What is a hero's most defining, and perhaps most vital, power? Is it herculean strength, a sharp mind, or web-shooting fingertips? No, deeper than everything else lies the core of a hero. In Iron Man (2008), billionaire playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) is attacked by terrorists, kidnapped, and mortally wounded. In the process, he receives a new heart that also provides him with extraordinary power, on which he builds the Iron Man suit. This power is both external (the power of the Iron Man suit) and internal (the core power within Stark).
Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) pleads with Stark to give up his hero's journey, in order to protect his company and his personal safety. In response, Stark says,
"There is the next mission and nothing else... I shouldn’t be alive, unless it was for a reason... I just finally know what I have to do. And I know in my heart that it’s right."
Stark's biological change of heart also emboldened and encouraged him. It gave him courage.
But, what is courage? The root of Courage is "cor," or the Latin word for heart. Courage is from the heart. It starts with integrity - being true to ourselves (knowing what is in our hearts), being authentic with others (reflecting what is in our hearts), and being able to know (and act on) right from wrong. Courage also derives from our compassion for others, and our desire to help them.
It is no coincidence that our hearts are the centers of our selves, in every way. It is the center of our power, and therefore without courage, there is no power.
Know thyself, and possess thy power.