Matthew Sweet reflects on what it takes to be a real hero.
Something I’d like all creatives and entrepreneurs to realize: We’re not warriors.
A warrior is someone who confronts their own mortality, who stares down death, who endures unimaginable suffering without a whimper.
The height of bravery isn’t publishing something. You’re not a hero because you drag yourself out of bed at 5am to do some painting. Going on a social media blackout to increase your productivity doesn’t make you special.
So can we please stop pretending that these and similar acts require immense amounts of strength and courage.
But you know what does? Want to know who a real warrior, a real hero is?
The Germans and Russians in World War Two, who, because of the bitter cold, pissed on their own hands to stop them freezing. The Allied soldiers who stormed the beaches or died trying. The American soldiers who endured torture in the Vietnamese P.O.W. camps.
They were warriors.
The little girl going through chemotherapy who still smiles when her family walks in the room. She has more strength than most of us will ever have.
The woman who is raped but rebuilds her life and has a family. She knows what courage is.
The little boy in India who supports his family by scavenging in a landfill because his dad is dead and his mum can’t work. He’s a hero.
I get it. Art is war. Building a company is hard. But we glorify it. We turn it into some righteous crusade. We goad each other on with words like “brave” and “courageous”. We congratulate one another on fighting and struggling every day to do the work we must to do.
Great. We shouldn’t stop this. But I think we need some perspective. I think we need to extricate our heads from our own asses.
The risks we take, the work we do, the time and energy and attention we pour into our careers are not insignificant. But they are in comparison to what a real warrior is, to what a real hero has to do.
Originally published by phronetic
Photo by michellehurwitz