I hate to break it to you, but I object to today's topic as well. Don't worry. I'm not going to cop out on you this close to the end of the challenge. I'm just going to adjust the topic how I choose.
See, the problem with heroes is that having one elevates a person to the status of being infallible. Realistically, even the best heroes have faults. Batman is a paranoid schizophrenic, arrogant, and untrusting. Superman is emotional, unable to see morally gray areas, and lacks a plan B when brute force doesn't work. Iron Man is an alcoholic, womanizer, with an ego the size of a planet...wait. I guess Iron Man doesn't have any flaws. Ok, I'm kidding, but I know more than a few people who legitimately believe that.
Real people are no better when it comes to being a hero. Politicians are corrupt, and the scandals come faster than we can keep them straight. Athletes are flawed as well. Tiger Woods sleeps around and runs his car into trees. Michael Vick runs dog fighting rings. Hell, even that yellow shirted bastion of hope, Lance Armstrong, is a drug user.
Herein lies the issue with heroes. The very concept of a hero implies that they are flawless, yet we're all broken. To hold anybody up to the name of hero does them a disservice. I don't think, however, that it's necessary to completely disregard the good things that people do, we just need to remember that there's no such thing as perfect.
What is far better than to consider anybody a hero is to simply look up to them for the things that they do well, while accepting their flaws. In that respect, there are many many people I look up to. Here's just a small list of them, links to more information, and why I look up to them.
Hajj Flemings (http://hajjflemings.com/) is a fellow Michigan Tech alum. He played basketball for Tech, and has since gone on to become the second most successful person that I know. (Sorry, Hajj, I know the man who's # 2 in command of the most successful car in NASCAR.) He's designed his own shoe (one of his lifelong dreams), written a book, and is a personal branding expert. Hajj works with the Detroit Lions, training their rookies to present themselves in a professional way that will help them succeed both on and off the field. He's also been featured on ESPN, The Wall Street Journal, and is featured in CNN's Black in America 4. Hajj has taken the risks necessary to do what he truly loves to do. I wish that I even knew what I'd truly love to do with my life.
Lex Machina (http://www.lexmachinaphoto.com/) is a fantastic photographer. While her story isn't nearly as verbally impressive has Hajj's, her work is visually stunning. Lex is currently working on her Graphoscope project, where she documents the sights of Steampunk at various conventions and events, presenting them in a way that very closely resembles period accurate pictures. Pictures from The Graphoscope can be found here. I wish that I had half of the raw talent for photography that Lex does.
Christine Rose aka O.M. Grey (http://omgrey.wordpress.com/) is a self published author who has done the incredible. By creating herself an alter ego (O.M. Grey), finding a hyper specific niche that she excels in, and dialing the social media knobs to 11, she's marketed herself into having one of the top selling paranormal romance novels on Kindle. I wish that I had her social media skills.
Lastly, (for this post) Sean Stephenson (http://timetostand.com/) is a living miracle. He was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as "brittle bones disease". Doctors expected him to die within days of birth, then within months, then he was told that he wouldn't live to graduate high school. Sean's done much more than that. He's a board certified clinical psychotherapist, certified instructor of neuro-linguistic programming, and working on a doctoral degree. He's published four books, had his own television show, and served as Presidential Liaison for the Office of Cabinet Affairs. Sean's testified to the US Senate, thrown out the first pitch at an MLB game, and worked with the most inspirational man on earth, Tony Robbins. On top of that, he is a professional speaker who travels the country inspiring thousands to "Get off their 'But'!" Not too shabby for a little guy in a wheel chair that nobody expected to live. I wish that I had Sean's courage, determination, drive, and desire to succeed.
Aside from the four people I mention above, I admire dozens, if not hundreds more for various reasons. Here's a partial list without great detail: AJ and Jordan Harbinger, Brian May, Tim Minchin, Jake Von Slatt, my wife, my parents, Penn Jillette, Adam and Jamie from Mythbusters, Tim Ferriss, Wil Wheaton, Christopher Moore, Neil Gaiman, Cherie Priest, and Professor Elemental.
Who do you admire, and why?