A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes over night. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.
—Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) American First Lady, Diplomat, Humanitarian
If you do it right 51 percent of the time you will end up a hero.
—Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. (1875–1966) American Businessman, Philanthropist
It is the cause and not merely the death that makes the martyr.
—Napoleon I (1769–1821) Emperor of France
To have no heroes is to have no aspiration, to live on the momentum of the past, to be thrown back upon routine, sensuality, and the narrow self.
—Charles Cooley (1864–1929) American Sociologist
True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.
—Arthur Ashe (1943–93) American Tennis Player
Success is achievable without public recognition, and the world has many unsung heroes. The teacher who inspires you to pursue your education to your ultimate ability is a success. The parents who taught you the noblest human principles are a success. The coach who shows you the importance of teamwork is a success. The spiritual leader who instills in you spiritual values and faith is a success. The relatives, friends, and neighbors with whom you develop a reciprocal relationship of respect and support—they, too, are successes. The most menial workers can properly consider themselves successful if they perform their best and if the product of their work is of service to humanity.
—Michael DeBakey (1908–2008) American Cardiovascular Surgeon
The greatest obstacle to being heroic is the doubt whether one may not be going to prove one’s self a fool; the truest heroism is, to resist the doubt; and the profoundest wisdom, to know when it ought to be resisted, and when to be obeyed.
—Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–64) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light.
—Felix Adler (1851–1933) German-Born American Philosopher
The main thing about being a hero is to know when to die.
—Will Rogers (1879–1935) American Actor, Rancher, Humorist
Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940) American Novelist
What is a hero without love for mankind.
—Doris Lessing (1919–2013) British Novelist, Poet
One murder makes a villain. Millions a hero.
—Beilby Porteus (1731–1809) Anglican Bishop of London
The ordinary man is involved in action, the hero acts. An immense difference.
—Henry Miller (1891–1980) American Novelist
One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.
—May Sarton (1912–95) American Children’s Books Writer, Poet, Novelist
Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.
—Benjamin Disraeli (1804–81) British Head of State
It’s true that heroes are inspiring, but mustn’t they also do some rescuing if they are to be worthy of their name? Would Wonder Woman matter if she only sent commiserating telegrams to the distressed?
—Jeanette Winterson (b.1959) English Novelist, Journalist
I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with their freedom.
—Bob Dylan (b.1941) American Singer-songwriter
We shouldn’t be looking for heroes, we should be looking for good ideas.
—Noam Chomsky (b.1928) American Linguist, Social Critic
The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper.
—Aristotle (384BCE–322BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher, Scholar
Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated.
—Alphonse de Lamartine (1790–1869) French Poet, Politician, Historian
I do not like heroes; they make too much noise in the world. The more radiant their glory, the more odious they are.
—Voltaire (1694–1778) French Philosopher, Author