New Media Expo was exciting and extremely fulfilling this year. It’s fantastic to get a chance to see extremely successful friends and students as well as new student and audience members.
There was one aspect of the Expo that I hadn’t seen in the past. This might be because the Expo has grown so much or maybe it’s the amount of highly success bloggers and podcasters exploded to record numbers this year . Either way, what I saw was was a little disconcerting and I want to make sure none of our community falls into this trap.
Hero worship is the excessive adulation of an individual. There is also an aspect of hero worship that makes it so that the hero is SPECIAL or has special abilities. This year, at NMX, I saw people expressing quite a bit of both.
I saw people throw their hands up in the air and slowly bring them down, then up, then down saying, “we’re not worthy” as they worshiped a certain podcaster we all know and love. I actually saw this a couple times!
I heard people talking about another speaker in reverent tones of how quickly rose through the ranks to the top position, as if it was magical or he had a superpower that assisted him with his meteoric rise.
I was also talking to a group of people when one of the group members shook my hand and said he loved my show. Another members said, “What show do you do?” I told him and his face lite up and he said, “WOW, I didn’t realize it was you. This is crazy, you’re awesome! Can I shake your hand?” He then left the group and went to his group of friends and I saw him point and they all seemed to be excited for their friend, like he’d just met a rock star or A level actor.
Now, if all of these behaviors simply came from a place of Admiration, great! I just wanted to make sure that people are aware of the dangers of hero worship and have the ability to avoid the trap and learn from people that are further along (the so called heroes) instead of seeing them as magical or super hero special.
Dangers of Hero Worship
When I got home from the Expo, I found that favorite philosopher, Stefan Molyneux, had discussed this hero worship a bit and I wanted to share that section with you. Listen from 2:14 to about 8:25.
The big take away is that holding up someone as an idol or feeling hero worship can only happen if you diminishing yourself! I think it also saps one of their power to achieve the same thing, if that is their secret desire.
Worship ends the discussion. More times than not, worship ends with, “but I can’t do that, they are special.” We feel worship when we think we have no way of achieving what the person of interest has achieved.
So, if you have the desire to do achieve what Pat Flynn has achieved, hero worship will lead to feelings of, “I’m not good enough”, or “There’s no way I can do that!”
Avoid the Trap
I have no problem “looking up to” someones actions and achievements. The thing to remember is that they are just ahead of you, not magical or in possession of skills and special abilities that you cannot work on yourself. Admiration is give you a target to shoot for, minus the diminishing effects of hero worship.
Admiration can still lead to powerful questions, like;
- What do I admire about this person? (…and how can I work on that myself?)
- What specific steps did the person take to earn my admiration? (…so I can start taking those steps myself)
- What skills did they have to acquire to get the success they have? (…so I can start learning about and practicing those skills)
- What daily actions do they take that lead them to success? (…so I can start taking the same or similar steps)
- You get the picture!
I’m glad to say that I felt very little hero worship from our community, as strange as that is to say. We seem to attract people that are ready to BE Pat Flynn’s and are willing to put in the work to achieve it and I love that.
Remember, as Stefan Molyneux said, “YOU are responsible for your life and success.” No one else is going to give you success and remember that the success that those you admire have comes from very specific actions and developed skills, not magic abilities or super powers. This means YOU CAN DO IT TO!