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October 21, 2019

Who is your hero?

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A question we were asked a lot as a kid but hardly ever any more is “Who is your hero?”. It’s funny because the answer was so meaningless then, but it’s everything now.

My hero is my Grandpa, Paul Shaw. It wasn’t until recently that I realized he has been the strongest driving force in my life, even though he has been deceased for over a decade. He was a standout college student-athlete, and that’s all I wanted to be. He was a successful entrepreneur, and here I am trying to make a name for myself and create something that matters like my grandpa did. But most interestingly, he is my biggest fear. Let me explain.

My grandpa grew up the son of immigrants in a Brooklyn superb. His father wasn’t around and his mom was terminally ill for most of his childhood, so he had to keep himself alive. From these beginnings, he earned a scholarship to play college basketball at Harvard, graduated Summa Cum Laude, and was awarded a government grant to start his career. He overcame extreme hardship to make a name for himself, and my biggest fear is that I don’t know if I could do the same if I were to face significant, unrelenting, survival mode adversity. In fact, that is my biggest insecurity.

That’s why he is my hero because he excelled in the area I see myself most deficient. He is the example I need in the face of my greatest fears, and he is the strength I strive to emulate in my own life. I don’t think it is uncommon for heroes to be born out of fear, and I think that’s part of the reason why I look up to him so much. It comes as the most sincere gesture of respect. So I ask you this: Who is your hero, and why?

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