There are words that are thrown around with careless abandon that are meant to denote greatness. Such words meant a great deal once upon a time, when the ideals they upheld were still worthy of being recognized. However in the modern era the term “hero” has changed quite drastically as the flair for the dramatic it once inspired has calmed and in some ways become quite trivial. To be a hero is to sacrifice without thought of one’s self without hope of recognition.

There are several qualities that make up a hero, and no one person needs to exemplify them all to qualify.  Being a hero does not mean saving the world, nor does it mean seeking the glory that many are willing to heap upon the shoulders of those they idolize. Heroism is at its most basic roots an ideal that is far simpler than many realize. According to Philip Zimbardo (2011) it is the act of sacrificing one’s time, energy, and in some cases far more to insure that another will benefit in some way from this selfless act. To be a hero is to be kind, brave, and unyielding in one’s pursuit of life. It is an ideal that many do not seek yet fulfill without ever trying. In short, being a hero is accomplished simply by one person being the person they are meant to become.

Heroes are often depicted in the mainstream media as super-powered individuals that

work towards the greater good in some manner with a flashy costume and extraordinary abilities.

In real life however heroes are those that have few if any truly noticeable quirks, and are largely

unknown by the world save for those that depend upon them the most. From random acts of

kindness to routine habits that ease the life of another individual, heroes are those people that are willing to do what must be done in order to make the lives of others worth living and even enjoyable. There is often no recognition for the greatest heroes alive, and such individuals do not seek accolades.  To be a hero is to understand your place in the world and do what is necessary to continue forward. Those that stand out as heroes are often those that desire little more than a reasonably comfortable and quiet life spent with loved ones and their own peace of mind. As it was mentioned by George C. Scott in the film “Angus” (1995), Superman is indestructible, but he’s not brave. Real heroes realize that they have limits, and are braver because of them.

A hero is not someone that looks to plaster their face over the news speaking of their accomplishments and how God helped them get this far. As Steve Hartman (2009) has alluded to, heroes might get interviewed once and deem this good enough if they have done what is necessary. Heroes do not seek the spotlight or the fame that comes with being noticed. They will often accept the thanks given and continue to move on with their lives, never once claiming the title of hero despite the bold claims of others. The true heroes rarely, if ever, consider themselves to be even a little bit heroic.

Heroic acts can be anything from a cancer patient simply waking up to face another day

to a parent willingly sacrificing their health and well-being in order to see their children succeed.

There is no one set definition of heroism.  In the act of being kind, humble, and selfless many

people engage in heroism without ever knowing or recognizing how others view their efforts. To

be a hero is something that far too many people equate with grand, publicly-noted acts that fill

headlines and create inspiring newscasts. The greatest heroes that have ever been or will ever be are those that seek to make the lives of those around them better, for they are truly heroic.

Works Cited

Angus. Directed by Patrick Read Johnson, performances by Charlie Talbert, George C. Scott,

Kathy Bates, Chris Owen, and Ariana Richards. New Line Cinema, 1995.

Hartman, Steve. “The Real Meaning Of The Word “Hero””. CBS News., Accessed 1 May


Zimbardo, Philip. “What Makes a Hero?” Greater Good., Accessed 1 May 2017.

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