It Takes a Hero: The Quiet Hero

Blog Post 71 image Filip Pticek2

Photo courtesy of and Filip Pticek.


Quiet heroes. They’re all around us, but we’d never know it because they’re not going to tell the world about their heroism. They’re not professional athletes, movie stars, singers, or other celebrities who make their living from being known. They’re not the occupational heroes I discussed in my previous post who put their lives on the line every day. They’re more like the young woman who befriended refugee girls to help them get a leg up in this country; the woman who left her nursing job to found a charity that feeds the hungry in her town; or the guy who started a pizza joint and also a wall where patrons could leave encouraging Post-It notes. (For more on these stories and many more, check out the Reader’s Digest July 2015 issue).

What makes quiet heroes?

These kinds of heroes operate beneath the radar of popular media. They see a need somewhere, and they do something about it. Or they face with adversity, such as battling cancer or an unfortunate circumstance. Those kinds of quiet heroes endure, usually without complaint, and it catches the attention of someone, most likely someone that they know, like family, friends, or coworkers. In the examples above, those heroes saw a need, for encouragement, for food, for a safe place to make statements.

Why do quiet heroes influence those around them?

Quiet heroes influence those around them simply by living their lives. The influence comes through one-on-one contact with people. For the woman who works with refugee girls, she develops a friendship with them and gives both practical help such as learning English and the encouragement needed to practice their language skills. That in turn boosts their confidence and allows them to spread their wings and integrate into American society.

How do quiet heroes conduct themselves?

As I mentioned above, quiet heroes would most likely not call themselves heroes. They’re ordinary people like you and me who live their daily lives. They have strengths, weaknesses, and quirks, just like we all do. But because they’re quiet, we often don’t hear about them unless we personally know them or read something about them. Chances are that the most recent time you stood behind someone at the grocery store, you were standing behind a hero in someone’s eyes.

What kinds of burdens do quiet heroes carry?

Quiet heroes are ordinary people with everyday burdens like raising a family, making ends meet, and meeting deadlines at work. Compound that with other burdens such as battling an illness, leading an organization or company, or struggling for social justice. It can vary widely across the spectrum, but the one thing that stands out is that they carry that burden the way they live their lives—softly, gently, without making waves in the pool of the media.

Quiet heroes come in many different varieties. The next time you’re talking with your children, listen to what they say. Do they truly like a teacher and tell you why? Do you know a woman at your church battling cancer with dignity? Or do you have a boss for whom you’d walk through fire? Those are all signs of a quiet hero. And even though they might demur, take the time to tell them why they’re your hero. They might shrug it off, but I guarantee you that you’ll make their day, maybe even their week.

I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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