I recently visited a friend in Puerto Rico who I had only seen once in the past 15 years. We became friends after working together at a small tennis club in north metro Atlanta and after he got married, had a couple of children, and left the Atlanta area, we didn’t see each other as often. In any case, it was wonderful to reconnect, catch up on the past decade and a half, and reminisce about old times.
Justin was always a ‘doer.’ He could easily jump right in with both feet to whatever opportunities were afforded him. He appeared to have no fear of anything. He certainly didn’t fear failure like I did. His confidence came across as being the opposite of fear. But this isn’t necessarily exactly how it works.
In the archetypal hero stories, we often revere the protagonists as extremely brave and impossibly strong warriors battling the evil of their time. In the fourth Die Hard movie, when the hacker is unwillingly forced into the service of the unlikley hero, he asks “..why are you doing this?” And John Mcclane replies with “..because there’s nobody else to do it right now. If there was somebody else to do it I would let them do it. but there’s not so we’re doing it.”
“And that’s what makes you that guy.” – realizes the young heroic counterpartJustin Long as Matt Farrell
This is a good example of what happens to many of us who don’t realize how heroic we already are. If you have ever seen a parent catch a child mid-fall to keep them from iminent disaster, you have seen what that child pictures as a hero. When Matthew Ferrel says “you’ve saved my life like 10 times in the past 6 hours,” Mcclane just pictures it as ‘just doing his job.’ But this is hero-like to those who are being saved. Imagine how many countless times a parent saves their child’s life or just gives them advice that when applied helps their child in a seemingly innocuous circumstance. This is why children believe their parents to be heroes.
Sometimes we are heroic in our daily lives, again without conscious effort.
Have you ever needed a simple kindness from someone you don’t know just get you out of an emotional funk? Have you ever smiled at someone in the grocery store just because you had the energy to give? How much energy does it take to smile at someone? Sometimes receiving a smile from a stranger can change the course of your life forever.
We all know the idea of tossing a Pebble in a Pond generating what we refer to as a Ripple Effect. In the Terry Goodkind written Sword of Truth book series, the Pebble in the Pond was a book of prophecy referring to the main character who was a considered a person who affected the flow of time in extreme ways and their actions, just like everyone’s actually, caused ripples to spread affecting everything that surrounded them.
If you save a child’s life, that child now has the potential to grow up appreciating their life as well as the hero who saved them. Imagine the good that one person can do with an appreciation for life and a possible desire to ‘pay it forward’ during any opportunity afforded to them in their lifetime. Now imagine the positive encouragement on that life if their hero is known to be a good person. Maybe their hero isn’t so much a life long hero but just a person who happened to do something great in one single moment. Much of our current television and movie content focuses on this concept.
It doesn’t take much to be a hero. In the first Deadpool movie the giant metal guy says
“Four or five moments, that’s all it takes. To be a hero. Everyone thinks it’s a full-time job. Wake up a hero. Brush your teeth a hero. Go to work a hero. Not true. Over a lifetime, there are only 4 or 5 moments that really matter. Moments when you’re offered a choice. To make a sacrifice, conquer a flaw, save a friend… spare an enemy. In these moments, everything else falls away.”Big metal guy in Deadpool
Now, whatever references are in that quote specific to Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds or the franchise aside, the advice is still spot on. Father’s don’t brush their teeth conscious of how many times they are going to be a hero to their children. Mother’s don’t get superhero credits on their resumes because their young children believe them to be the greatest humans alive. Look at how many superheroes are alcoholics, terrible parents, or arguably just complete losers. But when they come up against their 4 or 5 moments, they make their sacrifice (for whatever personal reasons) to conquer a flaw, save a friend… or spare an enemy.
That’s what “makes them that guy.”