Your Choice Of Heroes

The people you choose to be your heroes say a lot about who you are. Maybe it’s not a choice at all. Your heroes may be your heroes because of who you are. Perhaps the heroes you were exposed to as a child helped shape who you are today and thus your new choices of heroes. You and your heroes are strongly connected.

Telling someone who your heroes are is a very personal act. The names of your heroes can sum up who you are more quickly than an hour of conversation.

Clear your mind for a minute and give your first reaction to the type of person who has the following as their hero.

Che Guevara

Nelson Mandela

Rosa Parks


Margaret Thatcher

King Arthur

Next time you’re getting to know someone, ask them who their hero is and get right to the heart of who they are.

4 Responses to Your Choice Of Heroes

  1. Charles Leibrand October 31, 2006 at 11:04 am #

    Perception defines reality, that’s an old mantra of mine. I have been repeating it for years. Quite simply I think that our perception of facts, events or even people alters how we view the “truth” of that thing. Two individuals with radically different perceptions can view the same event with radically different “truths”. Consequently the same would hold true for our hero’s.
    Our perceptions are created by the values that we hold. We create the value set that defines our judgments and actions from many different sources, but primarily I would say that those values stem from our cultural and social influences as well as our experiences. Therefore an individual from a rural province in China may view Che Guevara quite differently as opposed to someone from Grosse Pointe. How then do we establish the “truth’ of our hero canidates? Is it possible to come up with a universal set of criteria that would cross cultural and social bondries?
    Let me give you an example of preceptions and see how you feel about it. A few months ago in well known city a soldier was walking back to his guard post from a local barber. Along the way a young man starts acusing him of not paying his bill. It likely that this man was sent by a group opossed the soldiers pressence. The soldier had in fact payed his bill so he ignores this young man. A crowed starts form at his guard post. They taunt a jeer at him. The crowd starts to throw rocks and other objects. The soldier strikes the man who had stated taunting him. He then calls the local garrison for reinforcments. Seven soldiers from the garrison arive with wepons drawn. The crowd has become a mob. One of the seven is hit by an object and falls to the ground. As he does he fires his rifle into the air and yells “fire”. All but one of the other soldiers from the garrison discharge there wepons into the mob. Three civilians die instantly, one the next day. Six more are injured. How do you feel about what happened? Are there any hero’s? Who are the “good” guys? Who are the “bad” guys?
    Actualy I got a couple of the details mixed up. Let me set a few things straight. The soldier was Britsh. The man tuanting his was American. He was probaly sent by the “Son’s of Liberty”. The reinforcements were British. The casualties were American. The event took place in Boston, Massachusets on March 5, 1770. Do your answers to the above questions change? How do your preceptions alter how you view this event?
    All people have biases and prejudices. An individual needs to learn to recognize and separate from these biases in order to evaluate situations objectively. We must be aware that the individuals we hold as heroes might not be seen that way by others. Conversely their heroes might not seem all that heroic to us. So how does one establish the “truth” of heroism? How does one break the chains that bind us to the rock of our perception? I think that simply being aware of those perceptions and admitting them to ourselves is a big first step. That acceptance of our own flaws may well be the first step in our own heroic journey.
    So with that in mind here is my answer to Matt’s question:

    Che Guevara – Socialist, radical, college student
    Nelson Mandela – minority, civil rights activist
    Rosa Parks – minority, civil rights activist, woman
    Spiderman – child, young male WASP
    Margaret Thatcher – republican, upper class
    King Arthur – historian, day dreamer
    The issue here is how my perceptions affect how I view this list. Do I consider these individuals heroic and is that “true”. At first glance I would say no to Che Guevara, but what do I really know about him? I will have to remove the “lens” of my perceptions through which I view the world and put my self I the other persons shoes. Take some time to learn about him from that view point. I might not change my mind but I will gain a better understanding of the other person view point. In its own way that is heroic.


    I’m having difficulties with my spell checker so I apologize for any errors.

  2. Matt Langdon October 31, 2006 at 11:16 am #

    Your timing is impeccable Chuck. I’ve been writing short bios of heroes for my Gallery of Heroes and have found I’m having to remove my bias. I’ve written about some people that I consider heroes and others that have come from various lists that I wonder if they really are heroes. The best I can do is ensure that enough people consider this person a hero and write objectively. Attempt to write objectively.

    Plenty of people consider Che Guevara a hero and plenty consider him a terrorist. He goes in my gallery because enough people consider him a hero. The fact that he lived in the past helps the objectivity. I’ve already wondered what I will do if someone suggests George W. Bush or Osama Bin Laden as heroes for the gallery.

    So, I think we need agree that the will always be disagreement about who is considered a hero and that only strengthens the conversation – allowing more heroes and heroic attributes to come to light.

  3. Althoff November 2, 2006 at 1:11 pm #

    I feel that Che Guevara is an excellent example of a hero. He sacrificed a world that he was familiar with to fight for those who were in desperate need of help.

    Although Che became Fidel’s “right-hand man” in the rise of communism, he fought for something he felt needed change and that is a highly respectable action in my opinion. It doesn’t matter whether people believe what you’re doing is right or wrong, as long as you know inside that it’s right, and Che did.

    A hero is merely a person who holds their own values and convictions highly and takes proper actions to initiate change. People don’t decide to become heroes so they will look good in the eyes of someone else and if they do, they’re not a hero. People become heroes by holding true to their values and beliefs and making sure that they’re never separated from them.

  4. Matt Langdon November 2, 2006 at 5:50 pm #

    Those values the hero holds matter greatly. To be a hero, you need to have the values of the society that is labeling you. If you’re wiping out Jews because that’s what you believe in, it doesn’t make you a hero in the world.

    I knew the mention of Che would get you commenting Michael.