Have you noticed how hard it is to have heroes these days?
It seems like any person you pick to be a hero has a book written about them the following day that reveals a huge list of faults. You know, because we’re all human, even our heroes. Martin Luther King is accused of marital infidelity. John Lennon treated his first wife terribly. Is there anyone left without some black mark on their record?
It’s important to have people to model your life and art after. But, because of shifting standards of acceptable behavior and a media that focuses on digging out dirt, it’s almost impossible to find anyone completely worthy. Some people go the other direction and get backed into defending their heroes terrible behavior because they admire another part of them. Enough!
Here’s a solution that I’m borrowing from the SubGeniuses. They have a concept called short-term personal saviors.
The idea is to allow yourself to look at someone as a personal hero for as long as you need them and then dismiss them. This acknowledges that people can do worthwhile things while still be humans. No one can hold your heroes against you. It also lets you pick frivolous heroes that might just help you get through a single day or project.
Also, you admire your short-term hero for only one personality trait or action. You can have a hero that you admire just for the way they wrote novels without looking to model their failed marriages and death from alcoholism.
Don’t spend any energy defending your short-term heroes, it’s not worth it. No matter who you pick, you’ll find someone who will tell you why they aren’t worthy.
Pick your hero, use him/her up and move on to the next one. Use the good, dismiss the bad. Think of the advantage you’ll have over people who spend their whole lives looking for a perfect person to have as a hero.