Where are the heroes? It’s an honest question. Some say the athletes are heroes. Some say the heroes are dead. I’m here to point out the heroes – and the characteristics which they share.
First, find a way to ignore the critic. Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt said, “It’s not the critic who counts, not the man who point out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.” Ladies and Gentleman, you are that man or woman – in the arena of life. In life, it’s a given that the critic is looking to put you down. The critic with the skill of a sharpshooter -- picks apart your dreams and goals, leaving you lifeless, lonely and lost. It would be naive to simply say ignore the critic without help. An important step would be to surround yourself with positive people, or better yet, get a mentor for support. You are the one that counts. Be true to yourself and get support while chasing your dream.
In my past, the dogged badgering of critics forced me to live for others. I passed on job opportunities, altered my college selection, and did things I thought would make parents happy. Why? Because I was concerned about what other people thought of me. Surprisingly, I soon discovered that the others were not my worst critics. I was. Just like a good hero, I knew I would have to confront my nemesis. Looking in the proverbial mirror, I said ‘Ron knock it off. You are a hero.’ Now, you may want to tell your critic off.
Moving to point number two, heroes are ordinary people willing to work for their dream. Today, you can’t turn on the television or listen to the radio without hearing about quick fix ideas. You can lose a five pounds with no diet or exercise; you can create a online store which requires no work; and my favorite, overcome the fear of public speaking by only reading a book. Right! I’m not against the book idea, but it’s the combination of practice and reading materials. Heroes know ‘something for nothing’ only occurs in the movies.
“Work towards something” is the phrase my hero grandmother would say to encourage me to work for my dream. I can remember a defining moment in high school. My single parent mother was in a cash crisis; this meant prom activities were not in the budget. Plus the girl I planned to ask was taken. Moping around for a week, my grandmother could not take it any more. She let me have. See my grandparents had lost everything during the great depression and fought back. And she was not about to write a check without me doing my part. Her advice to me was to get out there and make it happen.
The final point, heroes keep moving. Experiencing a major failure or setback in your life can be damaging – if you let it. Setbacks are only avoidable if you are dead, and if you’re reading this you’re alive. That’s right. When failure comes your way, you must keep moving and living your life. Look at the heroes you admire, they most likely overcame adversity to achieve greatness.
I remember a time when a setback put me on my back and I stopped moving. The setback was a divorce during my early twenties. My life, I thought, was another statistic. I was embarrassed, and thought I would not live. The story of another helped me to get out this funk.
Let me share the story about a friend of mine. Several years ago he lost a daughter to illness. It was devastating to his family. That was not the only tragedy though; they had also buried another daughter. A softball-size lump forms in my throat when I think of this tragedy. When I asked how they got past this. He said they just kept moving. The pain was still there, however there was plenty of living to do. That’s what I call a hero. Success through failure comes when we keep moving.
Where are all the heroes? The heroes are right where they have been for a lifetime. The heroes are you and other ordinary men and women ignoring the critics, working for their dreams and keepin’ it moving despite failure. Don't sell yourself short - embrace the hero within.