Some Thoughts on Superhero Schools by Matthew Abrams, Co-founder of Mycelium

There are a lot of these schools popping up, which is good because there are more superheroes than there are schools for them. Also, the concept of superhero can be limiting. Many of these superheroes don’t identify as being a superhero. They just want to live a meaningful life and make the world better… To be honest, I believe all humans have this capacity and we, the creators of schools to serve them, must listen to them.

As builders of zones that nourish life, we must be also be clear on why we’re doing what we’re doing. A market demand is not enough. That the world needs it is not enough. We must be called. And if we’re called, we’re willing to experiment. Exercise humility. Be bold. Essentially embody that which we wish to create for others. Because we know it’s not being created by us, but rather it’s creating us.

This is a practice for us at Mycelium. Disrupting the status quo is hard work. We are underpaid and don’t take enough breaks. We get caught in minutia and aren’t always connected to our purpose. In these moments, we don’t embody the world we wish to midwife. On the other hand, we show up with love, with compassion, with the desire to inspire and be inspired. We are constantly curious and learning. When we do this, we are not creating Mycelium, we are Mycelium.

What is a superhero?

Superheroes are ready to embrace the fear, the dream, the shadow, the gifts, the humility, the perseverance, the magic. Superheroes aren’t on the cover of Fast Company. Superheroes are photographers, community organizers, purpose driven entrepreneurs, moms, teachers, artists and creators. Superheroes say yes to surfing the waves of this world and come in every shape and size.

What’s the most important thing for Mycelium to do?

Create the conditions to support relationships that nourish life.

What would you give young people if you could choose one thing?

A mirror.

9 Things that I learned over the 6 years of tending Mycelium:

  • For humans to feel compassion toward something, they must first feel a connection to it.
  • Everything is connected.
  • In the right environment, diversity offers greater potential for health, happiness and resilience.
  • There is a direct correlation between happiness in one’s life and the meaning in their life’s work.
  • The core function of education is to encourage meaning and agency within the participant while developing the tools needed to make that meaning manifest.
  • Another core function of education is to enable the capability of emergence, agility and resilience in the participant.
  • Morality cannot be governed; only inspired.
  • In general, people in their 20’s will either become themselves or everyone else.
  • If we can pair what we’re good at with what we enjoy, we will produce the highest possible value within society.


This post was written by Mycelium co-founder and adventurer/photojournalist Matthew Abrams. The Mycelium School, based in North Carolina, weaves a living network of people committed to activating their fullest potential and creating actionable solutions to the challenges and opportunities of our times.

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