Last week, the world was shocked by the news that paraplegic Olympian, Oscar Pistorius, was arrested for the alleged murder of his girlfriend. It was news that not only shocked me but also made me wonder. You see, Oscar Pistorius has, for me at least, been a very positive role model for those living with or without disability in that he was an inspiration for not allowing his disability stand between him and a dream of living a life of greatness.
The fact is that will never change but as it goes, negativity seems to be more powerful than positivity and he will be more than likely remembered for this than his achievements on the track.
The same goes for Lance Armstrong. At one time, the whole world looked up to Lane as a cancer survivor who not only beat cancer but also went on to win 7 Tour De France titles after. A hero to cancer sufferers all around the world as well as every one else, his name will now be tarnished with the word cheat. Another cheat in a different sense is Golfer Tiger Woods. Tiger rose up as one of the worlds top golfers overcoming racial stereotyping in a sport typically dominated by the white upper class but his adulterous antics soon saw him fall from grace.
This got me thinking about how we can continue to look up to these celebrities and let's not confuse looking up to these guys simply as celebrity hero worship such as someone who just looks up to someone like Paris Hilton just because she is famous for being famous. No, these guys actually inspired people to forget about their obstacles, to look deep within themselves and reach in and grab hold of the indomitable spirit inside all of us and rise through to greatness.
The truth of the matter of course is that these guys are only human. We all make mistakes and when you're in the media spot light almost 24 hours a day, anything negative you do will be highlighted and the media will have a field day reporting whatever misdemeanor they can find. That doesn't mean that the negative things these guys did was okay and in Oscar's case, manslaughter is definitely not okay! (Until he is proven guilty, we will call it manslaughter). To err is only human as the saying goes.
So where does that leave us? Do we stop looking up to people?
There are two points i'd like to make. Firstly, I think we can look at these individuals and try to focus on the positives they brought to us and the world. The achievements of these guys can not be taken away from them. Even though Lance Armstrong was found guilty of performance enhancing through doping, it doesn't take away from the fact that he did work hard and was a cancer survivor. We should be able to therefore differentiate between the good and the bad and gain inspiration from the positives without getting too hung up on the actual individual and falling into hero worship.
This leads me onto my second point. It is time we stopped looking for heroes outside and start developing the hero within. As Tina Turner once said, "We don't need another hero, we just need to find the way home". We all have a hero inside of us. The Lance Armstrong's, Tiger Woods and Oscar Pistorius's of this world just developed them and dug deep inside their spririt to let them out!. Take what you can as inspiration from others but remember, everyone is human and makes mistakes. Use the fuel of this inspiration to develop your own inner hero.