Using Tragedy to Get What You Want à la Batman

Bruce Wayne's Parent's
No doubt, if you ask any man you meet on the street to name his top 10 well-known superheroes, you would not be surprised if the top 3 would include the Caped Crusader of Gotham City. Who else is this character than the Dark Knight of DC Comics – Batman!

From the beginning of the world, death and suffering have always been a fact of the universe. Creation does not come about without destruction. Albeit a sad fact to comprehend, tragedy and agony are things living beings must endure if they want to continue surviving in a universe full of formidable opponents. Come to think of it, who said that they should always be in opposition to you? If tragedy is a fact of this world, then why not use it to your advantage rather than whine over it again and again?

No, I am not saying you should laugh and smile to any suffering you encounter; sorrow is meant to be cried upon and such emotion surely has its design. Cry if you need to, but let your tears water the seed of a magnanimous tree. Turn your tragedy into a catalyst of magnanimity.

If you have been following my past articles here in, you have probably read how I quoted outstanding men and women who got over enormous obstacles. They are people whom we now see as inspirations and examples of motivation. In this article, however, I am going to draw lessons from one of comic books' iconic characters. Although fictional, his origin story is something that pop culturists have ingrained in the petroglyph of modern mythology and literature.

We owe our gratitude and acknowledgment to Bob Cane and the many writers and directors of the Batman comics, TV series, and movie franchises. Batman a.k.a. Bruce Wayne, with his dark and compromised childhood, is a hero who values life even if he has witnessed something that was contrary to it.

So how do you use a tragic event to catapult you into greatness and heroism, just like what Bruce Wayne did?

Batman Inspires Me

1. Seek solace from those who care about you

Who would not know the Dark Knight's origin story? If you are not familiar with it, then I guess you are one of the few exceptional humans who think Richard Nixon should have not resigned from the presidency. :)

Imagine losing the 2 most important and loving people in your life at a very young age yet old enough to comprehend tragedy and human suffering. Bruce Wayne lost his mom and dad, the people who undoubtedly loved him more than anyone else. Even if he still had material riches, he felt he had lost everything in his life. It pushed him to the brink of despair.

Alfred Pennyworth
Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth
Luckily, there was a man in the household still alive and ready to take care of him just like his own son. Alfred Pennyworth was the Wayne Family's loyal butler and friend, and he became Bruce's third parent.

If Alfred was not such an altruistic guy (as we know him from the comics), I doubt if Bruce would have retained his wealth as a Wayne scion. I would even doubt if he would become Gotham City's hero if he was not fatherly raised by Alfred at all.

I am sure you know there are people who love you unconditionally, and you indeed are fortunate to have them. Sometimes, when sorrow and tragedy come, the love and affection of friends and family are temptingly ignorable; you feel like it is better to drown yourself in misery and loneliness. You want to prove to the world that you can be strong and unbreakable, alone without anyone's help.

My advice: Go to your loved ones, let them energize you, and make them feel you need them too. Love is a proven healer of emotional wounds and a source of personal strength; do not ignore its power.

2. Feel the pain, but not the hate

Surely, Bruce cried and mourned for his parents' death. In fact, this tragedy made an impact all throughout his life. His dark personality and his introversion were all outcomes of his aphotic past. He felt the pain – yes he did, and he continued to feel it even in his adulthood. Yet, did he become evil because of such bitterness? No, he did not. The temptation was there, but giving in to it was not his option.

If you are a Star Wars fan, you would remember Master Yoda's teaching about the emotion called hate.
“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. And hate leads to suffering...”
Indeed, hatred will just compound the suffering you endure. The hate virus and its ill effects will infect every bit of life you come in contact with. Tragedy is painful, but your life overall should never be hateful.

Also, in Christopher Nolan's Batman Trilogy, it was told that Bruce had a phobia of bats. He used this fear not to agitate hatred, but he remade it as a symbol of courage and justice. Do not let fear lead you to anger and hate.

