The world is not a utopia. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. You recognize this. It’s why you practice situational awareness — to mitigate the likelihood that you or others in your sphere are targeted. And it’s why you support and praise those who put themselves at risk to protect the most vulnerable. This positive feedback makes more likely such heroic acts. And that’s why it is important to recognize that a heroic actor is not constrained to one profession.

No matter an individuals background, dress, official title, or other arbitrary characteristic, each of us contains the capacity to do a heroic act. Yourself included. This recognition, or shift in mindset — from one of looking a heroism as a professional function limited to those in a handful of careers, to one that understands that we can each have a positive, potentially life-saving impact — may seem subtle, but its implications are profound.

Once you acknowledge the fact that you have the ability and motivation to act heroically, you become better-prepared to do so. It’s empowering. A situation that may once have been met with fear and uncertainty can be approached with steadfastness and confidence. Rather than feeling impotent you can choose to invest in yourself, to cultivate skills that may afford protection to yourself, as well as loved ones and strangers.

If an emergency situation should occur, you may be best-situated to address the issue, whether by rendering first aid, defusing a hostile confrontation, alerting a neighbor to a fire, safety, and property issues. There is no limit to the myriad of other ways you could act deliberately to deter aggression and create a safer, more interconnected community.

Without question, the willingness to help another, coupled with the ability to do so, is powerful. This paradigm is beneficial both to yourself and your community. Indeed, everyday heroes — whether foisted into an emergency situation or just prepared to act — are an integral component of the better world we can realize together.

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