5 Game-changing Lessons You Need to Grasp From Iron Man and Tony Stark
Iron Man is one of the most iconic characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and he also has one of the more interesting character arcs, as he evolves from a rather selfish, apathetic playboy to a true hero who saves the entire universe. While we all may not be able to relate to Tony’s dynamic mix of confidence, intelligence, and access to incredible technology, the character still provides an excellent guide on how to thrive while conducting yourself as fun and professional, both as a hero and a leader. Here’s five of the most invincible lessons we’ve picked up from Iron Man and Tony Stark.
Tony Stark is a leader in many senses of the word.
Tony Stark also has another good side — his entrepreneurial ability to turn adversities into opportunities and beat the competitors outstandingly. Iron Man is not just a man with superhero skills but a person with a ‘super’ career as well. There are few game-changing lessons we all should consider, whether we are starting an online business, or have planned to do in the future, or aspire to.
Yes, Tony Stark is not someone you can meet in real life, but dreams are built on solid beliefs and determination.
It’s our dreams that motivate us to do what we believed was impossible, whether it’s to start our dream career, marry our soulmate, or, in Tony’s case, save the world. I remember the first time I watched Iron Man. Oh my goodness. It was love at first sight. I fell in love with the witty character of Tony Stark. Although he could fly like Superman, he didn’t have superpowers like super strength, but he is smart.
Iron Man is one of the most praised and iconic characters from the MCU.
His character has been one of the most interesting and dynamic out of all. In the last decade, we have seen his character grows from a self-centered, insensitive, arrogant playboy to a True hero who sacrificed himself to save the world leading to some major Iron Man life lessons that everybody should learn. Tony Stark has many flaws and he had made some prominent mistakes throughout his journey in the MCU. However, he also made some heroic choices for the greater good.
These Iron man game-changing lessons include things you should do and shouldn’t do in life.
Tony’s got brains and a knack for getting himself out of sticky situations. So, today we’re going to talk about five of his top rules for success, starting with believing in yourself. As fans of his know, his cup of confidence is always overflowing.
Lesson #1: Always Have Backup Plans
Due to everything that has happened and the fact that he is a genius, Tony Stark is always thinking ahead. While Tony can take things too far at times, it is not a bad idea to have a contingency plan for many aspects of life. Tony is always ready, because he has always thought beyond the next moment and has taken into account that things can go wrong.
If there’s one trait that I think a lot of us love about Iron Man, it’s that he always has a Plan A, B, and C.
These various plans are what make him such an admirable foe to supervillains — and members of the team. For instance, he designed the Hulkbuster armor just in case the big green rage monster lost control. Having a contingency plan allows you to make decisions faster. It also allows you to remain calm, relaxed and collected during any situation. You won’t be able to help anyone else if you become frazzled or in a panic — and you are more likely to injure someone gravely. You can end up making costly mistakes — even if the errors can’t be seen.
Contingency planning isn’t just about major crises and natural disasters.
It can also prepare you for more commonplace problems, such as the loss of data, staff, customers, or business relationships. That’s why it’s important to make contingency planning a routine part of the way you work. Contingency plans are an important part of your overall business continuity strategy because they help ensure your organization is ready for anything. Many large businesses and government organizations create multiple sets of contingency plans so that a variety of potential threats are well-researched and their responses are fully practiced before a crisis hits.
A contingency plan prepares you to deal with any future troubles you may encounter, and gives you some sort of escape route out of any accident.
If something goes wrong with your Plan A unexpectedly, or if accidents force you to change your current plan, chances are you will panic. Especially if you’re not well prepared to deal with contingencies, you probably can’t think straight enough to come up with the solution you need at that moment. You won’t know what to do. What’s worse, until you’re able to get the situation under control, business can’t go back to normal. You’ll have to fix the trouble and make new plans. You may think that accidents are unlikely. You may think that your Plan A is perfect. However, you should keep in mind that the future is uncertain until it becomes the present, and that we as human beings can’t control 100% of what happens.
Contingency planning should be evident in your behavior, thinking and lifestyle.
It is a natural and unchanging phenomenon that the future is never certain even with the best forecasting skills and techniques. Therefore, it is important that you must compulsorily have contingency plans for all your extremely important dependencies and comfort producers. You don’t want to wake up one morning and realize that you can’t afford important necessities even though it wasn’t your fault. Well, it is still your fault if you could have had a plan B. Always keep your eyes open! The bigger your goals in life, the greater the need for contingency plans as you take every step towards achieving it.
