Civil War Week: Can You Adapt Like Iron Man?

Iron Man

We talked Monday about why Captain America might be right in the epic battle that has come to light between two sides of the Marvel superhero universe.

Today, I want to talk about why Cap, although noble in his efforts to stick to his guns, might be a bit confused and stuck in the past.

Nothing in this world is permanent, and the only thing that is truly constant is change. The great moments of history are marked by change after change after change. I’m not just talking about our evolution as a species, but as a culture and society.

Today we still struggle with so many things that need to change. (Cough, conventional wisdom, cough.) But we’re stuck in the past, and making changes even when there is overwhelming new evidence can be brutally challenging.

Today, we explore why you need to adapt and change like Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man.

Maybe You’re Not Right?

Civil War Team

We all have deeply held beliefs that govern our lives.

Oftentimes those beliefs are things that have been passed down to us by previous generations. They are things we’re taught in school, passed onto us by our parents, or things we’ve read in books and just KNOW to be true.

Sometimes, these beliefs can be called into question when new information comes to light. When this happens, you have a few options:

  • Bury your head in the sand, immediately discredit the new information, find something that proves your point, and loudly declare that your previously held beliefs hold true.
  • Understand that you can act like a scientist, and new information is an opportunity to reflect on previously held beliefs without letting your ego get in the way.

Most people choose the first. From Tony Stark’s perspective, he feels like Captain America is too rigid in his beliefs despite overwhelming evidence that something needs to change. While many people have been saved thanks to superheroes, many have died as well. Can the superheroes protect the earth without massive causalities?

Funnily enough, we see this all the time here on Nerd Fitness too.

We get emails and comments from people all the time lambasting us for declaring something that goes against popular belief, even when our stance is grounded in research, experimentation, and caveats: “try this and see how your body responds.” These people feel like we are personally attacking them and their belief system, and they can’t sleep until they let us know that we’re wrong.

For example, it’s common sense and conventional wisdom that tells us, “heart healthy grains are good for us. Skipping breakfast is unhealthy. Avoiding cholesterol is smart. Oh yeah, and fat is bad.”

But what if those things aren’t true? What if there’s more to the story?

Progress can only happen throughout history if we deviate from the norm. Otherwise, we’d still all be actual cavemen. These articles and the discussion that follows can make people FURIOUS for some reason: see our articles on Personal Responsibility, Cholesterol, the Paleo Diet, Intermittent Fasting: the comments would lead you to believe we’re telling people “gravity doesn’t exist” or “you don’t need air to breathe.”

Instead of blindly accepting what conventional wisdom says and avoiding anything that says contrary, we dug in, hoping to learn more. Even if it made us uncomfortable, we’ve changed our opinion after research and experimentation (seriously, some of the articles I wrote seven years ago make me cringe).

Even now, there’s turmoil in the behavioral psychology industry because
“motivation” MIGHT NOT BE so clear cut! Many are burying their heads in the sand, because they have staked their careers on that belief.

We’re doing the opposite: trying to instill a love for new information and changing our thoughts based on new evidence. A love for learning we’re wrong. It’s an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to shake up our foundation.

Like Tony Stark, we want to think like scientists: nobody has all the answers. We need to be open to change if we’re going to improve, and some of those discussions or changes can make us uncomfortable.

We need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable if we are going to grow.

Work with the system to improve the system


Within this Civil War movie, Tony Stark doesn’t think the Superhero Registration Act is perfect. 

In fact, he knows there are plenty of problems with all members of the superhero community being forced to become registered government agents.

However, he’s come to the conclusion that by working WITH the government, he can enact more change than if he decides to fight it tooth and nail from the outside where he’d be an outlaw like Captain America.

So he does his best to improve things by working WITH the powers that be.

Are there instances where it’s better for you to “join them” rather than “beat them”? Sure, taking a stand often feels like the most empowering thing, being a watchdog and agent of change within the system can do the most good.

Sometimes we urge you to drop the negative people in your life. But oftentimes, the solution is to BE the role model and make changes in the culture of your own family and friends.

By choosing to opt out of the game, you lose your power to help people. If you swear off friends and family and simply yell at them that they’re wrong, you not only lose the power to help them, but also a potentially awesome support team that could’ve been unlocked.

Can You Adapt?


You will never know everything. You might be wrong about a lot of things. In fact, at this moment we all believe a good percentage of stuff that’s just wrong. In fact, some things you have believed your WHOLE life might be called into question by next year.

How will you respond? 

Will you bury your head in the sand and make sure you don’t have to hear the new truth? Will that new truth make you question your foundation and cause a panic attack?

Or are you a scientist like Tony Stark – truth first?

Are you actively looking for ways to disprove things you know to be true? Conventional wisdom isn’t right all the time, and just because has been done the same way forever doesn’t mean it needs to be done that way forever. Change happens. New events bring new details to light.

I’d love to hear from you. What’s one deeply held belief that you have changed your mind on in the past?

I’ll start:

I used to believe that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. That it was necessary to eat when I woke up to “stoke the metabolic fires.” And then I did the research. I haven’t eaten breakfast in two years! I’m healthier, happier, stronger, and more productive than ever. Breakfast doesn’t work for me. It might work for others, but it’s not the savior I thought it was. In fact, I regularly skip meals or go 24 hours without eating, as fasting has been really helpful for my healthy journey.

Your turn:

What’s something you have changed your mind on since starting your journey to a healthier life?

How did others in your life respond when you made these changes?

And keep an eye out for a Civil War Workout on Monday!



Photo source: toy iron man, foot circle, Gears, war machine.

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