Stan Lee: 6 Lessons About Career, Life and More.

Stan Lee has said things that people can use as lessons for life. In memory of him, I decided to write this article.

 

Image of Stan Lee and Quote, Life is never completely without its challenges.
Photo Taken by Gage Skidmore, WikiMedia Commons, Shared Under CC BY-SA 2.0 – Remixed by Gloria Dwomoh

 

“Someone wants to do a movie of my life now and he’s writing a script, and I said to him, “What the hell could you do? I’ve never been arrested, I haven’t taken drugs, I’ve had the same wife for 54 years — where’s anything of interest to people?”

Quote Source: Stan Lee, Interview, April 30, 2002

For those who do not know, Stan Lee (Stanley Martin Lieber, December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018 ) is the creator of characters such as Spider-Man and once the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, later a publisher, and then a Chairman. He is an editor, producer, publisher, and an American comicbook writer. And no, in case you are wondering, “comicbook” is not a typo.

“Comic book should be written as one word. So from now on, I want you to remember that. I never want to see the word comicbook written as two words. They are not funny books. They are not comic books, they are comicbooks! Remember that, or incur my wrath.”

Quote Source: Stan Lee, YT Video, “Stan Lee Hates ‘Comic Books’ – Stan’s Rants”, 2012

These are some of the many things Stan Lee once said. There is, indeed, something interesting about his life, and today we’ll explore some things he said and how the lessons we extract from them can be applicable to our lives.

1. Having Only One Niche as a Creator.

“Everybody wants to feel that you’re writing to a certain demographic because that’s good business, but I’ve never done that … I tried to write stories that would interest me. I’d say, what would I like to read?… I don’t think you can do your best work if you’re writing for somebody else, because you never know what that somebody else really thinks or wants.”

Quote Source: Stan Lee, Brandweek, May 2000

If you find yourself having multiple interests you do not need to feel obligated to stick to only one niche. Having a niche has its perks, is a great way to build your following, and can present you as an expert on your respective topic, but having only one niche can be dangerous for someone with a lot of interests (If you want to know why, read my open letter to YouTube (1). The link will be available at the end of this article). So at the end of the day it is important to create content on things that interest you, even if it does not cater to the same demographic all the time, because that helps you put your best work forward.

2. Being Embarrassed of What You Do Because It Does Not Fit What Society Raves Of.

“I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic-book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.”

Quote Source: Stan Lee, The Washington Post, July 23, 2010

When you are doing something for a living you need to link it to a purpose. Without a purpose it feels futile, and if what you are doing has no real purpose it might lead to you feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled. Find the purpose behind what you do and if that purpose excites you, you are on the right track!

3. You Might Want to Move on from Doing a Thing You Once Liked.

“I’ve written so many things over the years that I don’t want to go back to being just a scriptwriter. I’m in what I consider to be the enviable position of all I have to do is come up with the idea and write an outline that makes it seem like it’s a viable idea that will interest people, and then other people write the scripts — and I become the executive producer or the producer, depending on how much involvement I have, and I get a creative credit and then move on to the next project.”

Quote Source: Stan Lee, Interview, April 30, 2002

People change, and even though you like doing the job you are doing today in few years from now that might change. As you are growing professionally, there are some things you might prefer to not do anymore. If you manage to attain the enviable position where you can easily choose what you want or do not want to do, as part of your job, take advantage of it because that is one way to make work fun!

“I don’t really see a need to retire as long as I am having fun.”

Quote Source: Stan Lee, Interview, Feb. 6, 2006

4. Stan Lee Made Things Relatable, and Saw His Audience Love It!

“Well, the biggest thing I like about [Spider-Man] is that he seems to be so successful. Everybody else seems to like him. Basically the thing that always intrigued me, what I always wanted to produce was a character that the average reader could identify with. He’s not the strongest man in the world. And in his normal identity as Peter Parker, he’s not as handsome as Brad Pitt, he’s not a great athlete. He’s just a regular guy like most guys. And I think that has helped to create the popularity that he has because so many readers can just identify with him.”

Quote Source: Stan Lee, “How Stan Lee is bringing women and minorities to the comic world”, She Knows, 2015

It is all about the simple things. You might wonder why people who over simplify certain things several times, get a lot more attention than those that give a more scientific or seemingly researched view of that same thing.

Humans like things they can relate to, easily understand, or identify with. This is an important element for every product creator or inventor to be aware of.

5. Inspiring Change and Realizing What You Can Do.

Stan Lee wanted a change, he wanted to bring more women and minorities into the comic world. I assume he probably thought about what can he do to change the situation. He understood the influence his work has on the younger and older generation, and the importance of diversity, so he decided to inspire change.

“I wanted them to be diverse. The whole underlying principle of the X-Men was to try to be an anti-bigotry story to show there’s good in every person.”

Quote Source: Stan Lee, Comicbook.com, July 29, 2013

6. The Value of the Known and Its Place Next to the Unknown

Well, I guess we were looking for something to hook some new readers. Also, I think boredom had a little to do with it. We had been turning out books for about twenty years. Same old type all the time … so I figured, let’s try something a little more offbeat. Let’s try to … I think the big policy was to avoid the clichés. For example in the Fantastic Four, the first cliché was: all superheroes wore costumes. We soon learned that was a mistake because, much as the readers like offbeat things, there are certain basics that we must have, and apparently superhero fans do demand costumes as we learned in the subsequent mail.

Quote Source: Stan Lee, Castle of Frankenstein, no. 12, 1968

When you can create something that many people can identity with you have found a winning idea/product. It doesn’t stop there though, another thing is familiarity, there are some things that are better left untouched, because while humans get excited with offbeat ideas, they also have a love for the known, the familiar.

May his soul rest in peace. Excelsior!

(1) Dear YouTube: An Open Letter

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *