For me it is inconceivable that people go through life without a ‘hero’ or two. Let’s face it, we all have our favorite Idol, or our favorite movie star, and many of us avidly follow what they get up (or actually more like what is alleged that they get up to). It’s big business – you only have to see the number of copies of Heat and/or People magazines that are sold on a weekly basis to have some sort of idea of the value of the ‘interest’ that is generated by these ‘so called celebrities’ who are in fact heroes.
Many of them use their status and their celebrity status to change the way that we as “Joe Public” see things. Some of it is really, really good, like Cameron Diaz, for example who does the whole ‘green’ thing or Angelina Jolie and her fight for the rights of children and women or Oprah and her benevolence towards the education of children, but then there is also the really, really bad – and I’m not going to mention any names here, but we all know who they are – the guys (and gals) who do drugs, or beat up on their women (and even perhaps their children).
Some of these ‘heroes’ take their ‘celebrity status’ very seriously and try and become ‘good role models’ and try and live their lives in the public eyes in a responsible way, whilst others couldn’t give a damn about whether what they are doing is seen in a negative light. I guess, like most things in life, it’s all about the perception.
As individuals we too have a responsibility – ‘how’s that’? I hear you say. Well it’s about choosing the ‘right’ heroes. Warren Buffett says he was ‘lucky to have the right heroes’. That’s really great for him, but on a personal level, I think it is not just luck, it’s also about choosing the right heroes.
So how do we go about choosing the right hero? I mean when you have a hero, it’s like when you first fall in love, isn’t it? The other person can do no wrong! My first piece of advice here is that you have to realize that even heroes are human and if you put them up onto a pedestal it is your responsibility to deal with your own confusion when they fall off! Being human means that they will make mistakes and do the wrong thing from time to time and since that is their own decisions you need to understand and make peace with that. If you can live with it then that’s fine, if not then you are the one with the problem.
Heroes for me are people who make a difference all the time. It’s who they are – an intrinsic part of how they are made up. For them it’s not just about when the going is good – it’s also about when things are hard or difficult. It’s about how they behave and what they achieve when they are struggling or going through a bad period (irrespective of whether it is in their personal or professional lives.)
Heroes are people who have the same sort of values that I have or I would aspire to have. They are people that I can relate to, who I can talk to about anything at all and who I know have my best interests at heart. They are people who look out for me, who are not afraid to tell me (in case they may ‘upset’ me) when I am going in the wrong direction and conversely who are not afraid to tell me when I have done something right. They are immensely proud of my achievements and yet will continue to challenge me.
Heroes are people who also continue to strive to ‘do better’, but they are not afraid to show their weaknesses or even their vulnerable side.
They are people who have usually ‘climbed huge mountains’ to get where they are, they have overcome their own struggles and fought their own demons.
Often they are people who go about their business, helping people along the way often without thought of what they are doing and why and seldom with any kind of remuneration – just because they can.
My heroes are people who live their lives by example and they are the kinds of examples that I would like to follow.
My heroes are not famous people, they are not the stars of the screen but rather the stars that shine more brightly.
My heroes are people who I admire because of their qualities rather than just their successes.
My heroes are everyday people who walk amongst us – who are your heroes?