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Holding Out for a Hero? Maybe He's in the Mirror

November 12, 2009 By:
Rita Charleston, JE Feature
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According to Noah Blumenthal, the author of the new business parable Be the Hero: Three Powerful Ways to Overcome Challenges in Work and Life, a victim mentality is rampant in society today.

In the workplace, thoughts like these go through many frustrated minds: "My boss is a jerk"; "This is a dead-end job"; "I can't change anything in this toxic atmosphere."

"But nobody has to be a victim," insists Blumenthal, president of Leading Principles, Inc., an executive coaching and consulting company who counts clients among the Fortune and Global 500.

In his book, Blumenthal introduces readers to the way of the "Everyday Hero," and shows how to turn various self-defeating thoughts and behaviors into heroic actions.

The author insists that we are all master storytellers, and that each time we interpret the events of our life, we are telling a story.

"And these stories are so powerful, they make us think and act like either a hero or a victim," he says. "If we don't pay attention, these stories can take us down the victim path -- blaming, frustrated and helpless.

"But at any moment, we have the power to identify and change these stories. We can choose the right stories that lead to personal and professional success -- the ones that enable us to become that Everyday Hero," he continues.

Blumenthal says that the impetus to write this book came from meeting a family whose son was facing tremendous health issues.

"In the midst of dealing with that, his mom was fighting a battle with cancer. Yet, throughout everything, the family was so heroic, they became an inspiration," he notes. "They were always at their best, and always remained positive as they met challenges effectively. Watching this family go through all that left me with a feeling that I had to write something about it."

Looking to the great Rabbi Hillel for further inspiration, Blumenthal quotes what he sees as a very heroic statement: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?"

According to Blumenthal, this is really heroic, since it's saying to people that they can take responsibility for their lives, and that things are not beyond their control.

A 'Can-Do' Attitude
He also quotes U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, for whom Blumenthal's college alma mater was named.

"He said most of the things worth doing in this world were declared impossible before they were done. That to me, is another very heroic concept," recounts the author.

"Victims look around and say there is nothing I can do," continues Blumenthal. "But the hero looks at the same situation, and says there's got to be something I can do. I just have to find it. So the hero is never without options, and never accepts impossibilities."

True, notes Blumenthal, we are all born with certain dispositions, but we can reprogram our brains so that we can act as heroes. As a quick reminder, the author puts his "Three Powerful Ways to Overcome Challenges" on "smart cards" at the back of his book.

They consist of: "The hero sees other people's challenges and feels empathy"; "The hero sees what she or he has and feels gratitude"; and "The hero sees what can be done, feels hope and takes action." 

 

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