Lesson #2: Choose Your Mission & Stick by It
Tony Stark is someone who was born rich thanks to his parents, so he didn’t really have to work to become a billionaire that he is. And, while a lot could be said about whether or not you deserve to be that rich, you at least have a tendency to try to care for others because of your wealth. He makes costumes for the people he loves and tries to use his money to clean up any mess the Avengers cause. And while most fans don’t have Tony’s level of well-off, there’s still something good about the idea of doing what they can to help those around them.
A good leader picks a mission and stands by it. A great leader has the integrity to find a noble cause and see it through.
Tony Stark is not afraid to fight for what is right. When he realizes he no longer believes in his father’s mission for Stark Industries (weapons manufacturing), he declares a change. He declares to the press that Stark Industries will no longer produce weapons. When Tony Stark sees his company has not been sticking by his promise, he doesn’t just sit by and let it happen. He takes action. He becomes Iron Man. He builds a suit of armor and uses it to end the destruction Stark Industries has caused. Sure, he could ignore it all. He is a billionaire. But Tony Stark believes in his mission and fights to keep it alive. So does a good leader.
Besides, being a socially responsible leader like Tony isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity.
Employees and customers want to work with companies that are socially and environmentally responsible. Giving back to the community is a surefire way to enhance soft skills, like communication, and be exposed to new opportunities. Tony Stark defines himself as a “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.” During the first Iron Man film, he dedicates his time to ensure weapons produced by Stark Industries are removed from the wrong hands. In Iron Man 2 and The Avengers, he focuses the efforts of his company on sustainable energy and other philanthropic efforts. The best leaders are socially responsible and make sure their organizations are too.
No matter how many hurdles tony stark went-from getting abducted to getting dumped. He never backed down from his ultimate goal that is saving the world and working for the people.
Tony Stark went from getting kidnapped on two different occasions to getting abandoned. Nevertheless, no matter how many hurdles he faced, he maintained that ‘I must survive attitude’. He never backed down from his ultimate objective — saving the world and serving the people. As an entrepreneur, you must have such resilience to keep working on your business for as long as it takes until you find success. This is one trait missing in young wannabe entrepreneurs in modern times.
Very often, you see people that talk about all the things they want, and they have these goals, like wanting to be more successful, but they’re not willing to make sacrifices.
But if you love someone or something (like a cause), you will give up your time or whatever you need to reach your goal. There’s always a price to pay for action. If you want something, you have to give something. You have to be willing to sacrifice. Now, I’m not saying that you have to be a workaholic. What I am saying is in order to build your career, to build your business and take it and your life to the next level, there’s a trade-off. You need to make sacrifices and say, this is the price that you’re willing to pay for success, for the things you want, to be able to provide for your family. So, ask yourself what you are willing to give up? What are you willing to sacrifice to get what you want?
Lesson #3: Create The Right Team
Tony Stark’s story throughout the MCU is very much about him learning to trust others and open himself to genuine connection. He has to go through some tough life lessons when he sees the horrors that his weapons inflict, and he also sees that the way he went through life partying and not caring about anything wasn’t very fulfilling. He clearly had a lot of insecurities and fears around opening up to others, but learning to do so is what brings him true happiness in life.
Tony Stark is a person who has a hard time connecting with others because of his insecurities. He doesn’t make friends easily.
But over the years, we have seen him get better at maintaining relationships. He even played the role of a mentor for those who were new to the world of superheroes like Peter and Harley. He realizes that it’s important to pass down the knowledge and help the new generation. It’s important to always consider the strengths of those around you, regardless of your confidence in yourself. Countless success stories feature moments in which the primary figure benefited from the input of someone unexpected. Because, as Bill Nye has famously pointed out, “everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t.” Use everyone’s knowledge to achieve your goals and you’ll be much better off.
Great leaders are well aware that no matter how talented they are, they surround themselves with amazing people who have unique and diverse skills and perspectives.
