In any predictable action flick, the hero swoops in when all seems impossible, the challenges insurmountable. It’s why you watch the movie — because you know that in the end, it’s all going to work out.
The thing is, you don’t need to wait until the end, and you definitely don’t need anyone else to swoop in. Here are eight (courageous) ways to be the hero of your own life.
1. Dance to at least one song, daily, for 30 days straight.
I know — you’re so embarrassed. What if someone saw you? But heroes don’t waste time. Heroes do what it takes, and this dancing thing works. Do it in a bathroom with the door closed and headphones, or do it full-on with the volume up in your living room. It is a joyful, enlivening practice that takes only 4-5 minutes, so you don’t even have the excuse of being busy.
2. Pay attention to what you resist.
For instance, if you're about to stop reading because you don't like the suggestion above? Notice that resistance. People who bemoan their circumstances but are unwilling to try new things are never the heroes of any story.
3. Pay attention to what you do allow into your life, especially with people.
When embarking on any new endeavor, you’re going to run into naysayers. Have compassion for where they’re at and don’t go so far that you line up voluntarily to be in front of their firing squad. Any time you're embarking on a new dream, or big life change, and people aren’t supportive, you’re choosing what you allow into your life.
4. Start telling the truth.
Heroes state the hard truths — they don’t toe the line. Quietly biting your tongue when others are being disrespectful is endemic in our culture, but heroes don’t tolerate it. Heroes speak up when disrespect occurs.
5. Travel light.
Heroes improvise and make do with very little, because they know that their greatest assets are the things that are often taken for granted. Everything else is just gravy. They don’t need a ton of money or the best weapons to fight the good fight.
Traveling light in this day and age can mean, ditching your debt, unloading your clutter or ceasing to over-schedule.
Imagine your life without clutter, debt, or over-scheduling. Can you feel relaxation seeping in?
6. Never resist the irresistible.
Heroes answer "The Call” as Joseph Campbell called it, and rightly so. An incredible amount of energy goes into resisting the call to do the things that would open our hearts.
For example, say you’ve always wanted to write a book. So what if you have no idea how you’d start, and you have very little time? Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay to A Few Good Men on cocktail napkins in between serving customers when he was bar-tending.
7. Seek help.
Every hero feels fear. Every hero has moments of feeling doubt, and it’s that internal breakthrough that precedes meeting an external challenge. Any hero who pretends to be fearless is faking it. That’s not heroic. Heroes routinely use the support of others.
8. Use all of your senses.
In your ordinary, everyday life, delight in the senses. Turn off the television, and turn on to your sensuality. Stare outside of windows at the way the wind moves the trees. Pay close attention to the velvety tip of a kitten’s nose. Wear essential oils. Take time to truly smell the cilantro as you chop it. Enjoy more physical affection and intimacy. This is your one and only life. If you aren’t paying attention to the sight-smell-taste-touch-sound qualities of life, you’re missing out.
Heroism isn’t about the one battle that you win. It’s about the overall quality of how you live your life. To decide that in fact you’re going to prioritize your personal happiness because you see how that will have a ripple effect on your family, community, and the wider world.
These are the heroes that we need: the people brave enough to step up and be the heroes of their own lives.
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