The act of heroism

An article written by: Lee Sonogan


“Heroism is the dazzling and glorious concentration of courage.”  Henri Amiel

Heroism is defined as great bravery while showing fearlessness. An estimated 240 million 911 emergency calls are made each year. On that fact, there is a good chance you may be involved in such an emergency or situation. Are you going to be helpful or get yourself to safety? Human instincts are natural to protect yourself first. But standing up in the emergency or conflicting situation and having a compelling feeling to help could and will define you as a hero in the moment.

In one study where people become involved to help victims of a crime, researchers found the heroes were taller, heavier, and more likely to have had a background in helping people than a comparison group who hadn’t helped in a crime or emergency for 10 years. Social psychologist and author Scott Allison says, “People tend to believe that heroes possess many or all of The Great Eight traits of heroes:smart, strong, caring, reliable, resilient, selfless, charismatic, and inspiring,”.

Even though adrenaline helps with heroic deeds, if not controlled properly it can make you feel dizzy, out of focus, anxious and out of control. Kind of like an anxiety attack. ‘Fight or Flight’ is a stress reaction that likely evolved in our earliest human ancestors as a way to survive the deadly challenges and dangers they faced every day with the dangers of their time. Studies have shown that not only does intense fear slow down the perception of time (time dilation) but the more anxious a person is, the slower they react to things around them.

“Research has shown that when people are asked to name their own personal heroes, the first individuals who often come to mind are parents and caretakers.”—Scott Allison. People do not consider other people on the street while studys show that many people have heroism in them. In a study of 4,000 adults in the United States, 55% had helped during an emergency, 8% confronted an injustice, 14% had defied unjust authority, and 5% had sacrificed for a stranger. Dr. Phillip Zimbardo says, “Heroes are most effective not alone but in a network. It’s through forming a network that people have the resources to bring their heroic impulses to life,”.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the top super-hero is ‘Superman’. Males are reported performing acts of heroism more than females according to Dr. Phillip Zimbardo. Phillip Zimbardo was the creator of the infamous Stanford Prison experiment. After many years on working on different behaviours of evil, he switched to research to the acts of good and the heroic. His wife helped him decide this moral decision.

Researchers say that doing something good for others may lengthen your life. Dr Phillp Zimbardo says “The key to heroism is a concern for other people in need—a concern to defend a moral cause, knowing there is a personal risk, done without expectation of reward,”. Heroism needs to be influenced more in today’s soceity. People expect everyone one else to act before them. This creates a peer pressure effect. When a situation occurs, be the first to act if you are trained in that situation. To be a hero you must be an individual that wants to do the right thing to help a different individual. Your acts of heroism will influence everyone around you who thought they should help or intervene.

“The opposite of a hero is not a villain, it’s a bystander.” – Matt Langdon

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