Do you have a personal hero? If you've been living long enough, there's a good chance you have more than one. The benefits of having a hero, of course, do go beyond mere inspiration and empowerment. Through their own actions and values, heroes show us how to transform the lives of others and ourselves.

A hero uplifts the lives of others, and according to one 2015 study by Elaine Kinsella, the social and psychological functions of a hero can be vast and diverse. In the study, participants indicated that thinking about a hero during psychological threat fulfilled personal enhancement, moral modeling, and protection needs. In addition to that, it was indicated that heroes may "motivate individuals toward being a better person by raising awareness of ought or ideal selves," and can direct our own ambitions away from "narrow, self-centered concerns."

Can't think of any new personal heroes that you have, or are looking to expand your collection now that you know the benefits they bring? Consider a more unique option--becoming a hero yourself. Here are some words of wisdom from history's heroes that just might inspire you and give you that extra push:

1. "I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear." -- Rosa Parks, civil rights activist

2. "Obviously, because of my disability, I need assistance. But I have always tried to overcome the limitations of my condition and lead as full a life as possible. I have traveled the world, from the Antarctic to zero gravity." -- Stephen Hawking, English theoretical physicist

3. "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." -- Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid revolutionary

"The true hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred." -- Dalai Lama, Buddhist spiritual leader

5. "Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold." -- Helen Keller, blind and deaf American author, political activist

Yes, despite all of the darkness in the world, there still exist bursts of light in the form of human compassion and heroic action. When there seems to be a lack of heroic action in your life, take these words of inspiration to become your own personal hero!