I’ve been asked what to do when someone you considered a hero does something you can’t forgive. What happens when someone who has inspired you becomes someone you can’t trust any more?
This is happening more and more as the world becomes smaller. The more information that is available, the more likely we are to see something about our hero that would let us down. Andrew Carnegie was a hero to many, but his treatment of union workers would disqualify him from some people’s Round Table. Marion Jones was a hero to many girls wanting to be sports stars, but she lied about taking performance enhancers and fell from grace. Some people made her their hero because she finally told the truth.
It’s a great learning experience. I urge people to learn from their heroes and when the hero falls, it’s one of the best opportunities to learn – and the last. It’s as simple as saying, “Now I know what not to do.”
In more detail though, it is a chance to observe the situations in which people make bad choices. What were the factors that led to their change in behaviour? What else can you learn about the event? Is it as you thought it was, or are there other concealed matters that you haven’t taken into consideration? This is especially important if your hero and their fall are covered by the press.
The other thing to consider is what does it say about you? Was this person a hero for you ten years ago and you’ve changed? Have your expectations of your heroes changed? Have your needs changed? If you read the Hero Interviews on this site, you can see some differences in the types of heroes people had as children and the people they consider heroic now. While these change are over a long period of time, the idea is the same. If someone was your hero in high school and you’re in college now, what priorities have changed?
Who did you used to consider a hero, but don’t now? Why?