Essays on the Theme of Heroism

What is a Hero and Why be One?

by Anthony Pouw from Los Angeles, California in United States

What are the qualities that go into being a hero? How do you recognize a hero? Do heroes ride white horses and do they wear white hats? Do they only wear funny outfits? Why even be one? Well, let’s find out.

Heroes tend to be people who we look up to for some reason. There are things about them that we admire. It could be that they do things or deal with life in ways that we wish we could do ourselves. Heroes tend to represent an idealized version of how we would like ourselves to be.

Perhaps this is an easy way to find out what a hero is. Ask yourself the question. What kind of person would I like to be?

So, heroes abound and we find them everywhere. Behaving like a hero can be a momentary thing. Suddenly confronted with a dangerous situation, the heroic qualities of a person may suddenly take over and the day is saved. But, once the danger is over, it’s back to being normal and unremarkable. We see this happening with our superheroes, the Spidermans and Batmans of the world. 

It’s interesting that challenging environments and situations do bring out the best in many of us. For others it can bring out the worst. It also probably means that heroes put themselves or find themselves in situations that are challenging, allowing the hero qualities to emerge and come into play. 

I think that one thing we can say about heroes is that they are living and participating in life. Heroes, when they are being heroes, are ALIVE. They are in action, they are making something happen. Another way of stating this is that they are being CAUSE. A person whom I personally admire is Elon Musk. When you look at what he is doing to advance humanity’s ability to travel into space and venture onto other planets and moons, you can see CAUSE at work. Well, what is CAUSE? It is your ability to make something happen, whether it be good or bad. What is the other side of CAUSE? It is being an EFFECT. This is where things are being done TO you, not being done BY you. So, when you are going through life being an EFFECT, you are not living in the land of heroes. People who say that nothing can be done about a situation are being effect. People who say that something can be done about a situation and then take action to make it happen are being cause.  

I think that if you look closely you will find lots of people around you who are being cause in a positive and constructive manner. A mother successfully raising a child is a hero. A farmer getting his crop to market is a hero. What battles did the farmer have to fight to make that happen. An engineer overcoming a technical difficulty is operating at cause and for his colleagues and company is a hero. This tells you another thing about being a hero. It is not an absolute state or thing, but is relative. There are degrees of this thing called 'hero'. 

So, what does it take to be the best YOU that YOU can be?  

For starters, it helps to have a purpose or a goal. In fact the more goals and purposes you have, the better. Goals and purposes allow you to focus your attention. Without them, life tends to push you around, and that is being EFFECT. They also give you a game to play. But this is not enough. Now it’s time to get to work and make things happen. Another quality that helps is called INTENTION. You could say that this is the amount of focused energy you bring to bear on a goal or a result. Intention is not something that happens automatically. It’s something that you have to continually and consciously create. Some goals are so large that a lot of intention is required to move things forward. This is where other people can help. These are your friends and family. Goals and purposes can be shared, and when you do this, the intention of yourself and others are combined to create a more powerful force. This is why we have groups. 

A dream or a goal that lacks intention is like dough that lacks yeast. It is not going to rise no matter how long you bake it. You can dream your whole life about how you are going to travel the world, but without energy (intention) being continually applied to making that happen, it won’t happen. This is also called PERSISTENCE.

So, what else do you need to be a hero? The world around you, people and situations, are also working against you. Some would like to convince you that your goals are not achievable, that it is 'pie in the sky' or that you are just plain crazy for wanting to do it. What does it take to stand up to that? The number of “authorities” who claimed that Elon was crazy for wanting reusable rockets or for wanting to create an electric car company and build sporty electric cars are too many to count. They wanted him to stop. Perhaps he was seen as a threat to the established order. Those people who want to keep things just the way they are, because it is good for them! There are also the people who have given up on their own dreams, and therefore feel that others shouldn’t have them either. These are the people who at some point flipped from CAUSE to EFFECT, regarding achieving their dreams and goals. 

Elon is someone who continued to believe in himself. What is that quality that best describes this? It is called personal integrity. Without personal integrity you are doomed, but with it you can achieve incredible things. Now, we have Tesla cars and Space-X firing their reusable rockets, making it cheaper and faster to launch things and people into space. 

A person without personal integrity is much like a boat with small and large holes in the hull. It is a boat that, when it goes out to sea and encounters some rough conditions, is bound to sink! 

So, what is personal integrity? It has to do with belief in self. It has to do with confidence in knowing what you know and knowing what you don’t know. If you are not certain about what is true for YOU, you become dependent on other people to do the thinking for you. Is this wise or smart? Shouldn’t it be based on what you have personally observed to be true or have knowingly accepted to be true? If you doubt your perceptions and observations, you cannot have personal integrity. 

Let’s look at Simone Biles, an incredible gymnast. How certain does she have to be about what she does? Is there room for doubt and uncertainty when she is competing? This certainty is hard-won personal experience and observation, as well as belief in her own ability to do what she intends to do. This tells you something else about personal integrity, and that is honesty. You have to be honest with yourself. To be honest requires seeing the truth of a situation. It requires being able to observe your own actions and their outcomes and then being responsible for them, good, bad or indifferent. This is how one learns and becomes better and stronger. This is not about accepting how you messed up but finding out what you have to change to do it better. 

Heroes are able to learn and use what they learn. Learning means UNDERSTANDING. It does not mean remembering. When you understand something, your ability to do the right thing and know that you are doing the right thing is present, and it is easier to make that decision and take that action because you KNOW it is right. This also takes a lot of FAITH. Faith in yourself. Knowing that you should not waiver, and persevere, even though many around you will doubt. And with FAITH one has COURAGE. 

It also means not compromising with yourself. 

So, these are just some of the key qualities underlying a hero. 

So, why would it be a good thing to be a hero? The same question could be stated as, "Why would it be a good thing to be a better you?"

The path of becoming a hero or becoming a better you is an adventurous one, and when you follow it, you will know that you have lived life to the fullest and made a positive difference in the lives of others. There is no better feeling at the end of a game or activity, or life itself, as knowing that you gave it your all and you were true to yourself, your goals and dreams. There is no "hero pill" or "miracle pill" that one can take. You just need to walk the path, one step at a time each day of your life. 


Page created on 9/7/2019 4:38:24 PM

Last edited 9/17/2019 9:23:58 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

The Way to Happiness - How achieving happiness has a lot to do with being a hero
L. Ron Hubbard - Find out about the man who has inspired me and truly was a hero in so many ways.

Author Info

Among many things I have studied the works and writings of L.Ron Hubbard. This has given me many insights into life and has helped me to become more of the person I want to be. My life is still an ongoing project. Perhaps this article will inspire you to seek to become a better you.