How to become a hero

I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people. — Maya Angelou

We’ve always asked ourselves about what heroism really means to us. Some of us think that being a hero requires someone to die, but I think that one can be a hero when they are still alive, depending on what you have done to be called a hero. You can be called a hero when you save someone who is in a bad situation. It doesn’t require fighting, wearing a cape or being a crime fighter.

No matter who you are or what you do, there are opportunities for being heroic all around you. You just have to think and act like a hero. Then when the opportunities come, you will be able to come through and save the day. Here are some tips you can follow to be a hero and I think that these tips helped the people we call heroes today, like Fred Rwigema and Nelson Mandela, among many others.

Initiate the change you want to see

A true hero isn’t just talk. A true hero is constantly thinking about how they can take action and help others. You may be inspired to be a hero for a certain cause or issue, or you may try to be a hero for someone in need.

Put others before yourself

Think about other people’s needs before considering your own. When you are making decisions at work or at home, take some time to think about how your actions will affect someone else. For example, if you take the day off work, what kind of workload will that put on your co-workers?

Be ready to act when others are passive

People lead busy lives. Often, a typical person is so focused on themselves, they don’t notice or care to act when something is wrong. A hero will be willing to take action and confront injustice straight on.

Stick up for a friend, classmate, or co-worker you feel is being treated unfairly. Buy a meal for the homeless person everyone keeps walking by on the street. Notice the underdog or the less fortunate and give them a helping hand.

Perform random acts of kindness

A hero doesn’t just keep quiet when they see wrong being done. A true hero is there to do good at any time. Random acts of kindness you can do include:

• Helping to pay a student’s school fees.

• Buying groceries for someone in need.

• Taking an elderly neighbor to an appointment.

Volunteer your time

There are many charities and nonprofit organisations across the country that need volunteers. Simply donate a few hours each week to help these organisations. You can volunteer your time in many ways:

• Help build houses for low-income families.

• Join a communal work.

Always help your neighbour in time of trouble, like when they are sick.

Use your talent

First, think about the things you are good at or the useful skills that you have. You can ask your friends and family what they think you excel at, if you cannot think of anything specific. They will have a good idea about your strengths and how you can best utilise them to help others. Think how much you can help people around you using your talent.

Promote the good

Being a hero is not just about solving all of the bad things in life like poverty, inequality, and oppression. It is also about working to promote and advance the good things in life like charity, kindness, gratitude and love. Speaking out against injustice is important, but speaking out in favour of peace is just as valuable.

Think about positive things instead of negative ones. Be at peace instead of being at war.

Learn from your own heroes

No one becomes a hero all on their own. Think about the people in your life who have acted like heroes. Think about the times when you felt lost or scared, only to have another person come along and help you through a tough time? Maybe they were strangers. Perhaps a teacher or relative was there for you when you really needed someone. Think about what they did and how it made you feel.

Kirabo is an aspiring writer and student at Lycée de Kigali. 

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