3 Qualities of a Real Hero

Who are your heroes?


Thomas Carlyle said, “Society is founded on hero worship.”

When I was young I admired people who had qualities I wanted but didn’t possess. One person I knew was able to get along with everyone. His presence would light up a room with smiles and laughter. Even the teachers thought he was funny and lovable. I can’t remember a time when he ever got into a fight, got suspended from school, became unpopular, or even had a bad day.

At least that is how it looked from the outside.

Since we yearn for heroes to admire, we romanticize them into figures that have no discernible flaws. We worship them because they seem to be everything we aspire to be but struggle to achieve.

How should we define a hero?

Here’s what one dictionary says. A hero is someone who shows extreme courage, especially in situations where he acts in desperation as a last resort.

So heroes possess 3 qualities: courage, desperation, and nobility.

Do the heroes the media promotes have all these qualities?

If you type “bad and famous” into the Google search bar, you won’t have to search for long before Lindsey Lohan appears. She has exhibited courage because she has gone after what she wanted in work and in life. Her movie career shows that she has considerable acting talent.

Her private life has painted quite a different picture. She seems to be a magnet for trouble. Even a forgiving justice system has run out of patience with her. While she has shown wisdom in making good career decisions, she has proven to be utterly incapable of managing her personal life.

Lindsey may have the courage to follow her dreams and the drive that comes from desperation, but she lacks the nobility that comes from living a balanced life.

There’s another truth. Heroes are human like you and I are. They have failures, disappoint people close to them, and don’t always win. What we remember is their courage in the face of incredible odds, their desperation to triumph in those times, and the selfless nobility they display as they move through storms.

You will have heroes. Make sure they have these qualities in as many areas of life as possible. If they do, you’ll have someone worth emulating.

If not, you’ll have a recipe for ruin.

You take it to heart.