An adamantium-laced skeleton. And claws, of course. Adamantium bones and claws.
Many think this is what made the Marvel superhero Wolverine the badass that he was. Wolverine is the dark hero within the X-Men universe. He is not a good guy like Superman, replete with boyish curl atop brow. Batman was dark, for sure, but still a preppie at heart.
Wolverine, by contrast, does not have a pretty bone in his body. He is gruff, and nasty, and animalistic. He constantly tows the line between being a good guy and a villain. And yet when he took center stage on the big-screen during the X-Men movies over the last several years, audiences loved and admired him.
It isn’t Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton that makes him superbly unique. Rather, it’s his ability to heal—to not be hurt—that allowed for the adamantium skeleton in the first place. Let’s back up…
Wolverine was born with a genetic mutation that allows him to heal at an accelerated rate. Almost any wound or disease is corrected for by his body. This allowed Wolverine to survive the military’s experimental process of fusing his skeleton with a near-indestructible metal called adamantium, thus making him virtually impervious to harm.
Wolverine’s real power resides not in his claws. It resides in the fact that he cannot be scarred too deeply; it resides in the fact that his wounds are not substantial wounds, not deep, but mere flesh wounds, to be felt and glossed over, felt and forgotten as soon as they are experienced. His wounds do not stop him, and they do not define him. They happen, and they pass.
All my life, I let things affect me too deeply. I placed too much importance and too much weight on little things—all things. I viewed everything as important, as a life-and-death issue.
But as I grew, I wanted to be Wolverine. I wanted to be able to walk away from a battle—from stress, problems, drama—without a scratch. I wanted to be impervious to harm. I watched those around me affected by the trivial, caught up in the mundane, freaking out about little things and missing the bigger picture.
Pantera, A New Level
Now a new look in my eyes, my spirits rise,
Forget the past, present tense works and lasts.
New life in place of old life, unscarred by trials.
A new level of confidence and power.
And I learned: yes, Wolverine still feels pain, but it only touches him so deep. It only goes down to a certain level, and then it stops… and sits… and nobody and nothing can force it to hurt more.
So I decided I would be Wolverine, but my own version, without the genetic mutation. I would be impervious to pain, and guilt, and fear. I would make the decision to not let things touch me so deeply. I would learn to let it roll off my back.
“God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time. Enjoying one moment at a time. Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.”
I decided to lace my own bones—my own spirit—with adamantium, to make it impervious to the small and trivial blows dealt by life. Certain things matter. Many things matter. But many things don’t. I decided to take the time to sort them out, to tell the difference and rank them.
The decision to be Wolverine, to be indestructible, is not something magically discovered. It is not something one is born with. It is a choice. It is choosing to fully accept and acknowledge the fact that only you are responsible for your own happiness; that the circumstantial and uncontrollable aspects of your life are ultimately irrelevant and contribute in no large part to your current station in this universe. Lining your soul with an adamantium skeleton and attacking life with adamantium claws is not hard-wired in one’s person.
It is not gifted from an external source. It is selected, consciously, as a method and mode of approaching the world.
Whatever my future may hold, I am fully aware that only I can determine my state of happiness and joy.
That state is not something handed to me by others, or something that I will stumble upon while wandering aimlessly through this life. It is, rather, waking up with the choice to be happy, overjoyed, and blissful.
So fly away, Superman, and save the world. Your life is near-perfect, and that’s great—must be nice to be born with alien powers that make you super-human.
The rest of us, by contrast, will be left to undergo our own experiment, to see if we can withstand the transformation from beings of terminable resolve to beings of indestructible spirit.
To see if we can face our trials, and come out unscarred.
To be less than perfect, and still be perfect, just without the fairytale curl atop our brows, and flowing cape and tights.
True strength is not an innate trait. It is the ability to make the most of everything around us. It is an orientation towards the world. It is the resolve to keep external factors from affecting us any deeper than we decide is acceptable.
It is a trait we choose, and must continue to choose, each and every day.
David Johnston is the founder and lead trainer of TEAM Warrior Within. You can also listen to him weekely on the GEARD Up podcast. ( GEARDUp.com ) David works with clients ranging from the everyday person just trying to lose weight and get healthy, local and national bodybuilding and physique competitors, to IFBB professional athletes.
David lives and breathes all things related to physique transformation, and has devoted nearly half of his life to passionately studying and educating himself to be the absolute best at what he does. His intensity in the gym is matched only by the passion he gives to his clients.