Ever since storytelling became a thing (or maybe even before that if cave paintings are considered a form of storytelling) mankind has been obsessed with the idea of heroes. A hero is a person ‘who is admired or idealized for courage and/or outstanding achievements.’
Whether it was during the hunter-gatherer times or more in modern times, humans have always idolized a person and held that person in high regards. The man who could hunt the most meat or bring home the biggest prey would usually be heroic. The person who brings the most money to the household (aka a breadwinner) will be the ‘leader.’
But short of finding the cure to cancer or ending all prospects of nuclear war, it is almost impossible to become a hero in the eyes of everyone.
So what is it that we have to do in order to be held in high regard? Or to be someone that people ‘look up to’?
Recently, an idea surfaced in my head with the help of a recent Joe Rogan podcast where he interviewed (even though Joe doesn’t consider what he does a conventional interview) Jordan Peterson.
Jordan is a clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He earned his degree at McGill University.
In the interview, he expanded on his idea of heroism (whether male or female) as someone who exhibits truth. Someone who is genuine, authentic and honest. Initially, this sounded extremely counterintuitive. In a day and age where everyone and everything is vicious and where children are taught that it’s a ‘dog eat dog’ world, how can revealing my true intentions and my ‘hidden agenda’ be in any way beneficial?
I had always thought that life was supposed to be maneuvered like a game of chess. Where your intentions are always hidden and the last thing you want is to be predictable and have your opponent know your next move.
So then I gave it some thought. From a very selfish, subjective and miniscule standpoint, who do I look up to and who do I consider an idol? Well, I care about Walter Cronkite, and Eisenhower and Serena Shim, and all those other people that I have wrote about in my blog.
I care and look up to these people because they were real. They didn’t do their jobs because of money or fame or status, they performed their duties because of passion. They were honest and truthful. Walter Cronkite because he disseminated true, objective and useful news. Eisenhower because he foresaw the growth of the military-industrial complex and warned the American people. And Serena Shim because she risked her life to reveal the dangers that are unjustified in Turkey.
So what about past a personal and subjective level? Let’s look at a smaller section. The YouTube fitness industry. Who does that audience look up to? Well, it is commonly known that the lineups for Rich Piana’s booth at fitness conventions is usually the longest. But why?
Not because he’s the biggest (Phil Heath, Kai Greene, etc. all outweigh and out-mass him), not because he’s the most aesthetic, not even because he’s the strongest. But because he’s honest. He openly talks about his steroid use in an industry that is filled with these fake or ‘half-natties.’
So this has led me to surmise that being at the top of your individual field (whatever it is) should be led by the belief and philosophy that we remain honest and truthful.
But being upfront and genuine with our intents, this doesn’t so much lead to upper echelon’s approval, rather it leads to the support of the masses. Once you have a following or a mass of people that genuinely support you, you will be damn near unbeatable.
But someone will only care to follow you and spend time with you so long as they believe that you are anything but ‘shady’ or ‘a snake.’