When Ordinary People Cease to Be

15 12 2010

 

So whom do you call a Hero ?
Is it a soldier that dies for others? Or a generous businessman that gives away his money to the well-being of others ? or the one that does nothing -by himself- but rather lead the rest to cross the line between expectations and dreams, in a battle maybe ?…or in a project ?

 

For me, Heroes are people that gave their best to serve what they believed in. It looks simple, but in fact, you rarely find someone doing it. It takes courage to go the extra mile for something nobody asked you to do. In fact, the only one asking for this is themselves. You call them Heroes because they honored their very own wishes, because they were brave enough to decide for themselves, to actually WANT something and GET IT DONE. Sometimes it be very straightforward, yet non commonly practiced. For me, Heroes are those who found the “common sense” in times where it wasn’t common anymore. They find it and persist in following it, this is a pattern in all Heroes, whether it was a soldier that realized that the only way to win is cross some stronghold, and then he moved without much thinking, or a leader like Nilson Mandela that simply realized that his nation’s only hope to rise was by uniting its people.

 

You can simply notice that these people have put themselves in higher layers of abstraction. If the mentioned soldier thought twice before moving, he would have remembered his daughter and wife, and the enormous fire power in the point he’s heading to. If Nilson Mandela have let himself to think in lower levels, he would have just seek revenge from the whites that treated his people like cockroaches and thrown him in jail for decades. But that didn’t happen, they all operated on higher levels, you can say: all Heroes are theorists ….with successful theories !!

So what makes someone BE a hero ?

 

Hedy Lamarr

 

Hedy Lamarr was a famous actress that appeared in the 1930’s and 1940’s movies like “Algiers”, “Boom Town” and her most famous film role as Delilah in Cecil B. DeMille’s “Samson and Delilah”. She was called ‘The Most Beautiful Woman in Hollywood”.
In a party, Hedy met George Antheil who was a musical composer. They talked about the war in Europe, the German war machine, and the possibilities of America joining WWII.
After that talk, the 26 years old actress along with the musician started working on “Secret Communication System” that was a frequency-hopping spread-spectrum invention which used a piano roll to change between 88 frequencies and was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes in submarines harder for Nazis to detect or jam. It was a brilliant invention and her work soon became the basis of technology that still affects communication systems today such as COFDM used in Wi-Fi network connections and CDMA used in cordless and wireless telephones.
If you now picked a communication engineer and told him that the COFDM and CDMA were based on the work of a 26 years old actress that never attended an engineering school, and known for glamorous roles…most probably he will think you’re joking !

 

 

For me, ordinary people cease to be in the moment they ACCEPT to be whom they want to be.
Wishing-to-be is something, Acceptance is another.
The brave soldier Accepted that he might get killed, but that what it might take in order to be the person he wished to be. Nilson Mandela Accepted that he will NEVER get to take revenge of his oppressors but that what it takes to see his nation rise. Hedy Lamarr Accepted that spending her days working on frequency-hoping inventions may not be not the best thing for her career as an actress, but that what it takes to beat the Nazis !!

 

Great people are not great because of the great things done by them. They are great because of the things they accepted to leave behind in order to come with great deeds. Greatness lies in the “Bargain” itself , the bargain for their beliefs against their desires.

 

A good question to ask the oneself from time to time is: What Are My Accomplished Bargains ?

 

 

Reda Maged