Tony doesn’t surround himself with just anyone. Besides Earth’s mightiest heroes, he has the incredibly loyal Happy Hogan and supportive best friend, James Rhodes. There’s also Pepper Potts who is more than capable of taking over the day-to-day operations of Stark Industries. Even if you don’t always agree with these people in everything — having them around will ultimately make you a stronger and more effective leader. The best leaders are confident, but they’re aware of their weaknesses, too. Because of this self-awareness, a leader is more than willing to seek the input of others to make better decisions.
After he’s taken captive, Tony trusts Pepper Potts enough to make her the CEO of Stark Industries in his place.
Also, he trusted the discernments of his chief security Happy Hogan and his good friend James Rhodes. Great thought leaders and businesspeople realize that no matter their talent, power and money, they will still need the assistance and support of a team of like minded individuals. Do, be sure to create the right team and try to accept some of their suggestions and implement it so that the business will flourish adequately. Behind any business success lies a great team. This formula applies to startups as much as it does to international behemoths. A team exists to allow an endeavor to grow, scale, and thrive in a way that would be literally impossible for one person to do.
As a leader responsible for driving performance and results in your organization, many variables are simply outside of your control.
Every individual brings their own set of unique traits, skills, strengths, and weaknesses to the table. The key to cultivating a team that runs on all cylinders is determining the specific personality types of your people, understanding how these types motivate or detract from one another, and identifying how they all best align. Achieving the right team chemistry requires understanding how different personality types harmoniously work together to achieve better results. As a leader, first improve your own self-awareness to determine which personalities you require to enhance your own strengths and supplement your weaker areas. Then, ensure your people understand this about themselves, as well as about each other.
Lesson #4: Learn from Your Mistakes
There’s no denying that Tony Stark messes up a lot in the MCU. He creates Ultron, and he doesn’t always handle things with the other Avengers very well. However, despite this, he does at least try to make amends. He might not have the best people skills, and he might not always go about things the right way, but he tries to fix things when he goes wrong. This is a good reminder for everyone that sometimes apologizing isn’t enough, and it’s important to try to set things right.
The best teacher in the world is failure.
When you mess up, don’t think of it as wasted time or effort — think of it as sanding down the rough surfaces of your idea. It’s messy and frustrating, but nothing gets smoothed out on its own. Each mistake is another step towards the finish you’re hoping to reach. In Iron Man 2, Tony’s suits are repeatedly devastated when wrapped up by Whiplash’s electric whips. In The Avengers two years later, Tony gets hit by one of Thor’s lightning bolts and his suit simply absorbs the blast and immediately converts it into weaponized energy.
Leaders will make mistakes, but they learn something from every one.
Tony Stark is a genius, but he makes mistakes, as we all do. When he is captured by a terrorist group he is shocked into analyzing his predicament, and begins to learn from the mistakes he has made throughout his life. The lesson for us — we will make mistakes throughout our life, especially as we strive and stretch a little further than we can reach. It allows us to grow, but as we grow we become more prone to make mistakes once in a while. When leaders make mistakes, they analyze, learn, and move on.
Despite being a genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist, Tony Stark made plenty of mistakes throughout his cinematic journey.
But, instead of harping on those mistakes, he learned from them in order to become a better superhero, teammate, and human being. It’s why some have argued that Tony has the most dramatic character arc in the MCU. As a leader, it’s imperative that you learn from your past mistakes. I firmly believe learning to evolve comes from considering your past errors and is one of the best ways to continually improve yourself — so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
One of the important traits of Iron Man was that he was fierce in taking decisions and take responsibility for the consequences of his decisions.
He did not spin his words or told the half-truths when he knew he needs to shut down Stark Industries he said it straightforwardly in front of the press. Tony Stark took responsibility afterward of his decision and face the crowd with his best friend fighting him and people turning their backs when he needs them the most. Who wouldn’t want to take responsibility when things go wildly right? Those are the “feel good” moments that invigorate leaders and build our confidence. But the best leaders push themselves to demonstrate accountability and responsibility when the situation is more difficult.
Lesson #5: Know Who You Are
One of the most difficult things I had to learn as a leader, was to get off my high horse, come back down to earth, and communicate. Big words, sophisticated phrasing, complex concepts, and boring analogies and cliches just don´t come across as straightforward and honest. When Tony Stark sat down on the floor at the press conference and just plain talked to people, he was able to communicate his true beliefs and feelings, and to come across credibly. That’s what great leaders do. Strip away the fancy stuff and just plain talk.
