Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Heroes and Bystanders

If someone you knew were in danger, what would you do? Would you call for help? Would you risk your life? Would you be so overwhelmed that you would just sit there like a deer in front of the headlights? A 2009 study led by Sara Staats, a professor emeritus at Ohio State University in Newark found that empathy, care and concern for others run high amongst people with "heroic tendencies." What kind of traits might you find in someone who is more likely to help another person in a car crash, a personal crisis or another kind of emergency? * a tendency to frame events positively and expect good outcomes * a strong sense of ethics * above average coping skills * a belief in their ability to tackle challenges and beat the odds * a spiritual belief system that includes a value for giving back * a sense of courage or bravery * a sense of caring and empathy for others As we look at the traits that help distinguish a hero from a bystander, we come up with the definition of one's "character." Here is a simple test that appeared in the August 22 Wall Street Journal, if you would like to measure your heroic potential" "Answer each question on a six-point scale, with 1 being 'strongly disagree' and 6 being 'strongly agree.' * I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me * Fears do not keep me from pursuing my goals * I try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective * Despite numerous setbacks, I usually succeed at getting what I want * Fear does not stop me from doing the right thing * I want to be competent and I believe I can be * Being truthful is extremely important to me" The higher the score, the greater your heroic potential! Copyright 2012 Linda Marks

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