At Oprah’s house in California
The dictionary definition of hero is: A person who is admired for having done something very brave or having achieved something great.
Where would we be without our heroes to inspire us, to motivate us, to help us realise what we can achieve when we follow our passions and marry them with our values and beliefs. A true hero never asks to be put on a pedestal. Their achievements are powered by a deeply imbedded desire to go above and beyond average to carry out something life changing and selfless that has impact on not only themselves but the greater human condition.
There are super heroes and everyday heroes. We can’t all be Oprah, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, or Dr. king. However, it’s my belief that we all have a hero within, but they manifest themselves in many forms. You don’t have to leave your mark on the world to be a hero.
An everyday hero is the parents who dedicate themselves to raising good, happy, morally conscious children with and a zeal for life. A hero is the teacher who inspires her students to value education and intellectual curiosity. A hero is the public servant who puts their life on the line for our well-being. A hero is the musician who creates beautiful melodies that can stir our emotions and imaginations. A hero is the doctors who dedicates themselves to life saving research or the spiritual guide who rekindles our faith and hope. There are so many different kinds of heroes.
You see we all have the hero in us. They come out when your passion for something is so strong that you’re compelled to act for the power of good. Never under-estimate the impact you have on others or the hero in yourself. You don’t have to touch the world to be a hero, just touching one person in a positive way can make any and all of us an everyday hero.
A few of days ago I was teaching a workshop full of smart young men trying to find away to get ahead in life. Ages 19 to 23, many of them are trying to make their way from man-child to grown man. They’re clever enough to know they just don’t want to make money; they want a career, a job that will ignite their passions. They are perplexed by the challenge of how to be practical yet fulfilled in their jobs. They’re struggling with a crisis of confidence.
After attending a prestigious boy’s school some of them have yet to find a permanent place in the working community, others have already been made redundant before they made a mark. Many feel they will never live up to their potential. They came to the workshop looking for answers and hope. While hope is important, it is not a method.
My message was clear. There is something very important that they’ve overlooked. Before they can find the answers to all of their pressing questions, they need to know the answer to what I consider is the most important question:
What makes you happy?
I was sad that some of my boys couldn’t remember the last time they felt pure happiness. Others had to peel back the layers of self imposed and external pressure to find a shining moment of genuine joy. I asked them to anchor themselves in that moment so they don’t forget what it feels like to be happy, because honestly, happiness is fleeting. You want to catch it and savour it when you can. There’s nothing as precious as a hearty laugh or the joy you experience when helping someone in need or perhaps it’s the bliss of the moment you realise you are so happy you can’t imagine being anywhere else.
We can’t expect to find that happiness every day. You have to catch it when you can. But knowing what it feels like will inspire you to seek it out in every facet of your life. When you follow your passion and align it with your values and beliefs, you will find lasting happiness. Now that’s the kind of job you want.