I like to read up on the histories of my heros for inspiration. Usually, they recount defining moments that shaped them, that guided them on their path. This makes me want to look through my own memories for clues to my future destiny, but I wonder if I should.
I mean, my past is kind of dopey in a lot of places. I have actually employed the “Will you be my girlfriend Yes/No” note more than once before, and the last time has been since college. Am I predestined only for doucheyness?
Sir Ranulph Fiennes
If only I could be a consummate badass like Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Thought by some to be the greatest living explorer, he was born a Baronet and grew up to serve in the same army regiment as his father.
I was adopted by my Dad. He served in the Navy during Vietnam. Nothing against the Navy, but I don’t think military service is for me. Does that mean I won’t become a famous polar explorer like Sir Ranulph? Well, probably not, but maybe more because I’m scared my North Pole will freeze off than anything else.
Dr Richard Feynman
Okay, so polar exploration is out. What about success as a physicist? Well, Feynman’s father “taught him to notice things” and then taught him a specific lesson about inertia and Newtonian mechanics.
My dad had trouble teaching me anything at all because I am naturally only slightly less stubborn than a wheel of hard cheese. Dang. I’m probably not cut out to be a physicist. There goes that Nobel Prize.
Sir Isaac Newton
Speaking of Newton, I probably won’t end up holding the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics as he did, a position now held by Stephen Hawking, because an apple has never fallen from a tree and given me a grand insight about gravity.
I also don’t care much for math. Does that matter?
Maybe if I hang around in orchards more, greatness will conk me on the head. Anyone want to go find an orchard this weekend?
It would make for a relaxing afternoon, I’m sure, but I don’t think that actually happened to Newton. I think he told that story because it was a nice frame for some ideas that took him a long time to work out.
Be Your Own Kind of Hero
I don’t know everything, but my opinion is that it doesn’t matter what you have been, only what you will be. I spent a great deal of time in my life very unhappy and quite fat just because that’s how I’d been up until that point.
You can change instantly. All you have to do is decide that things are going to be be different from now on, and the change is made. That is the hardest part. Sticking to it is hard too, but the hardest thing is to strike out in a new direction to begin with. I urge you to give it a try, though.
I still think that there’s a lot to be learned from heros. I just think we’d do well to realize that these people are cherry picking their past experiences for stories that are relevant to however they turned out. What you are now has nothing to do with what you were then except that you had to go through there to get to here.
You can still be everything you ever wanted to be and more.