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what is the hero instinct

The Hero Instinct: How Can You Trigger It In Your Man?

You’ve probably heard about the hero instinct by now.

It’s a fascinating new concept in relationship psychology that some say holds the key to making a man fall in love with you and committing to a relationship over the long haul.

But what is the hero instinct? Is it legit? And how can it help you with your relationship?

In this article I’m going to:

  • Give you a no BS explanation of what the hero instinct really is.
  • Explain why men need to feel like heroes (hint: it’s deeply rooted in our biology).
  • Reveal how you can trigger it in your man.

My goal is simple: To tell you everything you need to know about the hero instinct.

No fluff. No hyperbole. Just an extremely practical explanation of the hero instinct and how it can help you in your relationship.

Let’s go.

What is the hero instinct?

hero instinct in men

You probably have a picture in your mind about what a hero is.

In Hollywood, heroes are everywhere. They usually involve a man taking center stage and saving the people he cares about, especially a woman. The hero is strong, brave, and full of integrity.

Do regular men want to don a cape and save entire cities from villains like we see in these films? Is turning your man into Thor the key to triggering his affection for you?

Not exactly.

The hero instinct is less about Hollywood and more about the basic biological urge men have to feel needed and wanted.

According to the hero instinct, men are driven by three basic things in life:

  • To live a meaningful life and feel appreciated for his efforts
  • To provide for those he cares about, including his family, friends and especially his romantic partner
  • To be respected by those around him.

If you’ve spent any time with a man, you’ll instantly realize that this all makes a lot of sense. Men come in all shapes and sizes, but these 3 psychological urges are common to us all.

The simple truth is that your man doesn’t necessarily want to be an action hero. But he does have a biological urge to be a hero to the woman in his life.

(Click the button below to watch an excellent free video by James Bauer, the relationship psychologist who popularized the hero instinct)

Why he wants to be your hero

When a guy falls in love, he becomes naturally protective of his love interest. This is basic male psychology.

When you’ve had an argument with a friend, he’ll naturally take your side. When you cross the road, he’ll put his body on the side of the traffic.

He can’t help it.

Even if he is afraid to admit that he loves you for whatever reason, he won’t be able to control his actions of wanting to protect you.

A study published in the Physiology & Behavior journal shows that male’s testosterone makes them feel protective over their mate’s safety and well-being.

He might not have told you in words that he loves you. But you see it in everything that he does. You see it in the way he looks at you. You see it in the way he acts around you.

He shows it in the simplest gestures that touch you in the deepest ways.

Who coined the term ‘the hero instinct’?

James Bauer introduced the term ‘the hero instinct’ in his best-selling book, His Secret Obsession.

I read this book cover to cover and wrote my review of it here.

James is a relationship psychologist who has worked with thousands of men and women to help strengthen their relationships.

By carefully studying the dynamics of his clients’ relationships and researching male psychology, James discovered what he believes is the key to a happy relationship: triggering the hero instinct in men.

As a trained psychologist and bestselling author, James Bauer is the real deal.

And the popularity of hero instinct has catapulted James Bauer into being one of today’s leading relationship experts.

<<Watch James Bauer’s excellent free video about the hero instinct here>>

What does the hero instinct mean for you?

what is the hero instinct

The main takeaway of the hero instinct is this: Instead of making your guy feel unessential, you need to make him feel wanted and needed.

This doesn’t mean women need to come across as weak. Although you may not need a hero, you do want a man who feels like one.

Your guy probably knows you can do most things on your own. And he probably respects you for it.

But there isn’t any harm in letting him take charge once in a while to fulfill his biological urge to step up to the plate for you.

He wants to have your back. He wants to be your rock. You just need to let him be this once in a while.

The alternative is that a man who is in a relationship where his hero instinct isn’t triggered is much less likely to stay in that relationship.

If you’re with the man you want to be with (or at least plan to be one day), is your pride in your unwavering self-sufficiency worth losing this relationship over?

I don’t think so.

What I think of the hero instinct

I see a lot of the hero instinct in myself.

All men have an innate drive for meaning, respect and to provide for the people we care about. We want to dedicate ourselves to the things and people that are important to us.

I know I certainly do.

And I’m probably not your stereotypical guy.

I have a strong interest in psychology, Buddhism and eastern philosophy. I’ve even written books on Buddhism and mindfulness. I don’t like drinking all night, I don’t know how to change a flat car tire, and I’ve never wielded a power tool in my life.

But when it comes to being in a relationship, I want to be her hero. In fact, if a woman can’t tap into my hero instinct, our relationship wouldn’t last very long.

All men have the same primal instinct to protect and provide for the people we care about.

Even new age men like me.

But hasn’t society moved on from the whole ‘primal instinct’ thing?

No we haven’t.

The central assertion of the hero instinct is that men have a primal instinct to be a hero. We are hardwired to provide for and protect women and to be respected for our efforts.

In 2020 it’s politically correct to argue that gender stereotypes are outdated and that the only differences between men and women are socially constructed. However, just because something is politically correct doesn’t make it actually correct.

