A hero (from the Latin and Greek "Heros", demi-god ), according to
the dictionary, is someone who is "endowed with great courage and
strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods"
In medieval times, being a hero would mean freeing the princess from
the dragon's cave and similar adventurous tasks (when adventure still
These days, a heroic task naturally needs to be of a different kind.
We can find heroes in dangerous situations, where average man and
woman tackle larger-than-life obstacles. Saving someone from a blazing
fire; working in the humanitarian field in a poor country; standing up
for other people and voicing unpopular opinions; caring for those in
All these good deeds could be described as selfless. That also means,
a hero will not self-promote. Instead, the label "hero" is given by
the crowd, the bystanders and onlookers, the media (newspapers, radio,
TV, World Wide Web). The hero however is humble and humbled,
embarrassed even; expressing gratitude in modest ways, being the
perfect example of understatement.
Then we have the virtual heroes; characters of adoration created by
the ever-serving entertainment industry. Leading examples of
perfection. Kids grow up, and they look up to a hero, and thus grow
even faster. They try to find character traits in themselves that make
them more like their hero. They will achieve more trying to copy their
hero's behaviors, style, dress-code, manners, language and doings.
Just take James Bond. A perfect example of a hero. A gentleman, always
sure of himself, slightly cocky at times but always cool. Never shy in
choosing the next action; never afraid; he's doing the right thing; or
if not, he's at least trying to, in good faith. He's following rules
(with a license to kill), but stays his own man. Following his codex
he plays by the rules of his opponents, and will almost always make
sure the showdown is as dramatic as possible (especially not trying to
shoot anyone in the back, or using massive explosives). We tend to
Or Lara Croft. A hero (or heroine ) by all means. It won't get more
virtual than this, since she renders herself in the realms of computer
video games. Action is the key. What would a hero be without a
struggle, an opponent, an evil to defeat? The hero would be out of
job; restless, seeking, trying to find the obstacle. A hero will not
be satisfied, and if necessary, goes through endless sequels (in this
instance, the neverending "Tomb Raider" saga). A hero has to play the
leading role in this quest. The center of attention for as long as
there is danger (and not by coincidence there will be ongoing danger
for as long as the recipient's attention-span is expected to last).
When the world is safe again, we can see the hero fade to black, until
Or all the characters Arnold Schwarzenegger (celebrity status always
helps), of Austrian origins, impersonates on the big screen. When he
flexes his muscles he's terminating, recalling, barbaric, damaging,
erasing, truly one of the last action heroes.
He doesn't say much , but what he says is important (often, of
deadly importance, at least to all the crooks in the world); he
doesn't say much (heroes are doers, not talkers), but he says it the
right way; and he knows when to say it.
\Calvin Coolidge, thirtieth President of the USA reminds us that
"heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion". This is of
crucial importance: being there at the right moment in time, doing the
right thing, supressing eventual feelings of doubt, and successfully
resisting the temptation of idle babble afterwards. No, let the crowd
decide. They honor heroes, because they need them. It's what makes us
feel proud about humanity, being humans, and achieving goals. It's
also letting us feel safe. If there's still heroes around, nothing bad
should ever happen to us.
And then, there's a recent wave of "super" heroism: this is the
concept taken to the extreme limit and beyond. Batman, Superman, Hulk,
X-Men, Spider-Man, Daredevil et al. They are brilliant and athletic
people, a mutation of normality; struggling through their identity
crisis while wearing flashy costumes. They are empowered with weird
instincts & talents, but always manage to stay modest. Never once
forgetting what it takes to save the day (and make the popcorn-crowd
cheer in cinematic ecstasy).
Campbell in his book The Hero With A Thousand Faces adds, "the hero
ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of
supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a
decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious
adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man." 
But what can we learn from this sort of heroism in everyday life ?
How often do we have to help the cat down the tree (wondering how it
managed to get up there in the first place), or the bird from the
water drain (or that same cat!) -- or take home the lonely stray dog
with the injured paw? Well. Not that often.
But being truthful to yourself, independent of what others might think
or say (in front of you or more often, behind you), that is also
heroism. Voicing unpopular opinions. It's small, it won't bring you
into newspapers, and you might even create some new enemies.
But that's what it's all about, being a brave individual without
caring wether or not the spotlight's on. It's the student speaking up
for someone else in class. And it's also about modesty and manners.
Getting up for the old lady in the bus, even when your legs fell
It's making breakfast for your parents, or preparing lunch for your
kids, or cooking for your spouse; giving a smile to everyone after a
hard day of work; being friendly, a true gentleman (or gentlewoman),
socializing, offering your helping hand to strangers -- day in and
out, without the slightest chance of ending up as even a footnote in
future history books.
This is truly selfless. And as such, truly heroic.
"In our world of big names, curiously, our true heroes tend to be
anonymous. In this life of illusion and quasi-illusion, the person of
solid virtues who can be admired for something more substantial than
his well-knownness often proves to be the unsung hero: the teacher,
the nurse, the mother, the honest cop, the hard worker at lonely,
underpaid, unglamorous, unpublicized jobs."
-- Daniel J. Boorstin (1914-, American Historian)
Or, as Doug Horton put it: "Be your own hero, it's cheaper than a
I hope this helps.
"my hero is"
success quotation library
 Online Etymology Dictionary ("He" to "Hif")
 Dictionary entry for "Hero"
 Some would use the term "heroine" for a female hero, but "hero" is
mostly accepted as a gender-neutral term in modern English.
 Conan the Barbarian
"Although Conan and Valeria are shown together frequently throughout
the movie, he only speaks five words to her in the entire film -- and
they're all in the first thirty seconds after they meet: "You're not a
guard", and "No"."
 Heroism Is In The Super-Vision Of The Beholder (By Mark Bittmann)
 What people online have to say on the subject:
"My hero is my dad because he is special to me. ... I love my dad!!!"
"My hero is my friend because she always cheers me up when I am sad
and whenever I see her she always gives me hugs"
"My hero is my cousin because she saved me from falling into the deep
side of the pool when I couldn't swim. Also my hero is my grandpa
because he is a policeman. [My] hero is myself because I am very
brave. My hero is my older cousin because she saved me from falling
down the stairs."
"My hero is a referee because he was calling the right calls on All
"My heroes are my cousins because they love me and teach me things. My
hero is my Dad because he helps me with my home work. My Mom is my
hero too because she helps me read and write."
"My hero is my grandpa because he was in the Navy and he was saving
his partners. He was in a war."
"My hero is my mom. A lot of people have heroes that are great
basketball players or moviestars, but my hero is my very own mom"
"My Hero is Jesus Christ the Lord."
"My hero is out there every day, trying to make life a little easier
for a group of men who suffer from a tragic illness."
"My hero is my Mom because she gave me birth"
"My hero is a policeman because police rescue us"