Spanista » Self Care Rituals, Reflections & Resources for Joyful Living by Ginny Shiverdecker

Good News Monday: Everyday Heros Do Good Instinctively


Dear Wellness Seekers,

Good News Monday: Everyday Heros Do Good Instinctively reveals something many of us have pondered when we read the headlines about what seems like everyday individuals stepping up in a crisis to help innocent people.

Today I am referring to the most recently news about three young American men and a British businessman stepping up to thwart a gunman’s attack on a French passenger train. When they were interviewed later they stressed the unthinking nature of their actions.

Spanista can not help but wonder what makes someone step up fearlessly to save other human beings – pure strangers many times.  The article that provoked my wonder is titled ‘The Trick To Acting Heroically’ appearing in The Sunday Review of the NYTimes.

Because I travel a fair amount I am often in planes, trains and automobiles in unfamiliar places. Some times where American values I hold dear are found faulty and governments unstable. Places where a treat of terrorism is now an unfortunate way of life.  My inner alarm is developed from living in New York City after 9/11. I have learned to heed and stifle the ‘What I if?’ feeling that sometimes emerges in order to get the most out of my experience. But at key times, I find myself wondering if there is someone amongst us fellow travelers who would indeed step up if circumstances called for it?


After reading the article and reflecting on it through Spanista’s eyes, I take an exception to the headline – it implies a scheme to deceive. The real truth uncovered in the article is far more profound – in my humble view.  While the authors Erez Yoeli an economist with Harvard University Program for Evolutionary Dynamics and David Rand an assistant professor of psychology, economics and management of Yale developed a research test after interviewing recipients of the Carnegie Medal of Heroism, to see if they could predict what makes an everyday hero act, what struck me is the words ‘Valor is instinctive’. Here is what I found most valuable insight. Buried in the end of the article is revealed they found many such people have military background. They go one to say ‘The military hones soldiers cooperative instincts in an environment that has all of the required characteristics: Soldiers occasionally find themselves at enormous personal risk; and they live, train and work together for relatively long periods, during which they have plenty of opportunities to observe whether a peer helps others without thinking.’  Right! ‘ Valor is instinctive…but to me this means is can be cultivated from deep personal values like compassion. You either have that in your DNA or not.

Good News Monday: Everyday heros Do Good Instinctively is good news for us because we value life in America – And value our military but do we value them enough? The value of military training benefits us in all types of ways in our lives – but we often take the individuals for granted. Under their tough exterior is a compassionate heart.

After traveling to africa and back recently, I know now when I find myself in a plain and the feeling of a threat emerges, I am going to scan the crowd for anyone who appears to be friendly nation military. There will be comfort in knowing they are amongst us as we travel this Labor Day weekend.


To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


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