21 Dec The Hero’s Journey
In the late 1980’s, a man by the name of Joseph Campbell came out with a concept that shed light on a lot of the movies we love to chomp popcorn to. He showed us that around 90% or more of the movies we love to watch, all carry practically the same themes, pivotal plot points, and overall storyline.
He coined it The Hero’s Journey and it gave us the insight that the majority of the stories we love, are told much the same, and consist of us meeting a main character, coming to the understanding that they aren’t very happy with their life, and watching them be lead to what is known as a ‘call to adventure’.
After our hero takes the call, we watch them meet a mentor along the way; gain insight, perspective, understanding, and clarity; face the antagonist; and come out victorious the other side. All whilst saving their world around them and themselves, and walk away with a whole new outlook on life. And in some cases, the princess, too.
Take Luke Skywalker’s story for example. We meet him on a desert planet where he’s stuck looking after a moisture farm and taking orders from his aunt and uncle that never let him do anything. We watch him struggle and battle with his day-to-day life before he runs into his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
He accepts his call to adventure after he finds his (spoiler alert) carers dead from a Stormtrooper attack, and we watch him go through a journey of discovery, where he learns about the force, an antagonist Darth Vader, and eventually, saves the galaxy, himself, and gains a lot of new insight to life.
Or, take Neo from The Matrix. We meet him hating his life stuck in an office in a dead-end job, until his call to adventure to follow a white rabbit shows up and he is eventually lead to that infamous red or blue pill choice scene. After he accepts the red pill, his journey begins, and we watch him face bullet-dodging antagonists, learn, grow, and eventually become (spoilers) the chosen one and save the world around him.
The same underlying story exists almost everywhere you look. I mean, take Bruce Wayne, Frodo, Peter Parker, Simba, Aladdin, Dorothy, even Alice Liddell. All of their stories revolve around a concept that we’ve all grown up watching and loving. The same formula that we, seemingly, just can’t get enough of.
But, what about your own hero’s journey? You may not always see that we are living our own journey every day, and that we have the power to pull the strings of our lives at any given moment, but our struggles, our trials, our tribulations, all of them, eventually lead us to who we are and where we are.
Our journey can consist of hardship, loss, gain, happiness, success, discovery, friendships, insights, understanding, revelations, growth. At any time. Sometimes, all of them. I mean, Donald Trump started his life with just a small loan of a petty one million dollars. So believe me, it’s not just you and I that struggle with things in our lives.
Whilst of course an obvious call to adventure may not present itself to us too often, it can always be there. Perhaps you just haven’t looked for one, or accepted a recent one. Regardless, we all have the chance to chase one and pursue whatever life we want. We all have the chance to live each day doing something that we just can’t get enough of.
Yes, we need money to do a lot of things. Yes, that “secure” job might allow you to buy that new TV or go on that holiday once a year, but what if you got to the end of it all and realized that perhaps, just perhaps, you could have given more in life? Done a little more? Chased a little more? Dreamed a little bigger?
Who knows, maybe it’s not over just yet and you still can. Maybe you still can chase that call to adventure and live through an entirely different journey and experience something else, grow just that little bit more – that little bit different.
Even if you’re reading this at age 70, who says you can’t do something with the remaining 20-odd years you have? Hell, that’s practically an entire life right there. Using the ‘too old’ card, or blaming the lack of time that you have, hardly seems worth the energy, right?
After all, as another year approaches an end and 2016 being just around the corner, don’t be another one of those “I’ll wait till next year” kind of people and never actually do it when the year arrives. Even with the first day of the year landing on a Friday, don’t let that be another reason to hold off from starting something you’ve been wanting to do.
Attack it now. Chase that call to adventure. Why wait any longer? Your own hero’s journey might just be around that corner. All you have to do is look for it.