Heroes don’t exist merely in pages of comic books. What traits are shared by the superheroes of our time?
Think about those you idolize – your parents, a musician, a teacher. What qualifies their heroic status? Does the notion of the superhero exist only in movies? Could it apply to our everyday life?
When an elderly lady is robbed on a backstreet in New York, who stops the thief? The aid comes in the form of an average Joe – not a man in a mask.
Let’s call this man Max.
Max had just clocked out form a grueling workday. Looking forward to a hearty meal, he takes his route home quickly. Along his path he notices a commotion between an elderly lady and a thief. With clenched fists and a healthy dose of courage, Max runs towards the problem. The thief yanks the purse from the owner’s hands. Thrilled with his success, he jets off towards the nearest alley.
Swallowing his fear, Max sets out after the thief. After taking a few punches to the face, he makes off with the purse. Racing back to the owner, he hands back the bag. She graciously thanks him, pats his shoulder, and comments on his valor. Then she heads home, able to pay her electric bill because Max had reclaimed her purse.
Let’s talk about Max.
What are his traits? What qualities does he exhibit?
On the outside he appears an average citizen. Standard height and build. Works as a paper pusher at the local telephone company. Goes home each night to a family of four and a loving partner. But what of his promise as human being? What crafts him into the man capable of acting against a common thief?
The average hero exhibits many worthy qualities. Some of the most common are as follows:
These qualities attract us to our heroes. It is the strength of a person that immediately sets them apart. It is their courage that makes them stand out in a dense populace.
But what else crafts the superheroes we idolize?
1. Passion: A Zest for Life
Heroes – even the most invisible – are passionate about life and all it entails. They are appreciative of all that is good and right with this world.
Max went after that thief not because he knew he could beat him. He didn’t do it because he felt himself more powerful.
He did it because of his passion for life.
He had enough love for his own life that depriving another of that feeling felt like a disservice. Not only to the purse owner’s life, but for the world. For passion is contagious. The more it is spread, the more it sticks. And a true hero exhibits a passion unworthy of decimation. It is a zest undeserving of ridicule or disregard.
Why? Because it is powerful enough to move the world.
A superhero is passionate towards all that is life. Because he knows the world is made greater by that which inhabits it.
2. Selfless Ambition
Heroes are never in it for themselves.
Consider your greatest idol. The person that has stuck with you the longest. The figure who has somehow embedded his – or her – soul into your life through heroic actions. How selfless are they?
This person has likely achieved something most deem impossible – selfless ambition. A trait shared by more folks than you realize.
Single parents raising a family after the passing of a spouse. A love that sacrifices daily to help their children gain a better education. Teachers who work long hours to teach the populace of this ever-changing world. Folks who reach fulfillment through a career not chosen for money, but for change. To help our children craft a better tomorrow.
People who inspire through selfless actions. Folks who organize fundraisers to help a local family rebuild after a devastating house fire. Parents who sacrifice their passion to help their children succeed.
The most heroic are often the most selfless. And your most idolized hero is more gallant than you realize.
The truth, if ignored, can cost lives.
A truth lost to time or ignorance will do more harm than good.
Honesty is a valuable trait – a quality shared by the most inspiring heroes. The good Samaritans we see picking up after the dishonesty of others. Those who share lost information with those who need to hear it most.
Perhaps your friend’s home was recently foreclosed on. A worthy hero will stand tall, relaying the situation to their family with truth and vigor. Because failures, catastrophes, tragedies – they are common. But lying about them merely strengthens the villains.
And so, the most common, inspiring heroes will encourage honesty over self-preservation. They will inspire truth over the simplicity of a lie. Not because they deem themselves better, but because they view honesty an admirable trait. One that defines a hero from a person seemingly unworthy of the term.
Thus, the heroes of your life – be it your mother, teacher, or a gifted writer – will be honest. Regardless of the situation or the lies sprouted by another. They will take life by the hands and shake it with the truth.
Because in the end, our lives aren’t merely stories, but bits of honesty shared by the heroes of our time.
A True Hero is Worthy of Your Belief
The superheroes that grace our streets are like us.
They are not masked. They don’t sprout catch phrases, swinging from buildings to save babies from the top floor of high-rise buildings – not commonly, anyway. Although, if you know of anyone who does this, give them my regards!
No, the heroes of our time are average folks like Max. People who exhibit shared, inspirational traits. Qualities that set them apart. And they are worthy of this title not because they sought it for personal gain. Not because they tried to claim it because they deemed themselves worthy.
They received this title unbeknownst to their own souls. Because their nature is too good to realize their own worth. They are too self-sacrificing to reach for such an ambition. Too passionate to succumb to a world lost to self-deprivation.
Heroes are too honest to rely on lies to reach an endgame with life-altering consequences.
Your idols have retained this title because of their nature. Due to their ability to remain honest, passionate, and selfless in a world craving the opposite.
We may deem the superheroes of graphic novels, comic books, television shows, and movies remarkably thrilling. Perhaps the feats achieved by Superman are worthy of a cheer. Batman’s antics against the villains of Gotham may be enticing and idolized.
But fantasies are only as strong as we make them. The superheroes of our time are just as thrilling as those gracing the pages of our beloved comics.