The Mind of a Hero
“She needed a hero, so that’s what she became”
Welcome back to my three-part series on becoming the hero you need. The last two posts covered the body and heart of a hero. Today is the third of three posts and covers the mind of a hero.
The body of a hero is easy to define and there are examples everywhere: television, movies, and comic books. The heart of a hero is not as clearly defined, but if you do what you believe to be right, then you are on the correct path. But the mind of a hero is harder to define.
Are you the kind of hero who is a brilliant Brainiac? Do you let your muscles speak for themselves and make yourself the strong, quiet type? Are you the hero you need but best suited to following? Are you the hero you need and also a leader?
How you shape your heroic mind is shaped by what kind of hero you need, but it generally falls into two parts: self-education and expanding your mental horizons.
The self-education part can be broken up into steps as well. First, do you have formal education you are working on finishing? If so, keep working toward your goal. Get that diploma! And if you have free time, use some of the resources below to add to your current education.
Next is learning your own mind. When you can understand how the mind works, it helps to focus your studies as well as learning how the people around you are thinking and reacting. My two recommendations for self-study are Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow” and Cialdini’s “Influence”. Between the two, it gives a look at how the human mind works and how you can tap into some of its tricks.
Now that you have some idea how your own mind works, you can start tapping into the myriad of resources available online. With the rise of the internet, monetary means are no longer a bar to higher education. Ivy League schools are offering free courses online. Companies are pulling together the array of free courses and putting them all together. What was once the realm of the wealthy can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection. You can use these tools to grow your mind, so decide what your hero would know and seek that learning!
Finally, the mind of a hero should be open to other viewpoints. This is a touchy subject, especially in today’s current culture. We, as a society, have become more insular despite access to millions of people and their experiences. The Internet is a double edge sword, especially social media. The same tool that allows us access to the greatest libraries in the world, places to expand our understand and mindset, also allows messages of hate and exclusion to flow. How do you, as a growing hero, avoid its pitfalls?
Being open-minded, willing to hear the viewpoints of others, but wise to how the message is spread. If you did the work to understand how the mind works, then you know how people can use and manipulate it to push a message. You now have the ability to step back and examine not only the message, but it’s sender. Who are they? What is their motivation? Why are they providing this information? And finally, is this a fact or an opinion? Remember, it’s fine to state an opinion, but check their credibility to state the opinion.
Yes, even me!
So, by now, I hope you’re asking yourself how this could be applied practically. My best example is news media. It’s no secret that news media has evolved over the last thirty years. Each brand has its own political leaning and their stories are slanted to support their stance. So, with slant and shading in a story, how do you dig out truth and facts? My suggestion is to expand your sources when considering a story. If you are a fan of FoxNews, then look for a story covering the same event on CNN, and vice versa. Seek it on BBC news and on Al Jazeera even. But recognize the bias inherent in each source. When you can look at a story through multiple viewpoints and recognize the bias each report has, then you can start circling the truth.
This type of methodology applies to the stories people tell. In Robert A. Heinlein’s “Friday,” one of the characters states, “autobiography is usually honest, but it is never truthful.” The same applies to people. We tell a story that feels honest to us, but as you have learned, the mind fills in its own gaps, and an honest statement may still not be truthful. If you keep that in your mind, you can seek how everyone’s perspective shades their understanding, even yours.
Work to expand your perspective, learn from other people’s experiences, take in many sources, and don’t let your opinion of the world become a wind tunnel of your own experience.
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