If I had a nickel for every time I've heard someone famous say, "Never meet your heroes," I'd have more than fifteen nickels.
I've heard it in interviews, podcasts, and famous books.
Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat, Pray, Love fame, even started her book Big Magic with a story about a poet that inspired her. This poet had a huge influence on her life and she easily could have sought him out and met him in person.
But she didn't.
She didn't want to meet her hero.
Why? Why is everyone avoiding their heroes?
Of course, there are some experts who say we shouldn't have heroes at all. By having a hero, we're taking the focus off of ourselves. By having a hero, we're neglecting our own development. We should be our own heroes, they say.
And they make a good point.
But then again, having a hero is inspiring.
Heroes wake us up to what we can be.
On our own, we may think our situation is hopeless. A hero then comes along and shows us the way. We were wrong to think it can't be done. We were wrong to think so negatively.
Heroes can provide the spark of inspiration that sends us rocketing down our own successful path.
So why not meet them?
If we have heroes, we should seek them out, right? If we have the means, a meeting with a hero can only solidify our inspiration.
That's where we get the nightmare stories. Paul Newman in slippers. Naomi Campbell throwing phones. Bruce Willis' unwarranted hostility.
If we meet our heroes and they're not actually good people, then, allegedly, all of our dreams are dashed. Our inspiration is doused. The hope we used to feel is gone.
But is it?
First, the actions that inspired us are still there. Strictly speaking, the person behind those actions isn't important.
Second, if our heroes are losers, then take them off your hero list!
Absorb the excellence from their actions and then strike them from the record.
Because heroes don't have to be jerks.
There's no rule that mandates they have to let us down. Disappointment doesn't have to be built in.
Heroes can be heroes all the time. In fact, if we've chosen wisely, they will never let us down.
It's a senseless shame that Gilbert never met her hero.
It's a lost opportunity that has huge upside and no downside--if we have the right mindset.
So kindly hold your advice.
Heroes are made to be met.
My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.