Perspectives on Hero’s Journey Stories
In fact, it's the other way around.
What Is a Hero?
Perspectives on Hero's Journey Stories focuses on a particular type of story—the hero’s journey. In this type of story, an ordinary person becomes a hero by going on a journey to save others from some dangerous threat. The hero makes sacrifices and takes risks for the benefit of others. An essential characteristic of a hero’s journey story is the change in perspective of a hero-to-be about his or her own identity and abilities.
What’s the Problem?
Most of us love hero’s journey stories. Hero’s journey stories have become the foundational structure of many Hollywood movies. Consider the Star Wars series. George Lucas made the connection with hero’s journey stories explicit based on his study of Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces. Although stories about heroes have been around for a long, long time, Star Wars was the beginning of consciously-created movies following the hero’s journey formula. The Harry Potter series of books and movies are also textbook examples of how people discover their true identities as they become heroes who save others from harm. These are two notable examples of blockbuster movies based on the hero’s journey model.
The problem is that we love to read and watch hero’s journey stories, but most of us live from a first-person perspective. It’s all about the famed trio of "me, myself, and I." Our self-focus has been encouraged by various forms of psychotherapy and self-help work. It’s hard to be a become a hero who makes sacrifices and takes risks for the benefit of others when most of our attention is focused on ourselves.
The Life-Changing Question
How would your life change if you replaced your first-person perspective about yourself with another perspective? You can change your focus from first-person “I” to second-person perspective “you.” You can also change your focus from first-person “I” to a third-person perspective that focuses attention on something you choose to create.
Hero’s journeys require courage to face dangerous obstacles. Would you be willing to undergo your own hero’s journey for the benefit of someone or something other than yourself?
Hero's journey stories have the potential to change the lives of people who read the stories, see them acted out in movies, or observe people who act heroically. They also have the power to persuade you to make heroic changes in your life.
The statement by Terry Pratchett gets to the heart of the matter. Your stories shape you. If you are dissatisfied with your life, heroic stories can be powerful teachers to change your perspectives on who you are and what you can become by going on your own life-changing hero's journey.
The life-changing question is: How would your life change if you changed your perspective from victim to hero?
Find out more about life change and stories in my book How to Get Out of the True Self Trap: The Life-Changing Secrets of Heroic Stories. By Kalinda Rose Stevenson, Ph.D.
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