You Can Be a Hero!!

Posted: February 19, 2016 in World On The Edge

MFU1767What is your definition of a hero?

I think this is a good one: A hero is a person who is unafraid to make what they believe to be a ‘right’ decision. And if the decision turns out not to be correct, they own up to it and accept the consequences.

This means that a hero must have courage—enough not only to stand up for what is right, but to keep going no matter how tough it gets. Heroes are not people who have super-human strength, super speed or the ability to shoot beams from their eyes. They are just average people who care about people, about human life and how fragile it really is.

According to researchers, empathy and compassion for others are key variables that contribute to heroic behavior. People who rush in to help others in the face of danger and adversity do so because they genuinely care about the safety and well-being of other people. A 2009 study found that people who have heroic tendencies also have a much higher degree of empathy.

Heroes are good at seeing things from the perspective of others.

Researchers suggest that heroes aren’t just compassionate and caring; they have a knack for being able to see things from the perspective of others. They can ‘walk a mile in another man’s shoes,’ so to speak.

Heroes are competent and confident.

It takes both skill and self-confidence to rush in where others fear to tread. Researchers suggest that people who perform heroic acts tend to feel confident in themselves and their abilities. When faced with a crisis, they have an intrinsic belief that they are capable of handling the challenge and achieving success no matter what the odds. Part of this confidence might stem from above-average coping skills and abilities to manage stress.

Heroes have a strong moral compass.

According to heroism researchers Zimbardo and Franco, heroes have two essential qualities that set them apart from non-heroes: they live by their values and they are willing to endure personal risk to protect those values.–

There are so many heroes who go unnoticed, selfless people who step out of what is easy and take up something hard to elevate someone else. And they ask for no recognition.

Today we hear and read so much about the world’s villains. But look around—maybe even in your own family–the world is filled with heroes.

Who are the heroes you’ve known, or know now?

  1. Cheryl Ruffing says:


    My subscription settings were messed up for a little while, and I wasn’t receiving your posts in my inbox, but I am now.

    Thanks for the reminder that the big, bad world is not all big and bad.

    Your post reminds me of a book on my shelf that I have yet to read: The Altruistic Personality by Samuel Oliner. Oliner was a Holocaust survivor who interviewed hundreds of people who put their lives on the line to rescue Jews. From what I understand, one of Oliner’s discoveries was that these heroes tended to have similar upbringings, with very loving and supportive parents. As an Amazon reviewer puts it: “One key conclusion is that discipline techniques in early childhood have profound, lasting effect on adult personalities and values.” I guess I’ll now have to pull my copy off the shelf and add it to the stacks of books I’m now reading. Sigh.


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