Why I don’t like the word Hero

Hero’s live amongst us. Society hails hero’s as the solution to the world’s problems.

But the real tragedy is that for Hero’s to exist, the rest of us must become indifferent, complacent or in fact quite ordinary.

I don’t like the word hero, because I believe in a better world.

Join me today, so we can start changing the definition of what a Hero should be, so we can start creating that better world.

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Andrew: I look at Tony Robins and what he's doing with his Feeding America program. He's feeding millions of people a year now, if that's not the definition of a hero, what is? If we can start to embrace this, at an individual level... I say to people all the time, "Start with being a hero to yourself." The most heroic thing that a person can do is they can accept themselves for who they truly are.

Good day, and welcome to Illimitable Living. I'm Andrew Hackett and I'm here to talk about living a life free from fear's restrictive boundaries, so that you can not only live a limitless life, but so that you can become truly illimitable. I am here in sunny Australia talking with my remarkable cohost, Patricia Morris as we take you on a journey, delving deep into the mysteries of the universe and how we live within it. Join me on a journey towards living a truly limitless life on the Illimitable Living podcast.

Good day everyone, you're listening to the Illimitable Living podcast and I'm here with the wonderful Patricia Morris. Good day, Patricia, how are you doing this week?

Patricia: I am fantastic, thank you for asking, Andrew. It's so good to be here again and recording with you this week.

Andrew: Yes, it's my favorite time of the week, I must admit, Patricia.

Patricia: It is.

Andrew: Tell me, what did you want to chat about today?

Patricia: Well, this topic kind of came up, and I want to ask you about it, Andrew. You and I were actually talking on one of your Facebook posts the other day and I mentioned how I think it was Viktor Frankl is a hero. It's actually a word that I see tossed around a lot, mostly by the media, and everybody today is a hero according to the media.

Andrew: Sure.

Patricia: Later on, you mentioned in a private conversation with me how you don't like that word, hero and I know it wasn't a dig at me or anything like that and I thought, "I want to talk to him about that." I want to get further insight or a perspective as to what that might be. I have a couple of ideas in my mind, what it might be, but I'm not sure. I wanted to check with you on it, Andrew, why is it that you don't like the word hero? I'm just curious about that.

Andrew: Yes, look, great topic. God, you pick the good ones, don't you? I don't have an issue with heroes, let me clarify before I get started. I don't have an issue with heroes. In fact, the world needs heroes. I personally think we are all heroes in our own life experience. I say to people all the time, "I'm not your hero, I'm just here to help you find the hero within." Look, when we talk about people like first responders, the people that do this sort of stuff for living, I always say, "I'm so glad the police, the firemen and the ambulance people all do what they do." Emergency workers, all of them, because in all honesty with you, it saves me having to put myself in that sort of situation, because they do that because they are the people they are. I couldn't have any more respect, in fact, I have the highest respect for them for doing this.

This is not about diminishing their role or what they do because what they're doing is absolutely essential and the world needs them. The reason why I don't like the word hero is because for the word hero to exist, there also needs to be the majority of us being complacent or indifferent to what's going on around the world. For one person to stand out, the rest of us need to be not doing something, not taking action on something, not helping someone. I think humanity needs, we need our heroes, but what I would love is I would love to see a world where everybody, every day is being a hero in their own special way, that everybody is helping everybody.

If everybody's helping everybody, there's this real energy about it and everything that means that the word hero then doesn't stand out because it's then commonplace. In fact, it's every day, so then what then stands out is more the opposite of the hero, which is of course the villain. I believe that if everyone's been the hero, the odd opportunity where the villain does stick their head up, is going to be fewer and fewer and further between. We have this modern cultural approach to try and create a cartoon or comic book style rivalry between the heroes and the villains. I think we should all celebrate the heroes, I really do, I think that's remarkable, but what I would love to do and what I'm trying to get the world to participate in is an aspect where we're all the hero, even if it's just a hero in our life.

We are the hero in the lives of those around us, friends and family or the hero, better still, in the lives of strangers. Through one small little deed, random acts of kindness, helping someone, saving someone, standing up for someone, not being indifferent, not being complacent. To me, that is the sign of a real hero is the person who works tirelessly every single day, in every moment, to not only change the lives of others, but to courage to others to do the same.

