How To Recognize Different Types of Change Agents
June, 24th, 2016

'Habitual Heroism And The Birth Of An Average Joe - Hero'

Meet Average Joe.  He’s a good guy.
He means well.  He thinks he’s doing
pretty well in life.  He fits in.  He gets by.
He does his nine – to – five shift.
He doesn’t rock the boat.  He doesn’t
make waves.  He knows that wouldn’t
go over well.  People might not like him
if he did that.  People might get upset with him. He doesn’t want that.  He doesn’t want to offend anyone.  He keeps his head down and his mouth shut.

He is a defender of the status quo.

He doesn’t want to look like he’s not in agreement with the larger group.  He gets his point-of-view from the nightly news or from social media – whatever is being pushed by the majority group in his area – that’s what he believes.  If you asked him why he believes it he would get anxious.  If you presented him with alternative perspectives he would get anxious.  He would get quiet.  He wouldn’t say anything. 
He’d look at you like you were crazy.

He prefers to not think about things that go against the views of the group to which he belongs.  Average Joe doesn’t know that he’s languishing in a mediocre existence. 

He doesn’t know that he doesn’t have what plants and animals take for granted.  He doesn’t know that he hasn’t yet reached his full potential. 

He doesn’t know that he was born to be a hero.

One day Average Joe is watching the news and he hears a story about this guy who jumped on the subway tracks and saved a stranger from getting run over by a subway train.  Average Joe feels a jolt of something ringing through his nervous system.  Then, his eyes well up.  He doesn’t know what it is about this story that is making him feel like this. 

Average Joe's perception is different now.  He starts to think about whether or not he could do that.  He wonders if he is capable of doing something like that – maybe someday. 

Average Joe doesn’t realize that he has just moved out of the pre-contemplation stage of change and into the ‘contemplation’ stage of change.  

Average Joe has just taken his first step out of his languishing existence and begun the journey to heroic living.

After a few months he realizes that there are a lot of things wrong in his life.  He isn’t aware of why he is noticing problems all over the place.  One of the problems he notices involves shady dealings at the financial firm where he works as an accountant. 

One day Average Joe's boss asks him to do something that they both know is illegal and immoral.  Average Joe begins to feel another jolt through his nervous system.  He tries to hide it from his boss.  He feels anxious – but in a different way.  He doesn’t know why but somehow this anxiety feels good – like he’s supposed to feel anxious in this situation.

Average Joe says ‘no’ to his boss.  His boss gives him a look that tells him ‘you just made a big mistake.’  On his drive home Average Joe realizes that his boss is going to make up some lie about him in order to justify firing him.  Average Joe knows that if he exposes this corruption ahead of getting discredited then he will be able to save his good reputation and also help the people whom his boss is screwing over.

Average Joe becomes a whistle-blower.
Average Joe doesn’t realize that he has moved into the ‘action’ stage of change.

First, Average Joe saw a heroic action on TV – it was an impulsive and reactive action aimed at a single target that involved a high level of physical risk.

Then, Average Joe intervened in a calculated and pro-active manner that involved a high level of social risk – and like the subway hero Average Joe's heroic action is aimed at a single target – the corrupt company.

Some time has passed since then, and now Average Joe intervenes on his own behalf and on behalf of others everyday everywhere.  His heroic actions are calculated and pro-active but unlike the subway hero and the whistle-blower - Average Joes' heroic interventions are aimed at multiple targets. 

Average Joe aims his heroic interventions at himself - at his knowledge, at his habits, at his skills, and at his values.  He aims his interventions at his social interactions with other people and at other people's knowledge, habits, skills, and motivation to live in a way that is mutually beneficial. 

He intervenes to protect the kinds of circumstances in which he and others can be well and do well in life.  He creates situations from which better experiences arise.  He does this over and over again because he knows that the short-term psychosocial distress associated with situation optimization will have less destructive impact on him in the long-run than prolonged exposure to the toxic and dysfunctional experiences that characterize life in an oppressive social environment.

Average Joe doesn’t realize that he has become a habitual hero.  All he knows is that the quality of his social experiences have become a lot better.  He knows hes’ a lot more productive – that his strategies are much more efficient than they used to be.  He doesn’t realize that he has now reached the pinnacle of a change agent developmental ladder.  He doesn’t realize that he has shed the skin of The Average Joe and has transformed himself into an Average Joe – Hero.

To contact Shawn Furey send an e-mail to: shawn@theherotrainingschool.com

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Shawn Furey is the owner of
Shawn Fureys'
Hero Training School
and is the creator of
'The Hero Support Network'
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