In the recently published Heroes in a Global World, Lance Strate from Fordham University writes, “Heroes are our ideal selves, the selves that inspire us, the selves that we aspire to, the selves that we desire” (19).
Whom do you admire, seek to be like? Why?
Well, the good news is that all of the qualities you admire in another person, are already present in yourself. You may want to polish them up a bit, but you’ve got the stuff in your own self.
Make a short list of your personal heroes/heroines and write down a quality for which you admire in each. Here are some samples, in random order:
Princess Diana: Her beauty and charm are legendary, yet she was never fully accepted by her husband or in-laws. Wonderfully chic.
Francis de Sales: An elegant nobleman from the Renaissance, he is the patron saint of writers, journalists, and educators because of his wonderful way with gentle rhetoric and education-based marketing of the Catholic faith.
Oprah: Rags to riches, she is known for her outrageous generosity and personal warmth.
Julia Cameron: She overcame her alcoholism, lost loves, and became a prolific writer across genres, creativity master and entrepreneur.
Joe Vitale: A prolific writer (do we sense a common theme here?) who bases his success in marketing and writing on spiritual principles.
Christine Kane: Remarkably she combines her love for writing and performing music, with writing and teaching, all while being a successful entrepreneur.
Winston Churchill: An incredible class act in statesmanship, a powerful rhetor (and inspiring writer).
Kenneth Burke: His influence in scholarship is significant across several disciplines, yet he dropped out of college. He decided early on to be a genius and went on to do so.
Wayne Dyer: A significant philosopher in our time, the most remarkable thing about this man is that he is the father of 8 children and still married to his original wife.
To continue Strate’s writing on this:
…[O]ur heroes shape our sense of self, and color the ways that we interpret our identities. They teach us how to be the heroes of our own life-stories, how to live heroically. And we desperately need to live heroically, as psychoanalyst Ernest Becker (1971, 1973) explained, because of the heavy price we pay for the unique gift of human consciousness (19).
Fortunately, heroes don’t have to be perfect, and neither do we.