Finding hope and heroes

Warning: this content is older than 365 days. It may be out of date and no longer relevant.

Listen to any of the speeches or talks today by any of our leaders or would-be leaders (political candidates, I’m looking at you) and compare them to Dr. King’s I Have A Dream speech.

Martin Luther King – I Have A Dream Speech – August 28, 1963

Is there any wonder we don’t feel a sense of inspiration or excitement about our leaders, or that we’re amazingly quick to leap at following anyone who offers even the slightest glimmer of inspiration? Look at how many people in social media, for example, form unhealthy attachments in the form of putting people on pedestals. I don’t fault anyone for doing it, given our choices of leaders and role models outside of the social media world. Another place to look is at the self help section of any bookstore. The shelves are positively overflowing with life coaches and mentors offering salvation for under $20.

So how do you find help and hope when the world around you seems to be offering none? Conjure up the heroes you do have and use them instead. One of my favorite examples of this was a trend that’s now a few years old, the “What would Jesus do?” meme. This was a wonderful example because it didn’t focus on who the hero was as much as what the hero would do in any given context.

Take your personal heroes and invoke them when situations call for it. There may be times when you have to be strong. Conjure up in your mind what it would feel like to be Superman, and what Superman would do in the situation you face. There may be times when you have to be clever. Conjure up in your mind what it would be like to have the clever insights of a James Bond. What would 007 do facing the problem that you face? If you believe in a religious tradition, look to it for different heroes that embody the hope and inspiration you need and see if you can bring a little (or a lot) of their magic into your efforts by repeatedly asking yourself what that hero would do.

Take on real heroes of eras gone by as well. Bring the power of inspiration and hope from Dr. King, whose efforts we honor today. Find compassion from Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama. Bring get-it-done resolve from George Patton.

The world may not have an abundance of heroes right now. Fortunately, you can have as many as you want inside your heart and mind. All you have to do is remember to call on them and bring their powers into your life.

Thorough but obvious disclaimer: invoking the feelings and attributes of your favorite superheroes does not mean you will gain their actual powers. If you read this blog post and then leap off a tall building in the belief that you can fly, you’re responsible for the consequences. If you do in fact manage to fly under your own power, please post the video to Youtube.

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