The most important thing that myths teach us is that anything is possible. And the one story within all the great mythological stories is called The Hero’s Journey — the story about the person who goes out and does great deeds on behalf of the group, the tribe, the community.
And so our parents bought us Batman pyjamas, Superman T-shirts, Spiderman comics, and Wonder Woman videos. These heroes devoted themselves to an ideal and transformed themselves and their lives in the process. To us, they were people who made a difference, and they captured our imaginations.
At the same time, it was always clearly stated, “You can admire, dream about, and pretend to be a hero, but you are not one, and you will never be one. You will grow up and get a real job, and do what normal people do”.
And so after two decades of learning and working, we end up on the ‘normal people’ treadmill, and can’t get off. We don’t take the road less travelled, and we don’t walk down the path of the hero. Instead, we halve ourselves, and then we halve ourselves again until we become a tiny fraction of our true potential.
And the one thing that continues to keep us small is our fears. We fear our own power, passion, and anger. We fear being different, and not fitting in. We fear standing out and being rejected by others. We fear the awesome consequences of our drive to do extraordinary things. Fear gets the better of us all.
And yet, The Hero’s Journey still beckons. It’s in each of us, like an itch that gnaws away in the middle of the night. Sometimes we need this story more than food. And deep inside we know that the only way to walk down the path of The Hero’s Journey is to push through our fears.
A journey always begins with the first step, and the first step in The Hero’s Journey is the Call To Adventure. It may be a direct threat to your safety, your family, or your way of life. Or it may be something far less dramatic – a phone call, a conversation, a chance meeting, a sudden realisation of something.
Whatever the call is, and however it manifests itself, it ultimately disrupts the comfort of your ordinary world, and presents a challenge or quest that must be undertaken.
We can all be heroes. I believe that what you do with your life is what makes you a hero. So listen out for your Call To Adventure. Do something that gives you that moment of inspiration. And once done, follow your quest. Magical things will happen.