We Can Be Heroes: The Qualities Of Real Life Heroes [Study]

What makes a hero? A new study shows that real-life heroes share quite a few inherent and unmistakeable traits.

There have been several heartwarming stories of heroism in the news lately, despite the fact that we live in an era when heroism is generally in decline (or at least unrecognized), as measured by a drop in heroism awards granted in several nations, reports the Wall Street Journal. Still, if we, by chance, found ourselves in similar situations, we often wonder how we would react. Would we freeze? Would our impulses lead us to document with our smartphones instead of intervene? Or would we be heroes?

Here’s how to spot a hero:

Heroes tend to have several positive traits, and general confidence in their own abilities. They are often leaders, enjoy taking charge, and consciously dismiss fear. Empathy and a strong moral code are also huge factors in the difference between “man” and “Superman” (or Superwoman). There are even some physical indicators. One study showed that people who intervened in crimes and assaults were generally bigger than others. Still, that doesn’t account for all heroes – The Journal tells the story of one woman with a debilitating back injury who picked herself up and ran for the first time in 10 years to pluck an old lady from her car (in the path of an oncoming train), roll away from the collision, and shield the elderly woman from harm.

Another story, related by Newser, had a simple bus driver sprinting to catch a baby falling from a third-floor apartment. The force of the baby’s fall could have ripped his arm off (and did injure him) but the baby was unharmed. A certain degree of placing another’s well-being before your own is also a factor.


What do you think? Do you have any of the qualities described above? Could you be a hero?