Hero’s Journey: Why Your Life Is an Epic

heros journey
Joseph Campbell was an American writer and lecturer who was best known for his work on mythology. He examined myths across cultures, generations and centuries and realized that all great stories converged around the same concepts and followed the same narratives. This narrative was later called the Hero’s Journey. A Hero’s Journey is a path that we are all on, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we can start turning our lives into the epic tale it was always meant to be.

Hero’s Journey

Living your life as a hero in a movie may seem fictional, but who doesn’t want to be able to watch their life movie back at the end of their life and feel like it was an epic adventure, with mysteries, goddesses, challenges, triumph and revelations throughout?

What we are exploring (with the help of The Matrix) is how we have failed to realize we are the hero, our lives should follow such a narrative and the story should be one worth telling.

We need to take charge and make a change in our lives, and the following steps will tell you exactly how the Hero’s Journey applies to your life’s journey.

The Hero’s Journey

Section #1. The Call To Adventure and Refusal of the Call

When we have an opportunity to do something, however out of our comfort zone it may seem, we have to see it as a call to adventure and take advantage of the fortunate chance we’ve been given.

We can think of many reasons why we shouldn’t do something but they are all based around fear. Fear of failure and of the unknown. The hero’s story tells us that we are capable, and this part of the story is a natural barrier to break through.

“This first stage of the mythological journey—which we have designated the ‘call to adventure’—signifies that destiny has summoned the hero and transferred his spiritual center of gravity from within the pale of his society to a zone unknown….Often when the call is given, the future hero first refuses to heed it. This may be from a sense of duty or obligation, fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, or any of a range of reasons that work to hold the person in his or her current circumstances.”

Joseph Campbell –The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Stage #2. Supernatural Aid and The Crossing of the First Threshold

When we have committed to the new journey, we’ll be helped along the way in some unexpected way. From people we never expected or from a source within ourselves we didn’t even know existed.

As we leave our comfort zone, we notice the rules in the new surroundings are different. This will be challenging and the area beyond this threshold will seem dark and dangerous. The unknown will always appear dangerous, but we must find the courage to venture out.

“Once the hero has committed to the quest, consciously or unconsciously, his guide and magical helper appears, or becomes known. More often than not, this supernatural mentor will present the hero with one or more talismans or artifacts that will aid them later in their quest….With the personifications of his destiny to guide and aid him, the hero goes forward in his adventure until he comes to the ‘threshold guardian’ at the entrance to the zone of magnified power.”

Joseph Campbell –The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Stage #3. A Change in Perception, Initiation and The Meeting With the Goddess

By taking this journey, we let go of some of the characteristics and attachments we had to allow a new and developed version of ourselves out. This close encounter with death is a metaphor for the transformation that must take place.

We will encounter some tests, both physical and mental and we will fail some of them. The important thing is to expect that you will fail along the way, even drastically, but you must go on.

We experience a rush and a thrill once we pass the tests and trials of the earlier stage. This feeling of exhilaration is expressed as love, either for the path you are taking or for someone in your life.

“The hero, instead of conquering or conciliating the power of the threshold, is swallowed into the unknown and would seem to have died. This popular motif gives emphasis to the lesson that the passage of the threshold is a form of self-annihilation….Once having traversed the threshold, the hero moves in a dream landscape of curiously fluid, ambiguous forms, where he must survive a succession of trials – The ultimate adventure, when all the barriers and ogres have been overcome, is commonly represented as a mystical marriage of the triumphant hero-soul with the Queen Goddess of the World.”

Joseph Campbell –The Hero with a Thousand Faces

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Stage #4. Woman as Temptress and Atonement with the Father

Along the journey, we will face temptations to give up and accept the mediocre victory that we have accomplished. The temptress is a metaphor for the things that may distract us from our eventual goal. Strong focus on the goal and your Hero’s Journey is very important here.

At this point in the myths and stories, the hero will meet a strong figure that holds great power. This is the resistance that we must pass if we are to succeed. Whether its a person holding us back or a new challenge, we must overcome it and keep going.

“The crux of the curious difficulty lies in the fact that our conscious views of what life ought to be seldom correspond to what life really is. Generally we refuse to admit within ourselves, or within our friends, the fullness of that pushing, self-protective, malodorous, carnivorous, lecherous fever which is the very nature of the organic cell … Atonement consists in no more than the abandonment of that self-generated double monster—the dragon thought to be God (superego) and the dragon thought to be Sin (repressed id).”

Joseph Campbell –The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Stage #5. The Ultimate Boon

When we pass this stage, we reach the thing or achieve the goal that we set out to accomplish. In the myths and legends, the prize is often immortality or some form of supernatural remedy, but in life this is a new set of skills, a more confident and strong character who is ready for the new and bigger challenges to come.

The rest of the story covers the return journey and the trials that the hero faces, but we’re only focusing on achieving our goal. Now we can celebrate this small victory, take stock of what we learned and keep moving forward.

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Dr Prem Jagyasi and Team (C)

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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