Happenstance or not it strikes me how often I got into this subject lately. Prompted to me by others in multiple circumstances, I wanted to grasp more – why the need? why the curiosity? why the relevance? why now? why…? – this new understanding of what is a hero (anymore) or better yet what makes the hero in everyone. But I will fall into that in a bit.
With this in mind I took a deep dive into a meaningful conversation about the many facets we embrace in our so-called ordinary lives that make them extraordinary. What I found out from people sharing is a complex web of reason among which the most prominent are our capacity to face hardships while enjoying triumphs, our almost magic power to resurrect like Phoenix after a harsh battle or to accept our strengths sprouting right from the roots of our vulnerabilities. The current social dynamics, challenges and fine lines between what used to be rather cardinal in terms of faith, values or beliefs are pushing us to see/accept even the super-human in us – those traits that makes us resilient when in need or thrive in chaos.
In these discussions that I was part of and in which the hero still wore the archetypal image of the mighty star, virtuous and always, but absolutely always, with a miraculous solution and that comes from the sky and saves humanity – this damsel in distress. The old way of the classical hero, the Prince Charming of the issues that by vigor, intelligence and super-powers gets to heal the world who suffers is fading, if it had not already died. Certainly, this form of nostalgia bears its utopian flavor, but to which daydreaming or inspiration to a perfect model, where we read perfection as, of course, an ideal that is not essentially bad, as long as it is seen in its potentiality.
No doubt, there have been rivers of literature over the transformation of heroes – from the sky dropped war hero to the more ego-centric flawed hero, down to the hybrid hero (Van Torhout; 2017) who intersects them both. Yes, these days the Captains of America or Supermen are mere symbols of a past era, but which yearningly calls us for young ambitions with a twist. The hybrid hero, that is both morally vertical while a hidden vigilante when (s)he decides so, is pretty much what we credit today as model and are ready to buy. Why? Because it credible. It is not inaccessible perfection, like the classical one, it is reachable, it can be me or it can be you. Anything else sounds as carved out from an Atlantis map, too good to be true, and in a world changing by the second, a divergent, fluid and agile type of hero probably serves best to our quests.
Why have I chosen to talk about heroes? One reason is that I believe we can no longer talk about a border between me/us and a hero(es) or Us and The Other. The monomyth (Campbell; 1949) to which we are all tributary in understanding our personal journeys are down to its core reflecting every one of us route to transformation. The well-known circle where the hero is called to adventure and (s)he does respond or not – often times the underdog that refuses the call because (s)he believes (s)he is not well-prepared for such a grand task – but who finally gets on its path, finds (s)he is not alone and supernatural helpers or mentors come along to boost the hero up, dives deep into the abyss of the challenges (s)he is dealing and then dies a little (leave old tracks behind) and resurrect a new one (learn), ever more transformed and enriched to return home, only to start over again (a new adventure).
This trajectory is a one that we can find in any enterprise attempt we subject ourselves to. From any mundane activity to the most daring ones that startle even us by the power of transformation that it brings us. To the well-reputed mythologists’ concepts that I quoted above, allow me to play a little, but still seriously, by adding my humble category. Hand in hand perhaps with the hybrid hero I would think that the hero of today is the self-governing hero. The highest sovereign over our decision i.e., responsibility is this form of individual accountable action that drives the hero into the just battle. The self-governing hero may have received a fate, but (s)he is solely responsible for her/his destiny (Pleșu & Liiceanu; 2020). The unfolding of the path leading to transformation is in the hero’s hands. No one will fall from the sky to save me/us, because the peril itself has changed and so the tribulations along.
I have seen a comparable itinerary in the High-Performance Learning Journey (HPLJ) where the hero in each of us is called for adventure and (s)he is indicated a path forward, but how this path is shaped is an individual process of creation. While supported by (supernatural?) helpers consisting in tools, various methods of learning, trainers, support materials, HPLJ is “creatively designed a learning solution far beyond the dimension of time.” (Anne Apking’s testimonial).
Our hero – no matter its name – would take a similar lane in HPLJ just as anywhere (s)he would venture. Here is a possible map:
- Commit to the journey. Our hero /An employee will work hard for his own development as long as he is motivated. The hero needs to understand the why the mission (s)he undertakes by a picture of personal success. The hero needs to picture himself triumphant at the end of the adventure.
- Building knowledge foundation. What is the minimum ammount of information that a person needs to increase his performance? This is exactly what he will receive, no more than that. How will we do that? Using individual study, because the webinars or the classroom is for practice, not for teaching. Our hero starts the journey with very little, but (s)he is accompanied by helpers to direct them on their way.
- Develop & practice skills. It’s the ideal step for testing new acquired abilities and provide feedback. With the new tools applied, our heroes surmount challenges and trials only to further themselves along the path of discovery.
- Strengthen results. It is the final step, where abilities are tested in the working environment and continuously developed through various methods. This is the crucial phase in which the hero sees the revelation – knowledge acquired – and so the ascending transformation is achieved.
No matter the go-ahead that flips us – the heroes with a myriad of faces – to start the journey, what lies at the end is a new beginning, because with every destination reached in our learning journey, by the power of transformation a new road open ahead that calls us for another adventure. Bon voyage and safe trail!
(checkout her Linkedin profile)