Adventures And Why You Should Have Them
Adventures are not just for jedis and hobbits. They aren’t contained solely within the pages of a novel or the frames of a movie. Adventures are for whomever pays attention – and has a little courage. You don’t even need to have outstanding life experiences to grow into the hero or heroine of your own story – chances are, you can make the right choices every day.
In his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell analysed how the myths of humankind – regardless of culture or time period – usually work around the same structure: the hero’s journey. From Jesus to Luke Skywalker, our stories always end up resembling each other… whether we are aware of it or not.
Let’s think about this for a minute.
The founding myths of humanity, all based on the same plot.
First, there’s the call to adventure (“Yer a wizard, Harry.”), then its refusal (“But I’m… just Harry.”). The hero crosses the threshold (the barrier to platform 9 3/4) and faces trials and tribulations (Wingardium Levi-oooo-sa, a troll, a chess game and a big bad wolf at the end). Temptation leads the hero to the abandonment of their ego (“Give me the Sorcerer’s stone, I’ll bring your dead parents back”, “I’m okay thanks.”). Finally, the transformed hero returns home with his newfound wisdom and skills (“You could threaten to give your cousin Dudley a pair of ears to go with his tail.”).
This cycle goes on and on across stories.
- So why do I claim that we can all be our own hero? What does that have to do with narrative structures?
Oh, just about everything.
These stories resonate with us for a reason. We live them all the time.
We, my friend, are living stories.
We make the choices and the mistakes of the characters we love – or rather, they echo our choices and mistakes. It doesn’t matter which comes first. But it is important to recognise that where our own narrative takes us is ultimately down to ourselves. We were each given a different origin story and a singular set of hardships to overcome.
It is up to us to learn to recognise our allies and mentors; to accept the call to adventure when we are given the chance; to fail until we succeed and come out a better person. It is up to us to keep up the courage to go through that cycle every day, every month, every year. If you accept to be your own story’s hero, then you get to decide what meaning to give to life. (Damn!)