Han Solo

Why You Need Hero’s Journey Stories

by Kalinda Rose Stevenson

Hero Stories and Self-Identity

Hero's journey stories can change your perception of your own self-identity.

The idea of a hero's journey was made famous by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, published in 1949. Since then, the hero's journey model has become the foundation for many Hollywood movies. George Lucas was explicit about his use of Campbell's hero's journey story structure in Star Wars. Other blockbuster hero's journey movies include the Harry Potter series, Indiana Jones series, Lord of the Rings series, and Titanic. These are only a few early examples of movies that follow the structure of a hero's journey.

Campbell didn't invent the hero's journey structure. His book made explicit what has been the foundation of stories told throughout human history in many cultures. The key idea is that an ordinary person sets out on a journey to save others from some sort of threat. The hero's journey often begins with initial resistance to accepting the "call to adventure." In the process, the hero-to-be undergoes a life-changing process through a series of encounters. Some encounters introduce the hero-to-be to allies and some introduce the hero-to-be to dangerous adversaries. The journey ends successfully when the ordinary person becomes a hero by traveling to the location of the threat and defeating the threat at its own location.

Although it's easy to see these stories as clichés when you're watching a movie, these hero's journey stories have much to teach you about how to change your life. The essential point in all of this is that the ordinary people who become heroes begin with a perception of self-identity that does not see themselves as heroes. As they accept the challenge, they change their minds about what they can do and be.

Perceptions of Your Self-Identity

Hero's journey stories tell us the universal truth of human life. Life consists of one problem after another. Just as soon as you solve one problem, two more pop up, and you have to solve them too. Solve those problems, and more problems pop up. This is life. Problem after problem after problem.

Heroic stories show you that ordinary people become heroes because they dare to solve the problems that suddenly intrude into their lives, forcing them to DO something. The heroes start out afraid, confused, unskilled, and unsure of what they are going to do, but they persevere. They find a way to solve the problems or they die trying.

Hero's journey stories change your life because they teach you have more capacity to solve your problems than you imagine.

[Original Post August 10, 2016]
What are your thoughts about heroic stories? Have you been inspired by particular movies or books in ways that changed your life? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.

My book, How to Get Out of The True Self Trap: The Life-Changing Secret of Heroic Stories,  challenges the assumptions of self-help work that treats you as a problem to be solved. This tendency is deeply rooted in religious and psychotherapeutic beliefs about fixing what is wrong with you. In contrast, heroic stories are about ordinary people doing extraordinary actions in response to some outer challenge. In the process, they discover that they are capable of far more than the imagined.

Available on Amazon in either Kindle or paperback versions. Click Buy Now From Amazon to get your copy now.

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