I was thinking about popularity - at work, in school, in readership- and it occurred to me that heroes tend to be fringe characters. They are not the popular jocks, or the VP's on the rise or even bestselling authors... Really good heroes/heroines are fringe characters. They feel ignored, left out and small. They look at other's lives and wonder why not them - think Cinderella, Eve Dallas, Harry Potter.
They all start out feeling as if they are struggling against class, circumstance, loneliness, abuse. Then discover the hero inside themselves. They may not change, but how they view themselves, their world... that changes. It makes for a great story... but it's also a good metaphor for life. So, when you are feeling small, ignored, like you can't catch a break and wishing you were someone else, remember...the best heroes feel the same and it doesn't make them any less a hero.