Heroes have always been patterned based on the society they have come from, and the times that they evolved from. So what about now Who are our heroes today?
In the movies we still have the new reflections of older heroes like Superman, Batman, The Avengers. We still have war hero movies like Fury which depict the good, the bad, and the ugly and show that who we call a hero may actually just be a survivor.
Who are some of the modern day heroes? Some are easy to spot.
“Billions in Change” – 5 Hour Energy Drink CEO Manoj Bhargava is a person that is actively changing the lives of others, doing good deeds. This is his mission: “The Billions in Change movement aims to build a better future for people across the world by delivering innovative solutions that addresses issues such as water deprivation, energy sustainability and disease prevention to directly impact humanity.” Manoj is quoted as saying “If you are [rich], it is your duty to help people who are not rich”, he says. “I want to make a difference and not just talking about it.”
He has money and he is using it for the benefit of humankind. That’s a feel good story; a real humanitarian in our time, but would you call him a hero? What about those of us that are living paycheque to paycheque. Who is the patron that we can look to and say “You are my hero!”
It’s pretty hard not to recognize Terry Fox, if you come from Canada. He’s a regular kind of guy you can immediately empathize with. I recall going to see Steve Fonyo, a stand-in for Terry Fox after he got ill, dip his leg into the water at our Mile Zero here in Victoria, BC, Canada, when I was young. That was the finale of the cross Canada “Marathon of Hope“. It was such a successful, beloved experience that we all cherished watching someone devote their life to the cause. That was a while back in 1980 though. Is there someone like that today?
A modern day political scientist I admire is David Suzuki. I grew up watching him on television, and to see him still deliver on environmental topics is great. He has a lot of respect, but is that a hero? There are plenty of people I admire and respect for their devotion to their careers or passions, or both, but would I class them as a hero?
According to Joseph Campbell, a hero ‘gives their life to something bigger, or other, than themselves’. They can achieve something or perform an act worthy of a hero, or they can learn something on the spiritual side of life that they can then teach to others.
Who then has gone somewhere and come back to tell and teach about it? Col.Chris Hadfield comes to mind first. What can I say, he is Canadian, sings, was the first Canadian to walk in space, and continues to wow people wherever he speaks. He is a talented moustachioed man!
If you think going to space is old hat nowadays, I don’t know, I think it’s pretty heroic to get above our atmosphere and live aboard the International Space Station for a time and wander around outside said space station on a tether, do a couple guitar sessions, then return to earth to tell people all about it. You must change as a man. Your perspective must change as an earth-bound human. There is one mind I would be interested in bearing witness to. He is a hero to me.
Heroes change depending on what stage of life we are facing. As a youth Wayne Gretzky was one of my heroes. The oh-so-talented hockey player that simply destroyed any team he played against for so many years, and he was just a province away. There is a reason he was, and is still, called “The Great One”.
When you get older, your heroes change. You look for heroes that are fighting your fight; somebody you can look toward for inspiration. I think when you get to a certain age in life, when the kids are gone, when you get back to living life for you, that you go through the crisis of self.
Who are you? Are you defined by your career? Are you the man or woman who raised your children? Are you the person that sits behind a desk, watches TV when you get home,and enjoys going out for drinks every now and then, maybe a bike ride or stroll on the weekends, maybe does some gaming for distraction here and there. Okay, but who are you?
What are your principles you live by? What do you stand for?
When you get to this age, the heroes that start to mean something to you are the ones that help you through living life and discovering who you are. If you’re lucky, you’ve already figured it out, but if you haven’t yet, you are like the vast majority of people that struggle with this very real quest.
The heroes that come to mind that have inspired me on my journey have been Dr. Wayne Dyer with his ageless wisdom. The type that is genuine, that understands we change as we age. Hopefully we become wiser for it, but we see things differently at different stages of life. He has taught me so many lessons on how to live a fuller more meaningful life.
Eckhart Tolle is a current world philosopher that makes sense out of living with gratitude, and living for the moment, the precious moment of now. When you read his books, or listen as I do with audiobooks, over and over, you can’t help but start to smile at the sun, see your life as precious every moment of every day, and start to wash the worry from your mind.
Both of these people have journeyed into a spiritual realm, learned something, and have taught all of us that have chosen to listen. They are modern day heroes in my books!
A line in a movie has struck a chord with me: “Not all treasure is silver and gold“. This comes from the Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl. It makes you think, what is the treasure you seek in life? What is your goal? What steps have you taken to align your daily life with that goal, that treasure?
Modern day heroes are a great way to find ways to inspire your path to your treasure. Maybe it’s working pout harder, helping the helpless, teaching the children, or finding our who you really are at your core.
Whatever you true path is, I hope you have a few heroes that inspire you each and every day. What hero would you add to this list? Who inspires you the most?