Fictional characters often have a distinguishing characteristic in a way that real people don't. Whether it's their fatal flaw or their quintessential credo, their lives and experiences are tied to it. So while an individual character is usually not well-rounded enough to be a wholesome role model, a few can be.
I've been wanting to write about this for a while, but only recently was I able to explain it clearly to a friend. As you can guess from the title, my three fictional gurus are d'Artagnan (of The Three Musketeers), Atticus Finch (of To Kill a Mockingbird), and James Bond (mostly the Daniel Craig incarnation).
The first, d'Artagnan. He's a 19-year old man from rural France striving to prove himself among the Musketeers, the 17th-century King's guard. Above all else, he is fiercely passionate. He invests himself wholeheartedly in everything he does and everyone he loves. And to his friends, he is unconditionally loyal. "All for one, one for all." No questions asked. Though he's a little hot-headed, I strive to live with the same fire and contagious enthusiasm that he does. Life is too short to be bored.
Atticus Finch. He's from Harper Lee's coming-of-age novel set in the pre-Civil-Rights-Era American South. Gregory Peck's portrayal in the film was amazing, and I highly recommend watching it. Atticus is the model of integrity, empathy, and humility. He lives and acts justly, especially in the face of peer pressure and adversity. I really try to live up to his code of ethics and standards of humanity, but I haven't been tested quite like he has.
Bond. If you see him only as a womanizing assassin, you're probably very confused about what exactly I am emulating. Above all, I admire his calmness under pressure, his focus on the task at hand, and his absolute refusal to make excuses. The odds are always against him, but he never complains.
I am not any one of these men, nor am I the perfect combination of the three. However, I do strive to live with passion, integrity, and resilience. And when these simple words are insufficient, I look to these guys. For if they can offer me guidance, they are real enough.