The Heroic Life Is Not . . .
This part gets tricky. Aside from knowing what the heroic life is, here's what it is not.
The heroic life is not what you're already doing.
The most important quality of the heroic life is that it's never achieved. There is no moment when you get to say, "I'm a hero," and kick back.
Every time you accomplish something, your eye should drift toward what you can do to top it. Let's say you volunteer at the YMCA and teach yoga to disabled kids. That is incredible (truly). You should be proud of that.
Now how are you going to expand that program? Can you teach others to do the same?
You're providing a good life for your three kids, and doing your best to teach them wrong from right. Awesome. I wish every kid had that kind of upbringing. Is the family stable? Cool. Now when do you start leading youth groups or writing your book about it?
That's what I mean. Heroes are driven by the relentless sensation that they can top their accomplishments, further extend the reach of their good deeds, and get other people moving to do the same. This doesn't mean rushing things or taking on more than you can handle. But each time you successfully complete something, or get a project off and running on its own, it's time to look for the next thing you can do.
This may or may not mean that people eventually call you a hero, but that's for them to decide. "Hero" is not something you call yourself. If you think you've reached it, you've already given up on getting there.
This column is slated to be a regular feature, running the third Thursday of every month. In future months I'm going to look at some of the ways you can jump into the heroic path even if you think your hands are too full.
In the meantime you should do the following things:
Email me about all the righteous stuff you do (or plan to do).
Do something awesome.