Thank God for the people who rise up and do the things that most of us would hardly dare. They inspire us and call up our inner strength and the wherewithal to do that thing, the thing that makes us more than we would otherwise allow us to consider as within the realm of possibility for ourselves. They are our heroes.
We’ve looked up to people who were more than we thought we could be since we could remember. Likely you looked up to your parents, first, then set your standards higher, inspired by a teacher, someone is a life-saving capacity, authority figure, or other inspirational icon.
Having someone to look up to can help us rise to the occasion as we use their image to inspire us to be more in a moment when we might hardly be able to muster the courage to keep going on.
Setting the bar high, Reformed Calvary Youth Leader, Janie Tinklenberg, coined the phrase, “What Would Jesus Do?” which evolved into a worldwide WWJD campaign, complete with multimillion-dollar merchandising support, which swept through popular culture in the nineties.
When faced with a morally challenging situation, one could ask one’s self, “What would Jesus do?” in a critical moment. You could substitute the icon with any inspirational icon, who might inspire you, asking, “What would Oprah do?” or, “What would Steve Jobs do?” Having someone you look up to who inspires you can help to empower you in those darkest of moments.
We look up to role models who are exceptional individuals active in sports, are actors, visual or performance artists. Others are inspired by public leaders, inventors, scientists, physicians, or those who have given their lives in service to others.
Then there are the artists, composers, musicians, singers, and pop icons, whom we are the fans of, and our inspiration could become excessive or intense, bordering on the edge of extreme idolization.
For the most part, we look up to people who are the kind of people we aspire to become. These people have qualities we admire, such as, compassion, empathy, generosity, humility, tolerance, responsibility, and trustworthiness.
Then there are those who long to acquire the traits of the most powerful personalities who dominate anything and everything in their path, these are the ego-driven psychopaths, sociopaths, and narcissists, who see positive human qualities as weakness.
There is no wrong way, and no right way, to be inspired by anyone, and it’s completely up to you, to decide who inspires you. Some may even choose to reject being inspired by anyone at all.
In any case, as in all relationships, its important to keep your wits about you, even in your admiration of others whom you find as inspirational, remembering that they are people too (with the exception of deities, I suppose).
While you may be able to use your heroes or idols as a source of courage in those challenging situations and circumstances, don’t be discouraged when you discover that they are not much unlike you. And therein is the secret of becoming more than you otherwise might think possible.
This gives us hope. Courage to go on, to be more, to give more, live a better life, and even make the world a better place.