Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Courage and Heroism

"And each man stands with his face in the light. Of his own drawn sword, ready to do what a hero can." -Elizabeth Barrett Browning

There was a recent article in the Wall Street Journal regarding everyday heroes and what it takes to be one. The article is titled Are You a Hero or a Bystander? and it examines what type of person is likely to step up or freeze in a crisis. The story cites research from the University of Winnipeg in 2010 and others which identify the prime traits of both courage and heroism.

What I find amazing is that so many people never realize these traits until put to the test. If you were to have asked those people did they ever think they had it in them, most would probably say no. Many would indicate that they were surprised to know it was inside of them.

There are stories such as Laurie Ann Eldridge, seeing from her garden in Cameron, N.Y. an obviously confused 81-year-old driver stuck at a railroad crossing. A train was speeding toward the car when Ms. Eldridge ran barefooted to the car. She pulled the disoriented woman out, rolling down the railway embankment only seconds before the train demolished the car.

Ms. Eldridge's feet were bloody and riddled with splinters and the elderly woman was unhurt. But did she know it was inside her to act so courageously? Unlikely, but that didn't matter, she acted and that is what did matter.

Each of us have some level of heroism and courage inside of us. The charts you see are a way that researchers say you can determine what level that is. What I don't think it gauges is the "moment" of need in which that inner thing surfaces. A time when you least expect it.

It will be in those "moments" that you realize it exists inside of you. You will respond by acting in that moment. It will seem natural and right when you do it. time will slow down and everything will happen with clarity. Only afterwards, when others are asking and saying it was heroic, that you will realize what you just did.

There are very few of us, if any, that walk outside each day and tell ourselves we will be doing something heroic. We walk outside and go about our life. There is no expectation that we will be called upon to do something heroic.

What we do expect of ourselves is that we care for our fellow man and woman. We have compassion for others that are in need. That is what lies at the surface of our lives. So when the "moment" occurs, that compassion on the surface will drag the inner courage and heroism out into the open.

Be prepared to use your courage in a heroic act. You never know when it will come to the surface. And stay inspired my friends.

No comments: