What are some of your favorite shows, movies, or stories? Who out there inspires you today? There are probably several instances of the hero’s journey in the stories you love and the people you are inspired by. Chances are you’re familiar with this concept, where someone starts out life relatively ordinary, goes through an adventure, faces challenges, and then evolves into this better, more successful and experienced person who’s earned their reward. Sound Familiar?
As with most people, you’ve probably projected the hero’s journey onto yourself more than once in your life before. You might have been going through a rough patch and told yourself that this is the thing that I must go through right now in order to get to where I need to be. Maybe it worked and kept you going for a while. Maybe it really was the thing you needed to go through right now in order to get to where you need to be. But maybe it also gave you anxiety and stress and did not help at all. Maybe it made things worse.
This is actually not a helpful way of seeing things.
Oftentimes there are multiple paths to destinations, and you don’t have to take the most challenging path to get to a there. A lot of obstacles we face are actually easy fixes in hindsight that sometimes require a little bit of patience or discipline. We place ourselves through a made-up hero’s journey which is actually just a mix of different things.
Here’s what your made-up hero’s journey actually is:
1. Bad Planning
You are digging yourself out of a hole that you shouldn’t have dug yourself into in the first place. Yes, you will get yourself out of it and get to where you need to be, but this could have been avoided with good planning.
2. A Lack of Perspective
Things are actually not going that bad right now; you just happen to think that they are. These so-called hardships are created in your own head and you’re going to get from point A to point B if you show up. What you should do every day is count your blessings, relax, and enjoy the ride.
3. Poor Goal Setting Skills
“If only I could get this and that done, I would be here and have this and my life would be great.” I hear people say this all the time. I used to be someone who also thought that achieving big goals had determined the quality my life. Through my own experience, I understand now that goal setting is a skill. If you fail to set smaller, well timed, achievable goals, you’re going to feel like trying to hit a large goal is a difficult task, and your brain will automatically go into hero journey mode. Set smaller, achievable goals, and you’ll forget about any big prizes as good things continuously come your way. You’ll also start having a lot more fun instead of feeling you’re on some big grind.
Having seen a lot of people speak about their struggles in the context of a hero’s journey and personally making the same mistake in the past, I can say that it was not the best mindset to be successful. It’s also important to note that if you are in a situation that feels out of control such as a bad work environment or being in a toxic relationship, don’t feel like this is part of a hero’s journey. Just change your situation despite the risks and complexities involved. Enjoying life and building yourself towards success and happiness are not mutually exclusive things.