Is Courage Requirement for Hero

Is Courage the Primary Requirement for Being a Hero?

by Kalinda Rose Stevenson

How Ordinary People Become Heroes

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.

Ambrose Redmoon

Taking Action against the Threat

Hero's journey stories are about ordinary people who become extraordinary heroes because they take action against some threat. The threat can be a person. It can be a dangerous animal or a hurricane. It can be an invading army. Whatever it is, the threat means impending danger for the vulnerable.

The first characteristic of a hero's journey story is that the person who becomes the hero doesn't start out as a hero. The ordinary person becomes a hero by risking danger to confront the threat. The second characteristic is that the hero-to-be faces danger to save someone or something else from harm.

Courage of the Heart

Does this mean that courage is the primary requirement for being a hero?

Courage has more than one connotation in the English language. The statement by Ambrose Redmoon demonstrates a definition that that is not always evident in contemporary English.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.

We all know that the word courage concerns bravery. We also know that the word heart concerns emotions. In contemporary English, a common assumption is that you think with your head and you feel with your heart.

But English is more complicated than these two definitions. Although courage as bravery and heart as emotions have become default meanings in contemporary English, the words themselves have a deeper history.

Before English existed as a language, the Latin roots of these words had different meanings.

The Latin word for heart is cor. This is source of the word courage in English

In the world of ancient Latin, the heart was not about emotion but about judgment. The heart was about thinking, making decisions, and making choices.

This means that courage is not just about bravado. It's not about taking on an enemy or a threat to demonstrate your strength. Fear is always part of a hero's journey. Courage requires the capacity to make judgments about what is more important than fear.

Why Judgment Is a Critical Aspect of a Hero's Journey Story.

In the judgment of the central character of the story, someone or something dangerous is threatening the wellbeing of someone or something who is important to the central character. The hero-to-be must decide to go on some sort to journey to confront the threatening person or thing and prevent the threat from causing harm. The journey is necessary because the one who decided to challenge the source of the threat must go to where the threat is located. The journey leads to experiences that mean getting in trouble with authorities, injury, and even death.

The essential challenge of hero's journey stories is that the person at the center of the story must make the judgement that stopping a threat from doing harm to others is more important than being safe.

[Original Post November 18, 2014]
What are your thoughts about becoming a hero? Please leave a comment below. I am eager to learn from you.

If you want to change your life, heroic stories reveal secrets about how to get out of the true self trap and create the life you desire to live.

Find out more about How to Get Out of the True Self Trap: The Life Changing Secret of Heroic Stories


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