More thoughts on what we learn from the “hero” stories

More thoughts on what we learn from the “hero” stories

As I related in the previous post, we can fill volumes with the lessons from the people on CNN Heroes. Last time, I highlighted the following issues:

  • Leading by autobiography
  • Leadership and charisma
  • Learning from life’s events

To these I would like to add:

Finding your true purpose and your passion gives meaning to life: Each of our heroes says that they would not have life any other way. They are happy to be doing what they were meant to do. Jordan Thomas, in particular, says that he would not change anything about his horrible accident, since it gave him something he could not have found without it: a cause in life.

Refusal to surrender to the context: The heroes share a mindset that characterizes true leaders, one where they see the possibilities of a situation, rather than dwell on the limitations. When faced with particularly difficult circumstances, they decide to master the context rather than surrender to it. Each of them could have taken the road of inaction or even defeatism, choosing the role of victim or passive bystander. Instead, they chose to act to effect change.

Leaders and heroes are most often ordinary people: These hero stories are inspirational because the protagonists are people who look much like us. They give us examples that we can follow…examples that remind us that leadership is accessible to anyone willing to take a stand. Their journeys should cause us to stop and reflect about the leadership opportunities (large or small) in our own lives.

In essence, each of their stories is a lesson in how leadership happens. With all due respect to our heroes, they do not seem to have any extraordinary talent or ‘gifts’. Their journeys remind us that leadership or heroism begin not with gifted or remarkable individuals, but with ordinary human beings who decide to take a stand.

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