All heros are leaders. Some leaders can be heros. Superman is one of my heroes. Not because of his super powers – but in spite of it. Think about it – if you had that kind of power – would you worry about right and wrong – all the time. Or would you allow yourself some poetic license? Superman could steal anything he wants.
He could kidnap anyone he wants. He could harm or threaten any one he wants. He has the power to do these things – but he chooses not to.
Superman is super not because of his powers – but in spite of them. Superman’s choices are from inside him. Then he uses his powers to carry out his internal decisions. He has lost his powers, had his powers corrupted by others – yet his decisions are always consistent. The only difference is in how he carries out his decisions.
Kryptonite is a constant threat to Superman’s life. Yet he continues to expose himself to the possibilities of that attack. He continues to do what is right. He continues to use the powers he has to do the best he can.
Heroes are not defined by their powers – but by their will to carry out their values – in spite of the odds. Heroes are defined by their choices. And maybe by the pain they are willing to endure to get to where they need to be.
It has been said that good intentions are not enough. True. The actions to carry out those good intentions is what counts. And sometimes those actions fail. That person is still a hero – if they did the best they could under the circumstances.
And maybe that is the essence of a hero – doing the best you can.
Yes – I know – Superman is not real. He is a comic book character. But we can learn from fiction as much as we learn from reality. And often it is easier for us to identify with fictional characters. And you and I cannot be perfect like Superman – but we can learn and be inspired by his example.
Imagine if more often you did the best you could. No excuses. No limits. Just do the best you can. That might cause you some pain or risk – but that is the price for doing the best you can. Heroes are all around us. Many of us are heroes in waiting.
By Chris Swain