The Pursuit of Excellence Practical steps toward happiness


Act Like Your Heroes

Strong WomanI have vivid memories of a certain day in 2004 because late August gave us stereotypical barbecue weather.  The breeze on my skin was a perfect balance to the scorching sun.  The farmhouse looked so nostalgic against the wide sky.

I’m sure the man who spoke to the crowd has no idea that he changed the course of my life that day.  All he did was speak eloquently and from the heart about acting with integrity, especially when it’s easier not to.  But when he was done, I decided that my future was in politics, and I spent five years working for him. Ontario’s Premier, Dalton McGuinty, remains one of my heroes.

Heroes have been an important influence through my life.

Heroes serve as models for action, and sources of inspiration.

When I’m faced with a tough decision, I look for answers in their experiences.  When I lose my drive, I can turn to their stories to reignite my fire.

I don’t believe in worshipping heroes, no matter how swell they may be.  Straying from admiration into idolatry will stunt the growth of your own identity. But you can live your own life while looking up to others.

Richard Branson founded Virgin Records with one store in 1972, and grew that business into a massive fortune that includes a record label, an airline, and now space travel.

Hillary Clinton texting
Sorry, all my hero worship slots are full

Simply making money doesn’t impress me all that much, but because of the way he did it–with such spectacular courage and integrity–he’s become another one of my heroes.

Noam Chomsky is a third member of my eclectic group of men and women who I look up to.  He is the most credible debater I’ve ever come across.  His arguments are reasoned, rational, and steeped in a fierce humanitarianism.  I admire that.  Not to mention, the man is a walking encyclopedia of current events.

Integrity, courage, humanitarianism: these values were important in my life before my heroes.  But my heroes have helped me better understand why that is.

Aspiring to be more like your heroes is an excellent opportunity for growth.  So act like your heroes.

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