What is the difference between a mediocre and heroic life?
Mediocre lives are lived by just surviving each day, by going through the paces without much feeling. Ask the average person what their dominant emotion is, and you will often hear “numb.”
Is that an emotion? Not in the traditional sense; however, this is a very common feeling that many people have. Upon closer examination, you will find that “numbness” is more of a coping skill than an emotion. “Numbing out” is a way to deal with stress, pain, and fear of leading a mediocre life.
The problem with “numbness” is that it also disconnects you from “joy” in life. Weeks, months, and even years can pass before a person is aware that they are living a “numbed out” life.
“What our deepest self craves is not mere enjoyment, but some supreme purpose that will enlist all our powers and will give unity and direction to our life. We can never know that profoundest joy without a conviction that our life is significant – not a meaningless episode.”–Henry Golding
Heroic lives are ones of passion, risk, and adventure.
Are you alive?
Everyone will die, but not everyone will live. So how can you deal with your challenges in such away that you are fully alive and not dead inside? Below are some simple ideas to help you start living a heroic life starting right now!
The Hero’s Four Step Journey
- The Hero is faced with a challenge.
- The Hero chooses to go into the unknown and leave the security he/she is currently in.
- The Hero faces the challenge head on. He/she still feels fear, but chooses to act anyway.
- The Hero overcomes the challenge and comes back to where he/she started– renewed, completely transformed, fully alive inside … often better because of the experience.
Let’s look at a real-life example from my friend Mike. After 20 years as a highly successful education specialist at the state level, Mike was placed under an extremely toxic boss. Her operating style was to target one employee at a time and make his/her life so miserable that they would quit of their own volition. When Mike became her target, life was almost overwhelmingly miserable and crushing. He dreaded going to work. Giving up and quitting would have been so easy. However, Mike didn’t want this boss to control the direction and outcomes of his life.
Instead, he determined to treat this person with kindness and respect. He carefully documented every negative interaction and unfounded claim (85 pages in total over the course of a year). He looked for what was true in the situation and made appropriate changes in that which he could control and rightfully owned.
At the performance review where she told Mike that she was thinking of terminating him, Mike calmly said, “I genuinely love you as a person, but I will not allow you to bully me. I have 85 pages of documentation I intend to take to the press. I will not down quietly.”
He then took the documentation to the director over the division, explained the circumstances and asked to be reassigned. Within a few weeks, the change was made. Mike is currently in the position he loves and with a boss who seeks to liberate and support staff.
When the toxic boss retired, Mike gave her a hug and was able to say good-bye with genuine affection, his head held high, and a big internal sigh that the toxic boss’ influence in the agency was over.
Mike could have rolled over and played dead. Instead, he became a hero to himself, to his family, and to co-workers as well.
How You Become a Hero
- Identify a challenge that you want to resolve or overcome.
- Identify the thought/thoughts that are keeping you from acting. Own your part in the challenge.
- Replace the “inaction” or “numbing” thought/thoughts with thoughts that convey capability and action. Courageously face the challenge head on regardless how uncomfortable or scary it may be.
- Allow the challenge to transform you — propelling you to becoming your best self.
Share your experience choosing to be a hero. I would love to hear.