Patricia: Okay, so a question on that, Andrew. When you mentioned complacency, does that mean that you kind of see it as more of people letting the heroes do the work and they can just sit silently by and let them do it? Is that kind of what I'm understanding from what you said?

Andrew: It's a little bit of both. The complacency I see is the people just go, "That issue is that person's problem, not my problem to worry about." They then just ignore it or they move on. It's this whole stepping over the homeless person while you're trying to get out of the supermarket or move your way through the subway or something like that. All it takes is one person to care and to change the life fundamentally of that individual that the rest of us are stepping over. That person who cares is the hero. The hero isn't just someone who is a first responder, a hero isn't just someone who stops someone from being attacked.

A hero is someone who just acts, believes, thinks, is in their very being a person who wants to fulfill and make change in other people's lives for the better, get people out of their down, depressed, sad, lonely experience and get them to realize that they actually really are loved. We see the extreme examples, a couple of months ago there was the example in Sydney, Australia of a particular guy who was obviously in a very rapid downward spiral of mental illness. He grabbed a knife and he actually killed a lady, a sex worker on the street in broad daylight and then he ran through the streets of Sydney threatening others. He stabbed another lady, I believe, and everything.

In itself, not necessarily an uncommon occurrence in today's day and age, knife crime and gun crime in America, it's a problem all over the world, but what came out of that was some individuals, businessmen, I don't know, maybe a tradie, just real people, real everyday people that just walk the streets back and forth from the office and everything like that. A couple of them grab chairs just from local cafes and took off after the person. Another person grabbed a milk crate of all things, one of those plastic sort of boxes that milk is stacked in when it's delivered and stuff like that. They effectively used the chairs, because this guy had a knife, they used the chairs to effectively pin the guy to the ground with them, and then use the milk crate to then effectively hold the guy's head in place.

They literally just sat on top of while they waited for the police to turn up and everything, the police then to arrest him and take him away. Now, to me and to everybody around us that heard the story, they are the epitome of the hero and I honor them and I respect them, and you know what? I hope to God that if I'm ever in that situation, I also have the same level of courage that they did, to tackle that person, because no doubt, it absolutely saved more lives, no question.

The problem though, is then the actual thing of heroicism, the word hero can only exist if it is abnormal. If it is the individual standout, if it is the moment that is different from all the rest. To be quite honest with you, I actually don't want to live in that world. I want to live in a world where heroicism is such an extraordinary daily occurrence in everybody's life, across all countries and identities. The world in itself is such a remarkably beautiful place, and it would be if that was the case. We're always going to need heroes in a first responder sense because emergencies happen, tragic things happen, there's always going to be case, it's part of the human condition, we can't avoid it.

What the selfless act of those individuals with the chairs and the milk crate and the others says, is it sends a really, really clear message that if people want to be terrorists in their own way and no longer is the image of a terrorist, some strange Muslim or Islamic person in my mind. America, I believe is in an absolute grip of white supremacy terrorism and we're seeing that more and more now. We really have to wake up to that, it's in our face and we can't avoid it. I fully respect everybody's right to believe what they want to believe, but the simple fact of the matter is if you and your actions and your beliefs want to harm others, there are consequences to that and you're going to have to get ready to deal with them because times are changing.

Those individuals and what they did, they sent a really clear message that anybody who wants to grab a gun or wants to grab a knife, they don't have to wait and deal with the police anymore, because the people are going to deal with them first, the people immediately around them and stuff. There's all these fabulous memes and I don't want to in any way disrespect the life that was lost, that was a tragedy in every aspect, but what has spurred on is all of these means of photos of police officers instead of just having guns or stun guns on their belts, they then have a milk crate on their belts as well. The idea that then the humble cafe chair then becomes the weapon of choice in Australia to disarm someone. We don't need assault rifles in Australia, we've banned them in Australia and we don't need them at all.

Patricia: Good.

Andrew: To me, that is a good thing, absolutely, so this whole idea of the hero and I want to get it out to the world, I wanted to talk to the world about it, and so I'm so glad that you actually raised it. This idea of the fact that we can all be heroes, we don't have to tackle someone who's trying to commit a violent crime, but we can reach out to someone who's in a moment of need. We can listen to someone who's caught in a domestic violence situation and give them the strength and the support and the courage to stand by them when the time is needed. I do try to do a lot of work with homeless people, in a variety of different ways.

