that role.

With the long list of Marvel films and television offerings at our disposal, we’ve got more than enough life lessons to cull. These four are just the tip of the iceberg. Next time you grab a bowl of popcorn and catch up on Guardians of the Galaxy or spend some quality time with Thor, look for the lessons. Just remember to stop by and visit us on Twitter and Facebook to share what you’ve learned!

In an earlier post, we offered techniques to simplify multiplying by 5 and 25. In this post, we will explore a couple of amazing tricks with other numbers that will come in handy.

Multiplying By 11:


When multiplying a one-digit number by 11, most of us can instantly produce the correct answer. But what about two-digit numbers? Can you solve these equations just as easily? Try this:


45 x 11 = ?


Step #1: Take the target number (45), and Add the two digits together (4 + 5 = 9).


Step #2: Then insert your insert your answer (9) between the two numbers: 495. And there’s your answer!


Let’s try another: 52 x 11 = ?


5 + 2 = 7


Answer: 572


Easy, right?


Do the two digits add up to more than 10? No problem. It just requires one extra step:


68 x 11 = ?


Here’s the snag: 6 + 8 = 14


It won’t work if you try to place the 14 between the 6 and the 8. Instead, simply carry the one and add it to the lead number (6 + 1 = 7). Then insert the 4 in the middle, and finish the technique as described above:


68 x 11 = 748


The Power of Doubling


Complicated equations can be made simpler when broken down into smaller parts. With the power of doubling, it’s possible to solve multiplication problems quicker, easier, and in your head. Let’s try a few using the number “23.”


Multiply by 4 = Double and double again: 4 x 23 = ?


Doubling 23 is 46. Double it again and you get 92.


Multiply by 8 = Simply double your answer one more time: 8 x 23 = ?


Double 92 and you get 184.


Multiply by 16 = Double one more time: 16 x 23 = ?


Double 184 and you get 368


If you are brave, you can continue with 32, 64, 128, and beyond!


Divisibility Rules:


So, you’ve just robbed a bank with two of your pals. You get to your hideaway to divvy up your heist. After counting, you arrive at the number $4,587. Mugsy looks over at you and asks, “Well, boss, is the total sum cleanly divisible by 3?” You turn to Mugsy and ask, “Huh?” He replies with, “Can you split the loot evenly by threesies?”


Can you quickly answer Mugsy? You will be able to after reading this:


Add up all the digits (4 + 5 + 8 + 7 = 24). Is the sum (24) divisible by 3? If yes, then the original number (4,587) is also divisible by 3. In this case, yes; 24 is cleanly divisible by 3, so you and Mugsy won’t have to worry about duking it out over a remaining dollar.


But what if there are 6 of you?


Just as simple. First, make sure the original number (4,587) is even (if it’s not, then the number is not divisible by 6). Then, employ the same trick that you used for 3s (Is the sum of the numbers divisible by 3?). If the original number is even and the sum of the added numbers is divisible by 3, then the original number is divisible by 6. In the example of $4,587, the number is not even, so it is not divisible by 6.


But what if there are 9 of you?


First of all, never rob a bank with 9 people. Someone is bound to squeal. But let’s say that you decided not to heed this advice, and you packed into a van with 8 of your closest conspirators and knocked off the First National State Bank. You hauled away the same amount we’ve been using: $4,587 (quite a heist!). Is that number divisible by 9?


Try this: Add up all the digits. If your total sum is divisible by 9, then the original number is also divisible by 9. If the sum is not divisible by 9, then the original number is not divisible by 9.


4 + 5 + 8 + 7 = 24. Divisible by 9? I’m afraid not. Someone will need to duck into a 7-Eleven and get some change.


And now that you know these math tricks, it will be so much easier for you and your pal Mugsy to calculate how many more months you have until you’re up for parole!