I was in my office recently and a question came to me. I wonder who my co-workers childhood heroes were. Here are some of their responses:
Hilary Dorst: “When I was younger I looked up to Ed Harris and Linda Hamilton, Ed Harris because when I saw the Abyss he made me cry and no actor had done that before. He also filmed a movie in my home town and I thought wow I want to do that one day. I looked up to Linda Hamilton because how awesome she was as Sarah Conner and with her bi-polar she never gave up despite what ever conflict came her way in life.”
Jay Evans: “In year 7 we spent a term talking about heroes and we had an assignment where we had to discuss who our hero was. So I choose Homer Simpson because he was funny, on TV and I didn’t really understand the assignment. But I got in trouble because he wasn’t a good role model. So then I choose my dad but I got in trouble for that because he wasn’t well known enough. It was a very confusing term for me.”
Peter Sellers was my hero as a child. I wanted to be just like him. I even used to parade around middle school talking like Inspector Clouseau. The Pink Panther movies made me, my parents and my grandparents laugh. What else could do that? When I was about 20 I saw the HBO movie The Life and Death of Peter Sellers and my whole perspective on my hero changed. He had become something different. Peter Sellers was now just another flawed human being.
In some ways the people we look up to define us. They show us how to live, how to act, and what to stand for. Just like everything else, though, there comes a time when you need to take the initiative and step out of your hero’s shadow to become you.
I still look up to Peter Sellers, maybe not in the same way I did as a child but in a ‘Wow that man was an amazing performer’ sort of way. Peter Sellers gave everything into his performances. His life outside of work seemed chaotic but in his work he used to create genius. It’s what made him a legendary comic and actor.
What inspires you? What do you stand for? Who do you want to be? Who will you be a hero to?
The only answer is to go out and live the life of the hero you want to be.