LearnKill Your Heroes


Josh Long
writes on April 22, 2013

I have a lot of heroes. So many people that I see online impress me with great work, thoughts, and creativity every single day.

So much so that I spend more time in admiration and thought than I do in creation. This is backwards and unproductive to say the least.

I think it’s a good thing to study and admire the work of others, but I think it’s counter-productive to have heroes. I say “Kill Your Heroes”. The people that we look up to are no different than we are. They still wake every morning with their own routine and their own ambitions for the day. They have the same fears, challenges, set backs, and epiphanies.

The difference is that they ship. Even if it’s something incremental, the people that we admire ship some form of work almost daily. They write, code, build, make, paint, draft, and anything else related to producing something of note.

The irony of all of it is, that once you start to be known as someone that makes, ships, and creates, your heroes will eventually come to you.

If you have no body of work there is nothing more than the potential discussions of one-way flattery.

Build something great.

Then you’ll have something to bring to the discussion.

Kill your heroes. Their work is great but it’s no more than you’re capable of.


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17 Responses to “Kill Your Heroes”

  1. Heroes are extremely important to the motivation process. Will power can only get you so far. There has to be some sort of attractability in our goals. But if your point is that we shouldn’t simply dawdle on their work without self motivating ourselves, then yes I totally agree.

  2. Such a nice article

  3. Josh, you’re right when you said that heroes are no different in us. They also feel and experienced as ordinary people. Anybody can be a hero. Only if you also learn their heroic character.

  4. Josiah Vito on April 22, 2013 at 5:12 pm said:

    Don’t spend your time thinking about your heros, just shut up and write the code you are being paid to write. Or get out of the industry so someone who can/will write the code can keep their job. If someone is writing better code than you are, find out how they are writing it better and glean from their knowledge.

  5. Josh, I feel this way completely… But I will also say people’s “Heroes” most of the time are no better at what they write about than the people whom read their articles. I am speaking specifically about Chris Coyier. I will admit, he has started some great projects, and for that he has been turned into a “Hero” to web developers and designers, but the following he has created is tremendous. In my opinion, which can be applied to EVERY field, the heroes are the ones that you don’t know about, the one’s that find a solution to every and any problem, regardless of the difficulty. I appreciate what Chris Coyier does and respect him because he made it where he is, don’t get me wrong… I just am a firm believer of the idea behind your article.

    We can sit and read all day, keep up with standards, follow the best blogs… But if we aren’t building our own projects and providing solutions to problems, we might as well be just another visitor on a blog’s analytics.

  6. Charles Albert on April 22, 2013 at 10:37 am said:

    Sorry, Josh, but I couldn’t disagree more. Heroes help give us goals and sense of purpose. I strongly recommend you read this article: http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/ethicsoutlook/2005/heroes.html

    • Luis Ascorbe on April 22, 2013 at 11:33 am said:

      Obviously, there have to be balance. It’s good for you to have people to admire, but I think this post is more like: stop “reading” and start “doing”.

    • That’s a great article. Thanks:) I wasn’t trying to say “don’t have heroes”. I was mostly saying don’t spend all of your time in awe of them and wishing you could work with them. If you see them as someone just like you, but they’ve released great work, then you can see that the only part missing is doing your own work:) Thanks for reading!

  7. you are right in every word
    please may I have your permission to translate this post into my mother language and share it for all .

  8. Luis Ascorbe on April 22, 2013 at 9:42 am said:

    Great reflexion, I’m going to kill my heroes ;]

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