Can I Be a Hero?

KB's Journey, Living & Giving
This is the first in a series addressing the seven tips towards living a more altruistic life that I shared in this post.

1. Teach yourself to have a hero mentality.

“Hmm…” That was my first thought when I read this tip. In my mind, heroes are usually these extraordinary people (with or without super powers) who are absolutely AMAZING. I mean, everyone wants to be like them. However, it is this mentality that Dr. Phillip Zimbardo of Stanford wants to change. Through his Heroic Imagination Project, he wants to show the world that heroes are ordinary people who do extraordinary things.

I couldn’t agree more. When I think about the people in my life who have made an impact, there really aren’t too many celebrities or high-profile folks on the list. I look up to military members, first responders, nurses, and people in my community. Do they have a “S” on their chest? Maybe. Maybe not. But, they have selflessness in their heart and the best interests of people on their minds. That’s something that I can get behind.

According to Dr. Zimbardo, one of the keys to adopting this mentality is to study the behavior of people like Dr. King as well as identify things that we do that can get in the way. One of my hero-limiting behaviors is probably the reluctancy to want to be a “hero in the spotlight.” If you look at the group of folks that I listed earlier, they are all behind-the-scenes but I consider them heroes.

So, next year I’m going to work on being more comfortable with being a visible change-maker…a visible leader. People like Dr. King didn’t do what they did for any personal shine but they also didn’t back down away from the visible role and presence that such a commitment required. What would history be like if Dr. King said, “Nah, I’ll organize from Georgia. Can you find someone else to give the speech on the National Mall?”

Challenge: Learn more about my heroes and identify traits in them that I want to execute in my life.


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