Good leaders are honest about their intentions and their methods. People trust a transparent leader.
One thing that makes Tony Stark a likable leader is his demeanor. Between the puns and the laughs, you can tell he loves what he does. It doesn’t matter if Stark is at a party, or in a dangerous environment as Iron Man, Tony knows how to have fun. He’s someone who likes to show off and have fun. Sometimes this led to him making some major mistakes but having your flair and style is not completely bad. He is someone who knows how to have fun and embrace it. Leadership requires the ability to keep things light. For both stressful situations and everyday tasks, it is important for a leader to enjoy the job.
Transparency is critical in the workplace.
Clarity builds trust, strengthens relationships, and keeps employees engaged. Being open encourages everyone to find the best solutions for the team — and not just themselves. Transparency also ensures that you and your team are on the same page, particularly when aligning with your vision. “I am Iron Man,” Tony Stark announces at the end of the first film. He is straightforward with the public, which establishes trust — just like earlier in the film when Tony Stark sits down at his press conference and talks about his beliefs about the future of Stark Industries.
While Tony Stark does have to learn at times to be substance over style, there’s also something exciting about his love of being a little flashy.
He likes to show off, and he likes to have fun. Of course, he’s also an example of why you shouldn’t take things too far and be irresponsible, but having style and flair is a very good thing in moderation. There’s a lot of enjoyment to be had in embracing fun, which Tony definitely knows all about. It’s all right to act like a bit of a rock star (but also to know where to draw the line.) We’re taught from a young age that being a responsible adult means you’re not allowed to have fun. But the truth is, these two things can very easily coexist — the key is simply having discipline and knowing where to draw the line. Everyone’s situation is different, but a good tip for navigating the two moods is to just remember that Tony Stark only made jokes about getting shawarma after the battle in New York was over. Work first, then quip.
Think about it: You may not be a tech genius (or a genius investor), but you should be clear on what you’re good at.
Everyone has their strengths and if you have a business goal you’re trying to reach, you ought to know what market niche or skillset you will have a competitive edge in. Leadership and excellence stems from self-awareness. Although there were times when Tony Stark let his ego get in the way, he also displayed an essential lesson about recognizing your limitations. He famously — as Captain America did — “call it” during the battle of New York in The Avengers. Tony also implemented Hawkeye’s combat strategies during the same fight scene. The best leaders are confident, but they’re aware of their weaknesses, too. Because of this self-awareness, a leader is more than willing to seek the input of others to make better decisions.
One of the founding members of the Avengers has resonated with audiences largely because he encapsulates so much of what we all are and ultimately, hope to be. Amidst his many achievements, Tony transformed himself into a superhero overnight. And it wasn’t an accident — his development came as a result of personal hardship, a change in perspective, and the utilization of the gifts already at his disposal.
If there’s one important bit of motivational advice you can get from Tony Stark, it’s that you won’t have everything you need all the time.
Tony never whined about his situation and instead, he made the best of what he had at the moment and powered through his personal crisis. Sometimes, you just need to suck it up and work with your circumstances rather than struggling against them. Not everything will go your way all the time. You’ll have to rise above your difficulties and use them to make yourself a better person, be it in business or life in general.
Iron man is a hero not just because of an advanced suit of armor but because he’s Tony Stark.
Underneath the armor he’s a genius, playboy, billionaire and philanthropist. Iron Man is not just a man with superhero skills but a person with a ‘super’ career as well. It’s who he is and what he has done that makes him the hero. Let’s remember that it is through the difficult times that we test ourselves and recognize our strengths and leadership development opportunities.
Before Tony Stark became the superhero in the Iron Man suit, he already had confidence, ingenuity, and engineering skills.
He already knew who he was before he put on the suit. Having that identity is important. When you have confidence, when you are determined, you can work on your goals and face new challenges by running before you’re walking. And because he was clear on his end goal, he was able to make sacrifices to get there.
Most importantly, embrace who you really are and be genuine about it without worrying what other people think.
When I took a closer look at Iron Man, I saw these game-changing lessons I had missed before. It has reminded me to keep my eyes and ears open, because one never knows where a leadership lesson may be lurking. What about you? What game-changing lessons have you encountered in some unlikely mediums? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.