In this case, the view that there are no gender differences is completely wrong. There are still big differences between men and women because of our biology.

Men are still driven by the same instincts we’ve always had, even if we’re not always consciously aware of them.

For thousands of years we’ve wanted women to desire us and to need us. We want to make sure women are safe. We want to satisfy them.

For a man, stepping up to the plate for a woman is still a pretty big deal.

Yes, times have changed and women today are as capable of looking after themselves as any man.

But does this mean that you should just treat your man as an accessory? As someone who is ‘nice to have around’ but not essential in your everyday life?

No, because your man still wants to provide for you and protect you, as much as any man in the past always has.

How to trigger a man’s hero instinct

Today a man can’t be your hero by protecting you from wild animals or warmongering tribes.

However, there are still many ways to trigger the hero instinct in the 21st century.

While James Bauer’s free video is the best place to start, here are another 5 simple ways that you can trigger the hero instinct in your man starting today:

  • Ask for his help. If you need something fixed around the house, or your computer is acting up, or if you have a problem in life and you need some advice, then seek him out. A man wants to feel useful. And he wants to be the first person you turn to when you genuinely need help.
  • Show your appreciation. When he does something genuine for you, tell him how much it meant to you. This is just basic human psychology. Men want to feel appreciated as much as women do.
  • Boost his confidence. Remember how I mentioned earlier that one aspect of a man’s hero instinct is to be respected by his peers? Well, this means not belittling him or putting him down around others. This one’s a little more ego driven, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with protecting a man’s ego.
  • Make sure he knows he makes you happy. When it comes to providing for a woman, a man wants to do more than just make sure there is food on the table and a decent roof over her head. He wants to make her happy. Whatever your man does to make you happy, tell him this.
  • Encourage him to be his best self. This probably won’t come as a shock, but a man’s life doesn’t entirely revolve around women. Men need freedom to pursue other things, be it exercise, their bonds with mates, or heck, even fantasy football. Encourage him. Make him feel he’s living his best life and being with you let’s him do this.

At the end of the day, a man cares less about how beautiful you look or what a firecracker you are in bed, and much more about how you make him feel about himself when he is around you.

This doesn’t mean you need to act meek and weak around him. You certainly don’t need to pretend to be someone you’re not.

The goal here is simply to allow your man to step up to the plate. That’s all men really want. To be there for a woman when she needs him to be, which ultimately fulfills his desire for meaning, respect, and being a provider.

Your man will feel better about himself and he will see you in a whole new light – which will only lead to a better relationship between the two of you.

Want to learn more about the hero instinct?

My explanation of the hero instinct above, including my tips for triggering it in your man, is just scratching the surface of what this fascinating concept is all about.

If you think the hero instinct is the real deal, like I am, then I highly recommend you check out His Secret Obsession by James Bauer.

The book tackles the issues that affect women everywhere, including:

  • Why men can lose interest after their initial attraction in a woman wears off
  • Why men don’t want to commit long term, even when the relationship seems to be going so well.
  • Why men can pull away suddenly and stop communicating with their partners.

The central premise of His Secret Obsession is that women have to tap into a man’s hero instinct. And this is a practical guide with simple strategies to do just that.

You’ll learn the exact phrases you can say, texts you can send, and little requests you can use to trigger his hero instinct.

After reading the book, you will be armed with everything you need to know to:

  • Get the guy you like to commit to you and gain his love and devotion over the long term
  • Strengthen the bond you already have, no matter how cold and distant he’s become
  • If you’ve been through a break up, rekindle his interest in you and get him to chase you again.

James Bauer doesn’t pretend to be a dating “guru”.

He simply outlines simple truths based on male psychology and his own experience working with women and men over the last 12 years.

Learn more about His Secret Obsession by James Bauer here.


Why do men crave feeling needed and wanted by the women they are attracted to?

Blame natural instinct and deep-rooted biology.

Instead of fighting against it, you need to empower your man by triggering his hero instinct.

Look at it this way.

Women who understand the hero instinct that all men possess are the ones who will likely go on to have loving, long-term relationships.

And the ones who fail to acknowledge this innate drive in men, and don’t allow him to step up and provide for them, are the ones who will continue to have short term, unsatisfying relationships that eventually fizzle out.

I know which type of women most would prefer to be.

(Click the button below to watch an excellent free video by James Bauer, the relationship psychologist who popularized the hero instinct)

His Secret Obsession Review

My rating: 4.8 out of 5

What I liked

What I didn't


His Secret Obsession by James Bauer is the most comprehensive and insightful dating book I’ve read.

It contains the wisdom of a relationship expert with 12 years in the industry, as well as tips and strategies based on concrete human psychology. The hero instinct is a fascinating new take on what drives men romantically.

If you found value in this review, please consider clicking on a link in this article (like the button above) to buy the book. It helps keep the lights on for Hack Spirit and food on the table of all our writers!

$47 from the official website

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Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.
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