Heroes are everywhere these days—you can hardly swing a stick without getting it caught in somebody’s cape. From the big screen comic book crime fighters that gross millions in the box office alone to the logos emblazoned on every imaginable piece of merchandise being hocked by the big boxes, we are clearly obsessed. So how exactly does one go about becoming a hero?
Take away the capes and tights. Take away the trumpet swells and strident drums. Take away all the Hollywood details, and you’ll see that heroism is truly a matter of the success demonstrated by accomplishing goals. Really, it doesn’t even matter what your goals are, as long as you say, “I’m going to do something,” and then you do it. Achievement is what is attractive, not the actual spoils. Why? Because it happens so rarely. New Year’s resolutions are the perfect example of this lack of follow-through, with their 88% failure rate. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Who followed through? Next to nobody. But some folks are made of stronger stuff than those other folks who gave up, gave out, walked away, slinked off to a dark corner with their tail between their legs. What do they do that’s different?
- Achieve. Achievement is, at its core, a one-step process. Once you know what you want to achieve, figure out how to do it. DO NOT QUIT! That’s it. True, you’ll need to strategize, but your strategy will change constantly. You’ll need to research, but your research will ebb and flow. You’ll need to take risks, but those risks will teach you the lessons you need to progress. And you will need to fail, but your failure will redirect your actions. Nothing—not strategies, research, risks, or failures—can come between you and your achievement. Achievement is only off the table when you quit.
- Stand for something. Have principles and stick to them. Do your best every chance you get. Nobody is perfect, but it’s a whole lot easier to garner the awe and respect due to heroes if you align your actions with your soul and never ever compromise. Living with integrity means that your words match your deeds. Stand tall for your choices so that you do not have to give a shit what anyone thinks—then you do not have to sweat it if someone claims to have some illicit video starring you or proof of the illegitimate child you never knew you had. Everything always comes out in the wash, like the fine upstanding preachers who get busted with hookers or even our ancestral heroes whose shine turns out to be nothing more than gilt when the research is done. If being a hero means nothing to you, then you’re free to live your life however you want. But if you aspire to more, then you have to live true to your own code, whatever that is.
- Help others. Give back in every way possible. Nothing feels better, has a bigger impact on the world, or generates more momentum than genuine good deeds for others. Find a cause that you feel in your heart and be its champion. Give until it hurts a little. Tune your energy to service so that it radiates. Make an impact. Always keep in mind that time is the most valuable commodity in the world—where you spend your time and who you spend it with will be remembered. Don’t believe me? Just go to an old folks’ home or a hospice for a couple of hours. Your net worth means shit compared to where you invest your time. I have a few words of caution for you, though, as you set your sights toward service. Helping others does not mean that you need to sacrifice yourself. Strongly organized efforts solve problems efficiently without any of their members needing to dive on a grenade for the cause. These same efforts use their resources, both human and otherwise, wisely. Steer clear of charities whose CEOs make as much as corporate execs.
- Teach. We all have valuable knowledge to offer to others. You will be able to teach long after you are able to perform. Be as aggressive at learning and experiencing as you can while you are able to perform. When that time has passed, whatever form of teaching you impart will have all the more value.
- Know the difference between your sidekicks and your nemeses. As you establish yourself as a hero, you’ll start to attract attention, but it won’t always be good. Some people will use you for what they can gain from you personally. Often, these same people will carry with them a diminishing effect, dragging you down to their inferior level. Whether they make well-intentioned suggestions that are actually based out of their own fear or jealousy, or whether they undermine your achievements by chalking them up to luck or privilege, or whether they hate on you openly, they can easily destroy everything you have worked for in the blink of an eye. Sadly, these people may be the “friends” you’ve known your whole life or your family members who are too eager to play the “family first” card. Well, fuck that. Blood means little, and friends are a dime a dozen unless they have proven that they come from a place of genuine love and support. Once the crud have been identified and removed, it will be easier to see those who are there to help you, as well as those who can really benefit from your help.
My entire blog is dedicated to those who are dedicated to achievement. I’ve chosen strength training as my focus for two major reasons. One is that the principles for success with strength training are universal and applicable to all aspects of life. The other is that there is no pinnacle to be achieved by following my training philosophy, since you can always be bigger, better, faster, or more. The heroes of the past have left us a legacy of bravery and courage embedded in their stories of achievement and accomplishment. I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to continue the tradition, each one of us leaving the greatest legacy possible. I want to be the hero in my own saga, and, more importantly, I want to do everything I can to inspire anyone in anyway to make their own legacy better. I want everyone to be the hero in their own personal adventure.
Leave any comment, question, or suggestion here on the blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to continue this discussion or pursue my online coaching. I would love to hear from you.
“Write your own story. Be your own hero. Speak your own truth. Live your own dream.”—Raphaella Vaisseau