3. Do not give up on school

One of the lamentable occurrences of our time is the mentality that tragedy gives the absolute right for people to rebel and go against conformity. For the youth, what more obvious way to show rebellion than to go against the most famed and established institution of society – the school.

“I am hurt and I am down. School is not where I should be found. The streets and peddlers are better having me around.” Wow! It is so soothing to read and hear sentences when they rhyme. Seriously though, if this is your mentality, I advise you to get it off immediately because it will bring you nowhere but negativity.

Bruce Wayne did not rebel and become a bum. He moved on with his life, finished school, and took over the family business. He used both school and career to pursue his heroic agenda.

4. Learn outside the walls

If there is someone who understood that learning should not be confined to the walls of the school, it is Batman.

Bruce knew that if he wanted to fight off the thugs, crime bosses, and evil freaks in Gotham City, he needed to have special skills and gadgetry. These could not be learned from just attending the usual courses in the academe. He had to get out of his comfortable mansion, he went into different countries, he joined an assassins' league and trained his physique to learn martial arts, athletic agility, complex magic tricks, and weird science. All of these he would utilize to combat evil and subjugate the hostile enemies of Gotham City.

So do you need to acquire all those that Batman has? Maybe not. Yet, you know your needs and you certainly have a longing to fill something empty in your life. Learning does not end in school. Go and continue seeking it outside of its walls.

5. Accept the help of allies

The Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and many others have wrought havoc in Gotham City. Luckily, its citizens have a Dark Knight to put a stop to all these villains and their monstrous schemes.

When the job is over, all credit goes to the Caped Crusader so it seems. Lest we forget, there is an Alfred, a Commissioner Gordon, and some honest cops of the Gotham City Police Department behind his back ready to assist him even in the most minute details of the mission. Oh hey, do not forget the sidekicks – Robin and Batgirl!

You have a mission, you have an agenda, and there is this tragedy holding you off from your past. The aid of friends and allies is never without benefit. Accepting the concept that no man or woman is an island (just like what a song says) is not going to hurt you.

6. Know when to work alone or with a team

Robin, Batgirl, and Nightwing are characters of the Batman mythology who will always come to assist our hero if the need arises. The thing is, given his dark and introverted character, Batman works well when he is alone. There are battles he is joined by sidekicks and there are those that he wins without them.

Batman and the Justice League
Real life is just the same. Some of your personal struggles can only be won on your own, and there are conflicts that are best confronted hand in hand with people who are in common interests with you. Pray for the wisdom to know the difference in both situations, then decide and act accordingly.

Oh, before I forget, I want to mention this one. If the state of affairs is too much for Batman to handle, he admits to himself that he is human with no superpowers – so he gets the help of his friends over at the Watchtower, the Justice League headquarters. :)

7. Beyond anything else, choose life

If you would ask me why Batman is one of the top most iconic superheroes and pop culture characters until today, my answer is that because he values life more than anything else.

Albeit his skills and gadgets are deadly and he is threatened my murderous super-villains, Batman never sees death as a weapon to achieve his mission. He safeguards life even those of his enemies. What makes Batman different from all the costumed and masked plebs of Gotham City? Surely, if he kills his enemies to achieve his objective, then he is no different from the villains he tries to quash.

It is said that to defeat an adversary, you have to be its opposite. If tragedy is as painful as hell, then in order to subdue it, why not be its opposite? Be compassionate and treat life (yours and those of others) as the most precious aspect of your existence.


There is a reason why we, human beings, have a passion for stories, whether they are fiction or non-fiction. Yes, you get entertainment from these tales, but you also relate with the characters and learn an inspiring lesson or two.

Values and lessons have their way of coming to us – either from the imagination of a storyteller or from the real events undergone by a great man or woman.

The Murder of Bruce Wayne's Parents

Courtesy of New York Magazine's Youtube Channel

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