Who Are Your Heroes?


It struck me recently that I’ve never really defined who my heroes are. Unsure if this is a good or a bad thing, I’ll have a crack at listing a few of them now.

But before I do, I just want to make a quick observation I have on the significance of a hero through the eyes of the beholder.

To put some perspective on this, I want to include a quote by Oscar Wilde of which I was recently reminded. He wrote that: “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation”.

The relevancy of this quote in relation to our heroes is pretty clear. If you define your hero, do you unwittingly replace your own hopes and dreams with those of your heroes?

It would seem so.

But that said, I have to say that I strongly disagree with this. Without getting too academic, I believe that admiration of success is a necessary ingredient in new success. In the same way that the evolution of language is based upon an existing set of definitions, personal success is based on an existing set of definitions as well. To put it one way, if we don’t know where we are in the world, how can we reach for the skies?

So, now that I’ve argued the relevancy of having heroes, I’ll have a go at listing mine in no particular order:

  1. Ewan McGregor
  2. Richard Branson
  3. Barack Obama
  4. David Heinemeier Hansson
  5. Eric Cantona
  6. Sean Kelly
  7. Richard Feynman
  8. Billy Connolly

These are my heroes today. Tomorrow could be different, but for the cynics and elitists in the audience, I make absolutely no apology for any glaring omissions or vulgar inclusions they might think I’ve made. We all look at the world in or own way, no matter where our influences come from.


6 Comments added. Add comment?

  1. Derek Organ says:

    Interesting that you have Cantona, the man is a legend.

    Can’t say I really agree with he concept of a “Heroes” to be honest. There are people that I admire of course but I don’t really wish to aspire to be anyone else if anything I would aspire to leave my own individual mark. I associate the heroes with people obsessing over them and ignoring there own goals. Maybe thats too narrow a definition though.

    May 27, 2009
  2. Iarfhlaith says:

    He sure is! It’s been more than 12 years since he left the game but he’s still the most influential, entertaining, and inspiring player ever to play in the Premiership. Long live the King.

    Obviously we all want to leave our own mark on the World, that’s a given. I think heroes play a vital role in this because they help to define (and explain to others) our own motives and goals. This includes all kinds of things like: what our culture is, what our values are, how we want to live, how we treat others, what we hold true, and so on.

    Having a hero doesn’t encourage people to ignore their own goals. Instead it lets people express them. Particularly when they define a list of heroes, the sum of which is very different from the achievements of just one person and creates a completely new and unique set of aspirations.

    May 27, 2009
  3. Mic says:

    Great to see that the only Irish person is a fellow Waterford man 🙂
    He’s a legend of a sportsman, and very modest/unassuming too.
    Some of my heroes are closer in reach. Similarly to a dream car – I never had a desire for a red Ferrari when I was young, it was always the next ‘almost’ attainable model. This motivated me more, and then the bar was raised again.

    May 28, 2009
  4. Iarfhlaith says:

    Hey Mic.

    Yeah I’ve huge respect for Sean Kelly. He consistently performed and excelled throughout his entire career. Probably Ireland’s greatest sporting legend ever.

    I agree with you on having heroes that are a little more accessible as well. I have them too. But for the sake of brevity I just listed the ones above to get the ball rolling. Obviously there are people I know personally that I admire hugely as well, but that’s for another post.

    May 28, 2009
  5. Harry says:

    Hey Iarfhlaith – I’m absolutely delighted that things are going so well for you! It’s well deserved from the perspective of your talent and hard work, particularly in the web/intranet aspect of your work.

    However, I’m disappointed that neither Séan nor I got a mention as being among your heroes!! Especially having been ambushed in Afghanistan so often (mostly by Europeans!!). Anyway, Georgia (the Republic – not the State) wish you the very best! Keep the Faith and don’t associate with Oxygen Thieves – there are too many of them about!

    Nov 3, 2009
  6. Harry says:

    By the way, Iarfhlaith – don’t forget that it’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re flying with turkeys!!

    Nov 3, 2009

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