The Power is Yours! Lessons Learned from Captain Planet

Captain Planet | The Power is Yours!

When I was a kid – I lived for the simple pleasures: Cookies and milk, cheating at Duck Hunt, and waking up on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons. One of my fondest memories growing up was religiously watching a little show we all know an love called Captain Planet.

For those who may have missed the boat, the basic plot of Captain Planet was as follows: 5 teenagers wore special rings that granted them “the powers of the earth” – When they combined their powers they summoned “Earth’s greatest champion” – also known as Captain Planet. Captain P and the Planeteers would then embark on various adventures to rid the word of crime, pollution, and hate.

Most importantly, the show featured the voice of Lavar Burton, of Star Trek and Reading Rainbow Fame (and who doesn’t love Reading Rainbow, right?)

So, my friends and I would sit around and watch this awesome-ness and then, of course, would reenact the episodes the rest of the day, usually finding something to break.

We all had our favorite characters – there was Kwame (Earth), Wheeler (Fire), Linka (Wind), Gi (Water), and finally Ma-Ti (Heart).

Some important things to note:

  • I was and always will be Wheeler. Why? Because blowing shit up and setting people on fire is awesome.
  • Ma-Ti, with the power of “Heart” (basically making bad guys see the error of their ways) was SUPER LAME. Imagine an 8 year old running around the backyard pointing at people and telling them to be nice. Yeah, definitely not as cool as pretending to set everyone on fire.

But looking back at us running around as kids, and thinking about the loyal Planeteers, I’m reminded of a valuable lesson.

The lesson? You can’t do everything on your own. There are times in your life when you have to put your “rings” together to summon Captain Planet.

We often forget about the power of community and collaboration. I preach the beauty of both often. Ma-Ti may have had a super-lame power, but he was the rock that held the Planeteers together. Without heart, the rest of the group would have been a bunch of anarchists setting fire to forests and tearing down cities with massive earthquakes. Ma-Ti brought the team together – something that is absolutely imperative in any endeavor.

Can you start a business on your own? Of course – but odds are, you are lacking in some areas and another person might be able to offer something that ensures maximum efficiency and profitability. The same can be said for a blog, a project, anything.

In this day and age, it’s important to be multi-talented, but even more important to be excellent at SOMETHING, rather than “ok” at a lot of things. If fire is your “it”, awesome! If your forte is wind, then be the best you can be at that one thing. Being the best at everything isn’t possible. The Planeteers understood that they each brought something valuable (not to mention cool) to the table – but that ultimately – together, they could truly be champions.

We each have a unique power. Ma-Ti may not have been as cool, but he understood his value to the greater good – you gotta’ have “heart”.

What ring are you wearing? What power is yours?