Even if I'm busy, I see someone giving them some money, I'm not going to miss 20 or $50, it's not something that's going to make a difference to me, but to them, it could fundamentally change their day for the better. It could even give them a bed for the night perhaps, and certainly give them some food. Yes, I can definitely do more myself, there's no question about that, and certainly with the way things are going, I'm looking at opening up a few programs in that to help with the rising issue with homelessness, which is a very big issue near and dear to my heart. Being that hero, a hero is not someone who tackles someone in his own right, a hero is everybody out there. Someone who pays for someone's groceries in the line because they think that it'll make a difference.

Buying a strangers dinner, paying for a stranger's dinner when you go to the checkout to pay for your own, just little things like that. Helping people find work, helping people find a home or a place to sleep, feeding people, all this sort of stuff. I look at Tony Robbins and what he's doing with his Feeding America program, he's feeding millions of people a year now. If that's not the definition of a hero, what is? If we can start to embrace this, at an individual level... I say to people all the time, "Start with being a hero to yourself." The most heroic thing that a person can do, is they can accept themselves for who they truly are, find themselves and accept all of their faults and issues and problems and all that sort of stuff and have the courage to stand up and do something about it.

Patricia: Would you say, Andrew, you would like to see more of a redefinition of the word hero. Is that kind of what you're meaning? Because historically the word hero implies something different, like we of talked about, but if we redefine hero meaning basically everyday acts of kindness and compassion and love towards others, is that kind of what you're going towards more, of wanting that to happen?

Andrew: Well, to be fair, I think the appropriate answer to that question is yes, because redefining what a hero is, I think in itself, is the step towards the end point. So yes, I think we need to redefine hero before we can move forward.

Patricia: Yes, absolutely.

Andrew: So that everybody can embrace it and that will then lead to the empowerment of individuals to be a hero in their own way. Not everybody has the desire or capability to overpower a gunman or overpower a knife wielding man or woman, and that's okay. I fully respect that, that's fine. In the same way that in my opinion, emergency nurses, doctors, they're heroes. In the same way firemen are heroes, but they don't necessarily see themselves as heroes. Charity workers, volunteers, people who feed the homeless, all this sort of stuff. They're all heroes to the person that they're helping, even if nobody else sees them as that, in my opinion, it doesn't matter, because if we are all empowered to be our hero in our own way, by first being a hero to ourselves and getting ourselves to a point of being happy and we still love, and we know each other and ourselves well enough to be able to then offer ourselves to others, to me, that's the turning point. That's when momentum shifts in the world.

Patricia: Something was coming to mind when you were saying that, at least for me, anyway. I tend to, at least in the past I did, I don't do this anymore, but as a child, a lot of children are raised with whatever a hero icon that might be.

Andrew: Sure.

Patricia: They grew up thinking, "That person is a hero, meaning they're almost a person that they start to worship in a way. It kind of gets to this energy of that person is better than me. The hero is actually better than me and I can't measure up to the way that person is being a hero. What came to mind was, I think sometimes when we're conditioned as children to put heroes on pedestals, it from a very young age programs our mind to believe that heroes are somehow better than us or that we're in-equal to heroes. It may instigate that complacency, like you were saying, where people think, "I can't measure up to that, there's no point in even trying." I really love how you are thinking of that redefining of the word hero because I think that would eliminate that conditioning if we were to approach it from that angle.

Andrew: Look, I completely agree with you, and another way to look at this is if people are focused on success, for instance, and the usual way to define success is through financial measurement, in the world. I don't have an issue with how that's done, but to me success means different things to different people and rarely actually is true success even assessed or measured through financial matters. But for instance, for someone who's chasing success, their hero might be Richard Branson, who's created extraordinary success through the Virgin empire.

Another person's success, a lot of people look up to Tony Robbins as being the epitome of success, but the problem is, the problem that's created from that, and I think it's a really big problem, is that we look at those people who are worth $5 billion and we go, "That's what the definition of success is." Whereas to me, as a father, my definition of success is getting three teenage boys through high school, drug and alcohol free, confident and capable to take on the world. To me, that is the ultimate of success as a father. To me as a business person, success is actually me helping millions of people, that's not measured by money at all.

To me as an individual person caring for another person, success is getting that person to see that they in fact do have the power to achieve, to change, to be their own hero. I agree with you, we have this definition of the hero and I think what it's doing is it's separating us from the ability to be our own hero.

