What Are the Characteristics of a Hero?

Among the many traits of heroism are a willingness to help others due to a strong moral belief system and a desire to protect moral values at all costs, states About.com. Empathy is another common characteristic exhibited by heroes. People who act heroically care about the well-being of others.

In addition to being empathetic, heroes are able to look at life from another person's point of view and consider what someone else may be thinking or feeling in a given moment. Many heroes have a healthy sense of self-confidence in their ability to handle a situation. A hero's optimism leads him to believe that he can meet any challenge head-on and come out of it successfully. This trait is especially evident during a crisis.

Sometimes, a person acts heroically because he knows that he has the training needed to perform a rescue. For instance, someone with lifeguard training may spring into action to save a young child from drowning. Also, it's not uncommon to hear stories of restaurant patrons performing the Heimlich maneuver to help someone who is choking. However, what often separates heroes from everyone else is an ability perform heroic feats during crisis situations, when fear keeps others at bay. Rushing into a burning building to save people or pets is an example of fearless heroism.