By: Michael Aun
It has been said that hard times do not create heroes. Hard times reveals heroes. Heroes are people who understand the responsibility that comes with freedom. Heroes never seek to be victims.
In today’s political environment “victim-hood” seems to be more the norm rather than the exception. It seems these so-called victims actually want no responsibility. They have expectations of handouts.
Victimization happens when people are much more comfortable being victimized than actually standing up for themselves. Victim’s dreams are often veiled in blame when in most cases, the answer to their dilemma lay in hard work and a solid education.
The irony of victimization is no matter the complaints, the drama, the victim mentality, the whining and the moaning over blame and all the excuses… none have ever gotten you even a step closer to your goals or dreams in life. You deserve more than the delusion of nonsense.
In contrast, heroes often have the exact opposite. Hercules observed “A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.” In short, heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.
True heroes, unlike victims, are intent on improving their lives and the lives of others. The great heroes in my life always taught me to fight even when you might be afraid. My grandfather, Eli Mack, often told me that when you afraid you are about to do something very brave.
My dad and namesake Michael A. Aun, Sr. was a true war hero. He earned multiple Purple Hearts while being wounded four times in World War II. He also earned a Silver Star for his courageous actions on the battlefield. Yet, he would never speak of those heroics. It just was not him.
George Bernard Shaw observed “You cannot be a hero without being a coward.” I never quite knew what Shaw meant by this statement. On the contrary, I think a real hero is someone who is brave for a little bit longer.
Indeed, while the world may view you differently, pray that you have enough self-esteem to be the hero in your own story, not the villain nor the victim. Too many people default to victimization when all else fails.
Too many people in society today have empty hearts. In the sales business, we call them “empty suits.” They are present but their hearts are empty. They may be nice people, but they are not true heroes.
Another heroine in my life is my own wife Christine. I can’t live without her, but that’s not what makes her my “shero,” as I prefer to define her. She was nurse by training but a loving mother and grandmother by trade.
The way she raised my three sons is all the evidence I need to call her a “shero.” She is the type of person who could live without me, but I could never live without her. She was not the kind of girl who needed a man… but the kind of girl a man like me cannot live without. If you don’t think she has “shero status,” do not ask my grandkids. They will shut you down in a heartbeat.
Warren Buffett once remarked “If you tell me who your heroes are, I can tell you how you are going to turn out. It is really important to have the right heroes.” I agree with that. My mom used to say either be the hero of your own story or buy a movie ticket.
My hero and grandfather Eli Mack died when I was only ten years old. He taught me that knowledge was power and that the only way to gain it was to study others and make good notes. The greatest gift this hero gave me was a blank journal. When I questioned its value, he told me bluntly “What you put in it will make it priceless.”
He was right. Choose your heroes carefully and they will “care” fully for you.
Michael Aun, CSP®, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame® is a co-author of Chicken Soup for the Catholic Soul!