People like to complain about politicians. And they like to complain about movie stars, and rock stars, and comedians and sports figures. We like to complain about anyone who has become well known, who has their name up in lights, on the front pages of newspapers and magazines, at the top of online articles. Admittedly some of these complaints might be worthy, but often enough they are not, just the grumblings of the jealous or the self righteous.

Maybe it’s because we like to think we’re smarter or better than others. Maybe we like to think we’re taking down the rich and powerful a notch or two. Maybe it’s just natural.

Whatever the case might be, those people who become popular, the ones we all recognize as soon as we hear their name, they’re just as human as the rest of us. They have many of the same faults as do the rest of us. Can you say you would do any better if you suddenly found yourself rich and famous? Maybe you would say that, but is it really true? Can you realistically imagine the temptations of suddenly finding yourself wealthy, and if not beloved at least known by millions of people?

Many of us would fall short of perfection. Heck, maybe all of us would. We like to think we would do better, that we would be smarter and even more ethical, but would we really? Some would and some would not.

However, as I said, those who sit upon high are only human. Yet we often expect them to be better than ourselves, even better than themselves. Is that fair? Does it matter?

In a way, it does. If we expect those who are rich and powerful and popular to act moral and always do the right thing, we can’t do anything about them, but we can do something about ourselves. If they aren’t going to set an example for the rest of us, then for a sane and safe world, we need to be the ones who set the examples.

We need to be the heroes of the world.

I’m not just talking about big things, about being overly heroic. I’m not only talking about pulling a person from a burning building or jumping in front of a car to snag a puppy and pull it out of the way. In part, I am talking about those things, but mainly I’m talking about the little things.

I’m talking about giving a smile to a person who holds a door open for you. I’m talking about saying kind words to someone who is helpful to you or others. I’m talking about going out of your way to be helpful yourself.

I am not talking about yelling at someone simply because they don’t agree with you about something, about anything. I’m not talking about puffing up your chest and trying to act all bold simply because you saw something with which you do not agree. I’m not talking about running your mouth, being a braggart, shouting and screaming about minor so-called injustices just because you’ve been inconvenienced or don’t get your way while true injustices are taking place all over the world.

I’m talking about doing little things that make someone’s day a little brighter.

That might not seem overly heroic, and maybe it’s not. But in a world that appears to be growing darker and darker every day, a little kindness can be a heroic act.

Be a hero.