Patricia: To be your own, yes.

Andrew: Yes, that's right, and through the redefinition, I think we can definitely help bring... It's the reason why book four in my Fearless series, the sole purpose of book four in my Fearless series is to redefine success, for exactly the same reason that it then brings it actually within reach. We can suddenly go, "That's what success actually is, that's fine, that's cool, that works for me, I can achieve that." Then, once you achieve that, you then go, "Right, what's my next level of success? That's what it is, great, I can achieve that too."

You slowly walk up this staircase of success. The same goes with being a hero, the same goes with trying to implement change in the world, the same goes with trying to be a good, genuine, loving person. Same goes with helping other people. The benchmark is not in fact the ultimate, the ultimate, the ultimate, the benchmark is in fact whatever we set the benchmark to be.

Patricia: Yes, amen to that, it resonates highly.

Andrew: Yes, and that's why I was talking to you about it and it's been sitting in my mind for a couple of days and I love the way you read my mind, Patricia, that's a remarkable... Just beautiful, the way your intuition works, I've been thinking about this, had it in my mind for quite a lot and particularly since that Sydney event, it just really occurred to me that I think this is a discussion that I think the world needs to have.

I'd love people to send me an email, tell me about your stories of just everyday heroes that are really helping people, because I believe that those stories also need to be told. I'd love to be part of somehow helping those people tell their stories, whether that's working with them to help them write a book, whether it's bringing them together and all of them contributing to a collective type of book about the stories of heroes, of every day, real heroes. I think that's some stuff, for me, my grandmother was a hero in some aspects, my brothers were heroes when I grew up.

We all have different heroes in different ways. A child can be a hero when they overcome bullying, another child can be a hero. I once had a friend, a very good friend of mine called Sam, who I've known since I was 10 and he is the hero I tell my kids about, because Sam was such a remarkable soul. He grew up in a household of six kids. I think he had three or four older brothers, so he wasn't afraid of a bit of rough and tumble and he was always quite a confident fellow, but the reason what made him heroic is he used to stand between the bullies and the bullies' victims. Quite deliberately physically put himself in the way, he used to look the bullies in the eyes and go, "All right, you're looking for someone to pick on, let's go, come on, show me what you're made of. You want to be a bully, come and pick on someone your own size."

It garnished such a beautiful respect for him, but all of those kids that he stood up for, all became his friends as a result. What it did, it slowly disarmed the bullies around the school one by one. It was such a remarkable thing, and I say to my kids all the time, "Don't ever be the bully, be the person that's standing up between the bully and the person being picked on." There was no heroicism there, there was no fanfare, there was no knight in shining armor type of approach or fabulous superhero outfit. He would see something going on and every single time, without fail, I saw him do it dozens and dozens of times, which then empowered me to do it, then empowered others to do it.

Then the kids who were the victims, then suddenly started to realize, "Hold on a second, I can do it too." They did it for each other, it was so beautiful to see. They're the type of stories, they're little stories, but they're beautiful stories that I think need to be told and I'd love to hear everybody's story.

Patricia: Yes, because the little stories are often big stories, in my opinion, because change happens little by little. Yes, change can happen in big numbers, but I think it just starts with people like you and I or your next door neighbor or anybody really. It doesn't matter who you are, change starts from you, you as a person.

Andrew: That's right, yes. In the same way I say to anybody who... If I do it in my success workshop for instance, and I try to explain to people, Tony Robbins, Richard Branson, all of those guys, Elon Musk, every single one of them was precisely where they are now, the individual is now, at one point. Tony Robins, kicked out of the house when he was 17 and had to just fend for himself, didn't come from money and wealth or anything like that. Richard Branson has picked himself up and dusted himself off more times than anybody can remember, and he's one of the most successful men in the world. This whole aspect of being a hero is so important.

Every single hero that has ever become a hero is exactly where you are now at one point in their life. All it was is just when the moment came, their time to be great moment came, they stepped up. Now, there are heroes everywhere, mother Teresa, she got her fair share of criticism because of her approach, but she fundamentally changed the poverty cycle for millions of people throughout the world, through all of the work that she did through her charity. People all the time are volunteering for charities and helping people, delivering blankets to the homeless. It doesn't have to involve money, it just has to involve time and commitment and dedication and a real presence.

Patricia: And service.

