How We Choose Our Heroes

The firefighter who goes into a burning building becomes a hero to the person he or she rescues. Michal Jordan, on the other hand, is a hero to millions of people because of his many great performances on the basketball court. Both are heroes in their own way, but one gets paid far more and receives far more attention.


It’s a combination of two things: Media, and emotion.

When we watch a great performance by an athlete, an actor, or a musician, it stirs up emotion in us. And we tend to associate that emotion with the performer. A firefighter’s heroic actions can stir up emotion too, in the person he or she rescues. But that’s far from the 10,000 or 100,000 people an entertainer can touch through a live performance. Or millions, through T.V and the internet.

It’s strange that we make entertainers our heroes and give little thought to real heroes. The silver lining though, is that entertainers sometimes inspire us to be better. And in some cases, save people from themselves.