As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.
~ Ernest Hemingway

Just a short time ago, I blogged about the death of one of my heroes. I have quite a few heroes, and today I wanted to talk about what it takes to be one of my heroes. I have a lot of heroes, so many that I don’t think I could list them in one sitting. But, honestly, they all deserve that title.

I guess I should stop real quick and define what I mean by a hero. A hero is someone that you look up to, respect, and aspire to be like. I know that no one is perfect, and many heroes have a very dark side to them, but then again, so do I. So instead I choose to strive to make myself like their good qualities.

“A hero is a man who does what he can.” ~ Romain Rolland. That would be a good way to sum up the first (though probably the broadest) of my criteria. You don’t have to do everything, or even anything exceptionally amazing, but you have to do what you can. Don’t be satisfied with the status quo, the way things are. Look at what is, and do what you can to make it better.

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” ~ Joseph Campbell. We all need to be involved in something bigger than ourselves. I believe that until we are, we are not truly alive. To be a hero, one needs to recognize and become involved in something greater than themselves.

“Nothing is given to man on earth – struggle is built into the nature of life, and conflict is possible – the hero is the man who lets no obstacle prevent him from pursuing the values he has chosen.” ~ Andrew Bernstein. A hero not only gives his life and lives for something bigger than himself, a hero is someone who has his set of values and will stop and nothing to pursue & defend those values, even if it is not popular, or creates waves.

“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” ~ Christopher Reeve. We often expect heroes to be these extraordinary people, but really a hero is just an ordinary person. But they endure and push through what they are place in, and that makes them extraordinary.

“My heroes are the ones who survived doing it wrong, who made mistakes, but recovered from them.” ~ Bono. To me, a hero is the one who gets back up after falling down. A hero isn’t perfect. They mess up. They do it wrong. But it’s in the getting back up that makes one into a hero. You don’t let yourself be defeated, you rise back up again, and again, and again.

“My belt holds my pants up, but the belt loops hold my belt up. I don’t really know what’s happening down there. Who is the real hero?” ~ Mitch Hedberg. This is a funny, yet true quote. Sometimes the greatest heroes are the ones you don’t see, you don’t think about. Many of my heroes are not the ones who come running in the middle of the night when someone calls them, asking for help with an issue. Its the one who make the call, saying they need help. It takes more courage and strength to admit that you need help, to put down that knife, gun, pill, whatever, and tell someone that you need help.

Aspire rather to be a hero than merely appear one.
~ Baltasar Gracian

What about you? Who are your heroes? What do you think it takes to be a hero?

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