I watched Chris Hadfield’s TED Talk from March, titled “What I learned from going blind in space“, and found it to be incredibly inspiring. His message resonates with me just like Feel the Fear…and Do It Anyway. There’s a big difference between that which is frightening to us and that which is actually dangerous to us, and successful people put effort into overcoming their fears.
I don’t often use words in my post titles since this is more of a journal, but this post deserves a different kind of title. I got to thinking that Chris Hadfield is one of my heroes. Someone I look up to. Someone I would like to emulate. And that got me to thinking, who else do I see that way? There are so many people who have good qualities and valuable ideas, but I think I would only refer to a small number of them as heroes. Sure, it’s subjective. And I’m only listing people who are still alive, there are probably many more who have passed on. So here is my list, in no particular order:
- Chris Hadfield – astronaut
- Malala Yousafzai – student and education activist
- Sir Ken Robinson – educationalist
- Shai Reshef – businessman and president of University of the People
- Ron Paul – former physician and Congressman, reformer
- Barry Sanders – former NFL running back, Hall of Fame member
Some common themes emerged as I made that last: courage and creativity. I look up to people who have overcome fear – Hadfield flew into space, Malala stood up against an oppressive regime, Reshef pioneered the first tuition-free online university, Paul never relented in his defense of individual liberty, Robinson has spoken out against an antiquated educational system, Sanders dazzled us all with his athleticism and then walked away from football on his own terms. And most, if not all, are advocates of creativity – thinking outside the box, questioning traditions and entrenched ideas, valuing the potential of each individual. In some way, perhaps these people inspire me to overcome my own fears and discover my value to the world.
There are some other people who are “on their way” to being heroic in my eyes. Bill Gates, who I believe to be a great philanthropist. Edward Snowden, who – whether you think he was right or wrong – is paving the way for whistleblowers. Elon Musk, who is possibly our generation’s greatest innovator. Amy Purdy, a Paralympic athlete who dances without legs. I could go on and on, but I want to refer back to the title of this post: who are your heroes?