Andrew: And service, that's right, absolutely. Anybody can do it, anybody can be that hero. It doesn't have to be the ultimate definition of what that word means. It can be any version, any version of that word, apart from perhaps doing nothing but to the point in which you get to that ultimate. How many times do nurses and doctors save people every single day? If that's not the definition of a hero, I don't know what is.

Patricia: Exactly, but we can all say people in our own ways. It may not have to be, like you were saying, as something as a large scale of saving someone's life like that, although that is grand and wonderful, it's just the little things that add up to, because it really does create a ripple effect.

Andrew: Yes, it does, and even just little things. You see someone broken down in the traffic and you stop and ask them are they okay, and help them out. Isn't that the definition of a hero? Someone has a car accident, how many people drive past an accident, when all it takes is one person to get out of the car, and although that person may be fine, they just might need a calm, gentle, warm voice just to settle the nerves, to help them deal with the shock of what has happened.

We've seen this rising force happening all across YouTube and Facebook and all of that sort of stuff of people, although I don't necessarily agree with being videotaped to prove your point, but I understand they're doing it to get the message across.

Patricia: Right, to the entire people, hopefully.

Andrew: Correct, that's spot on, they're just doing it in their own way, so I can fully respect that, but just very, very simple things and it doesn't have to cost money. People say, "Well, I don't have the money to do that." Or look at Batman and Iron Man, I talk about Batman and Iron Man quite a lot, because they are superheroes, but they don't have superhero powers and people go, "Well they had money and they had intelligence." Well, with all due respect, we all have different varying levels of that. Nobody says we have to be the Caped Crusader, but, we can still offer our part in service to humanity and service to others and stuff like that. To me, a true hero by definition, is someone who helps others and expects nothing in return.

Patricia: I love it, because back to what I said in the beginning of the podcast, how I said, that word is tossed around a lot today, especially by the media. It just seems like they call everybody a hero, but really the media is mostly correct about that. If you think about it, they're not correct about a lot of things in my opinion, but at least in that aspect, I think they might be on to something and to helping redefine what a hero actually is.

Andrew: I agree, and look, I would love the media, the mainstream media to take on board this thought of redefining what a hero actually is, and working towards celebrating, the gentle hero, the quiet hero, the introverted hero, the hero who works tirelessly in the shadows just to try and help others and doesn't want anything in return. I'm not saying that heroes are egotistical attention seeking, fame hunting type of people, they're not. Heroes, you don't sit back and think, "Oh, well if I do this, this will make me rich and famous." Because by the time you've had that thought, you've missed the moment and the ego is not interested in that sort of stuff. The ego is only interested in destruction. The ego is not interested in helping people.

I'd love to see the mainstream media start celebrating some of those quieter achievements, really start to move forward and celebrate the beautiful people in the world, the mothers and the fathers. To me, mothers who dedicate their life to ensuring that their children are confident and capable and ready to leave the nest, to me that's a real definition of hero.

Patricia: Exactly, yes, and the fathers too.

Andrew: Absolutely, most certainly. Thank you so much for raising this, I'm really pleased to finally get that out of me and get that off my chest and out in the real world. If anybody wants to send me an email to andrew@andrewhackett.com.au, I'd really love to hear your thoughts and more important, I'd really love to hear your stories because again, I think stories really need to be told, particularly the stories of the gentler, quieter, sort of hero. I think that really needs to be told.

Patricia: It does, because I think when it's not done in a boastful way, it can serve as inspiration for others. At least I know when I've seen some other people doing random acts of kindness that it can actually inspire me, if I'm in a funk that day, I'd be like, "Yes, I really love what that person did" and it just snaps me out of whatever funk I happened to be in that day. I really love that if we can all tell our stories, no matter how we perceive them to be, whether we perceive them to be small or large, it doesn't matter. Each one, in my opinion, is extremely valuable.

Andrew: I completely agree, Patricia, absolutely, I absolutely agree.

Patricia: Yes.

Andrew: Thank you so much for joining me today, I've really enjoyed talking about this and I can't wait to catch up with you again next week.

Thank you for listening to Illimitable Living today. If you want to find out more about living a truly limitless life, then go to andrewhackett.com.au. If you want to connect with me, search for Andrew Hackett Australia on Facebook and like my page or search for Andrew S. Hackett on Instagram and follow me for daily inspirations. I look forward to connecting with you so that we can start you on your own journey towards illimitable living.