I'm always attracted to people whose whole life has been a testament to one single set of principles, one idea, one ongoing endeavor, one craft.
These are the kinds of people who usually become heroes of mine.
They don't have to do Big, Great Things.
They simply have to be dedicated to their principles, their work, their ideals, their craft. These people know themselves. They know where their energies and talents come from. They are secure in their place in the world and they take joy in the talents that God has given them. They also see work as essential to life and as an extension of themselves.
These people get up each day and hone their craft. That's what they do. That's who they are.
Accordingly, their lives speak as one, single statement. Their body of work speaks for itself.
Naturally, people who do this and who happen to be in the arts or other professions that can grant great fame become well-known and take on a "bigger than life" quality.
I am reminded of this because I've written on this blog about Clint Eastwood.
Roger Ebert noted that Clint Eastwood has been an actor for more than 60 years and a director for 46 years. He has won two Oscars for direction and two Oscars for Best Picture. The filmmaker-actor is over 80 years old. It is unlikely that any artist anywhere in the world can match these numbers.
Still, it's not merely a matter of volume. And many others in many other fields could be cited.
Here's the important thing: Understand who you are and what your talent is and where that talent came from. Fuse that talent to a set of principles. Then focus on what you do. Focus on it like a laser. Pursue it. Refine it. Take joy in it. Don't ever give up. Don't be intimidated by others or derailed or distracted by petty things. Keep doing what you do. And don't be afraid to share it with others.
That kind of quiet courage - day in and day out - is truly heroic.