Of Heroes and Guides

Everyone wants to be the hero.  The one who defies the odds, puts in the work, and wins the day. Heroes have the heart of a champion, and inspire others by simply existing.

We want to believe this guy succeeded.  That his hard work paid off with a scholarship or fat paycheck in the pros.  Something in my gut tells me he didn’t.  That he worked and he worked and still didn’t succeed.  It doesn’t seem fair, but it’s the plight of so many.  They see their efforts as failures when the dream falls short.

But it’s the effort itself that’s so inspiring.  It’s the work.

Winning is the byproduct.  We don’t celebrate those who get things handed to them.  The willingness to work is what makes us cheer.

When you work for yourself, you imagine being the hero.  You are your cause and you get good because the result directly impacts you — you get better.  But there is an urgency in heroics.  You know your window to become a hero is limited, and you also know the hero isn’t a hero very long. As soon as the hero wins he becomes the enemy.  He’s the guy on top everyone wants to knock down. The underdog can’t win and still be the underdog.  The speed in which they become traitors is stunning.

When the hero can no longer be the hero, he can either suffer in all he’s lost or choose to become a guide.

photo credit: movies4every1.wordpress

Guides are former heroes who try to make someone else’s journey easier.  They know what it takes to succeed, and have a lifetime of work to share. This sharing, in turn, gives them a renewed sense of purpose.  It all goes back to the work, and making it useful to someone.

Many will say that guides are less than heroes, but I argue that they’re equally important.  Working for others gives you an almost superhuman tenacity and creativity.  To turn your focus away from yourself is invigorating.  You are entrusted with someone’s progress and well-being, and you’re determined to get it right.  Your wisdom and experience gives you the confidence and wherewithal to develop new methods and protocols.  And, because you care, you try everything on yourself first to make sure it works.

Let’s not forget that what makes good guides and heroes is that they give a damn.  They put in effort because they respect the work and each other.  It’s a symbiotic relationship, recognized by both sides. Transitioning from one into the other is not a defeat.  It’s a necessity to continue the work and give it meaning.

Our importance or significance is not determined by our title. The roles we play are secondary to the tasks we continually choose to do, and the cause we have for doing it. Guides and heroes are interchangeable.  They are an indispensable cooperative to keep the story going.

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