The other day, the Hulk was working out at my gym. Well, a guy who played the Hulk in a blockbuster movie – Eric Bana. He looked remarkably normal and average and unhulk-like as he sweated along with the rest of us mortals at my local Crunch–it was actually pretty heartening to see a larger-than-life actor being, well, a normal person.
But it got me thinking about larger-than-life personas, and about heroes. A lot of kids growing up may have seen the Hulk as a hero of sorts; a regular guy who, when pushed to the limit, stood up for himself and what he believed in in a pretty spectacular way–especially when he learned to control his power. Most of us have heroes growing up, whether it’s your parents, someone on TV, or maybe an athlete.
I wonder how many adults hold on to this concept as we grow older: The idea of looking up to someone else because they display admirable traits, or have accomplished a success that you wish to emulate. I often swing back and forth between the idea of having heroes being a positive or a negative thing. On one hand, it’s great to have goals, and people that inspire you; on the other hand, as an adult, I feel that you have to put in the hard work if you want to be successful, and that your time may be better spent working on improving yourself rather than idolizing someone else who’s life is not yours and thus should not be compared. Not to mention the fact that our pool of individuals who really SHOULD be idolized is getting smaller every day (this is a world where people revere Chris Brown but believe our president is a foreign-born Muslim, so…yeah).
Some people have heroes in specific areas of their life; a work mentor, maybe. But let’s just cut to what I actually care about: the gym. A lot of people have body builders or athletes that they look up to and want to be like in the gym. Maybe you’re obsessed with the chick that can squat twice her bodyweight; maybe you have a giant poster of Arnold in his hey-day in your garage gym. Maybe you don’t have a gym idol because you realize that you can’t be that person, and that you’d rather work at being the best version of yourself you can be. So, weigh in: What do you think? Is it good to have a hero, or should you be your own?