The 365 Commitment

The Hero Journey

You have been taught this concept of the Hero’s Journey your entire life. Since the time you could play with Star Wars action figures or even My Little Pony, you have been taught the Hero Myth. Joseph Campbell was the author of this concept, and he was certainly a genius. You can go to YouTube as search Joseph Campbell and Hero Myth and you see thousands of people that have uploaded explanations for your review. However, best to go to the source. The book was titles the Hero with a Thousand Faces. I remember the day that I discovered this book, by accident really. I was in a university library, and I just grabbed a random book and started to read. This was a game that I played in college. Just grab a random book without looking at titles and start reading for at least an hour. Well, that is how I found Joseph Campbell. Interestingly enough, my father also discovered his writings in college and we had never talked about it until he saw me reading the book one day!

His own genius aside, Campbell’s ideas are not new. They are just collected nicely and analyzed by him in a way that helps make sense out of different religions, myths, legends and really guidance on how to live. I would say that the original ideas came from humanity itself, or perhaps thinkers like Carl Jung who introduced the idea of archetypes to our language. Anyway, the hero journey is a path that we are taught in our movies, in our stories, in our culture. The pattern is repeated throughout human society. Which leads me to this interesting thought. You are your own hero.

I remember listening to someone give a presentation in which they talked about the secrets of success. She described her finding a mentor who guided her through the wilderness of her pursuit and helped her overcome difficult obstacles. You can probably name several Hollywood movies where this exact thing happens. Luke finds Yoda. However, in real life, we are also constantly looking for this same poetic scenario. I need a mentor, or I need a teacher. If I go to college, then I will learn. Here is the challenge, the finding of a mentor that will give you step by step instructions for success is very rare. Hardly ever happens. Usually does not. You can sit around and wait all that you want to, but there is never going to be a Sean Connery that magically shows up in your life and gives you sage but tough advice.

In fact, you can also believe if you want to, that you can go to a University and that people there will teach you how to be successful or exactly what to do. There are some professions where this occurs a little bit. For example becoming a Doctor, Lawyer or some other regulated profession. However, even then you will discover no magical genie that guides you through what to do to find success or how to become the hero. You are really, absolutely and truly, on your own. Now you can ask for advice, but be wary. The thing about the road least travelled is that there are rarely people on the same path as you!

This concept, that you are your own hero is true in all aspects of your life. It is easy to spot for the young man wishing to become something. They want to go off to college and learn to be a successful business man for example, only to quickly find out that the University is not doing much more than teaching you what you could have already found in books. Success as it seems is more about showing up on time, meeting deadlines, and going through steps in the process then it is about learning anything significantly. Ultimately, you realize quickly that in order to be successful you have to figure it out yourself. Most people that surround you are not that successful themselves, especially in a University.

As you get older this still occurs, but it is harder to spot. No one is going to teach you how to excel at your job or your career. Sure people will tell you what to do all the time, but teach you exactly how to succeed? To become the hero? Nope, they have no clue themselves so how could they teach you? Be the heroic father? The amazing mother? The perfect spouse? The best leader? All of these are things that you just have to learn yourself. You could get really lucky and find someone willing to take the time to teach you these things and actually knows how, but lets be honest with ourselves. The Hero Journey is a thing of Myths. There is no force and there is no Yoda. Interesting if you read listen to the advice of Yoda to Luke Skywalker with this in mind, “The greatest teacher, failure is.”

Guy Reams

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