How to Be an Everyday Hero

Young and older woman hugging.
[Photo by YuriArcursPeopleimages via Envato Elements]

With small acts of coexistence, we can all be the heroes that are needed today.

In a world where heroism is often associated with grand feats and accolades, I would like to redefine what it means to be a hero. I think true heroes are measured in their everyday actions. They repeatedly do small, common-sense things with the mindset of benefitting others as well as themselves. These small things add up to lives and communities that are positive, productive, and peaceful.

So, what small things can we do? We can start by embracing a mindset of coexistence by affirming for ourselves that all people and the earth have an equal right to exist in peace with their needs met. We can apply this mindset to five categories of action from the New Humanity Pledge:

  1. Caring for Wellness: Proactively nurture your physical, mental, and emotional health and extend a helping hand to others in doing the same.
  2. Living in Harmony: Reduce your carbon footprint, conserve energy and water, and protect our natural environment and its diverse habitats.
  3. Promoting Peace: Foster dialogue, respect, and understanding across cultures, religions, and nations to contribute to global harmony.
  4. Mindful Technology Use: Support sustainable economic development through responsible consumption, production, and investment in technology.
  5. Educate and Inspire: Educate yourself and others about the need for change, share success stories, and inspire others to join in the effort to save our planet.

In these trying times, the third category takes on a particular significance. Wars are raging in Ukraine and Israel, refugees are seeking asylum in foreign lands, and indigenous peoples are still fighting for recognition and rights from their colonizers. When our very existence seems endangered, coexistence becomes a secondary priority.

While we’re unlikely to stop a war as we work to feed and care for our families, we can embody the spirit of coexistence, even amid challenges. How we treat those around us—neighbors, coworkers, or community members—can create a ripple effect and convey our values to our leaders. Newsletter signup banner

We can make coexistence a daily practice with these guidelines:

Embrace Kindness: Treat others with respect, compassion, openness, and empathy, irrespective of differences.

Practice Self-Kindness: Prioritize your well-being with self-care, forgiveness, and self-compassion.

Celebrate Diversity: Appreciate the richness of diverse cultures, religions, and perspectives, and challenge stereotypes and prejudices.

Active Listening: Truly listen to others without judgment, showing genuine interest in their experiences and feelings.

Mindful Communication: Choose kind and uplifting words, avoiding harmful language.

Forgiveness: Let go of grudges and resentment, foster understanding, and offer second chances.

Stand Against Bullying or Discrimination: Speak up against mistreatment and support those targeted, creating a culture of respect and inclusion.

Engage in Service: Get involved in community projects, humanitarian initiatives, and cross-cultural programs to build connections and bridge gaps.

Together, let’s embrace the hero within us, creating a world where the true measure of a hero lies in their commitment to coexistence, respect, and kindness.


Get an expanded view of what you can do to become part of a new humanity in my upcoming book, A New Humanity: Embracing Our Responsibility for the Earth, which is now available for pre-order online.

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