Since I was a kid I’ve been interested in differences. I knew every person was special. I understood that the singularity about you was that you were brought up differently than me. That your experiences and your relationships and your beliefs were one of a kind and that your life couldn’t be the exact copy of mine.
That doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a problem realizing how differences worked. And how much effort you actually needed to invest in order to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
I began to rely on stories to understand the world and the human interactions.
My favorite Disney movie has always been Mulan, this ordinary girl who decides to step forward and risk her own life to save her father’s by taking his place in the army. This happens after she tried to make her family proud and ended up feeling like a failure. The beauty of all of it is that despite being terrified, she did what she thought was necessary and even after a long path of hardship she found herself. Not only did she save China, she made her family proud and most of all, she discovered she was worth much more than she ever could have dreamed.
When I was in college I finally recognized what I’ve been obsessed about my whole life. It was “The Hero’s Journey”.
Because Joseph Campbell studied mythology and psychology he came across some parallels in our history and our stories. Later he made this fundamental structure in which all fantasy is created. It’s this list of steps that take a normal person through an unexpected life changing journey to become better. That ultimately results in he or she becoming a hero.
This short video illustrates how this theory was implemented in a lot of motion pictures that we know and love:
Of course this can ruin some surprises or make movies less special because you start to understand the mechanic of storytelling but for me it was something different. It helped me grow.
I’ve learnt that courage and bravery are not born with us. They’re the result of being scared to death and still doing it anyway. They’re the result of resiliency and a lot of fighting against our own natural instincts to run and hide.
Heroes and villains are not born. They’re made. And they’re both trying to do the right thing. Is just that villains are only thinking about what’s best for themselves or what they think is right without thinking about other people’s feelings or situations. Without giving everyone the liberty to make their own choices. Without putting themselves in the other one’s shoes.
A hero doesn’t need to be the strongest person alive or the bravest. But he or she has to have incredible empathetic abilities and compassion skills.
But if you look at the real world this just means that anybody can be a hero if they have what it takes to face the journey. To be strong and bold and able to find their own path while never forgetting about everyone around them. To display their noble character.
I wish I could just say ‘My journey to be a hero starts today!’ but it doesn’t work like that. In fact, it takes a lot more than that. Maybe we all just need to follow our bliss.
“The adventure is its own reward — but it’s necessarily dangerous, having both negative and positive possibilities, all of them beyond control. We are following our own way, not our daddy’s or our mother’s way… Life can dry up because you’re not off on your own adventure.
There’s something inside you that knows when you’re in the center, that knows when you’re on the beam or off the beam. And if you get off the beam to earn money, you’ve lost your life. And if you stay in the center and don’t get any money, you still have your bliss.”
What do you think about looking at life from this perspective? How do you feel about heroes?