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A Heroes Journey

Have any of these people touched your heart recently?
Harry Potter, Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Ironman, Wolverine, Black Panther, Hulk, Cinderella, Bambi, Snow White, Luke Skywalker, Simba (Lion King), Maverick, all of the X-Men, Kung Fu Panda, Aladdin, Tarzan, Buzz Lightyear, Peter Pan, Ariel (Little Mermaid), Bilbo Baggins, Wall-E and many more….
What do they all have in common?
You may be surprised to learn that every character listed is an orphan or a semi-orphan (separated from at least one parent).
The Orphan Hero is not new in storytelling.
Is it a coincidence?
So, what is the purpose of creating such characters?
May it somehow represent a journey that all of us need to go through?
There are usually different parts to a typical storyline.

The Storyline

Firstly, there is usually some kind of awakening story shaped by adversity of some kind.
Secondly, as the hero’s journey commences, there is a provocation of sorts that stimulates an awakening, frequently with a mentor on hand (usually older).
Thirdly, on their journey, the hero discovers some purpose, or true identity and embraces their own authenticity.
Through triumph and tragedy these movie characters have all played into large chunks of our life’s.
Without their parents, we are drawn into the storyline by the insecurity that is created. Perhaps we even start to imagine how we’d react to such perils in our own life.
Subsequently, the characters are all forced to deal with the challenges of the respective storyline and almost always faced with one or several transformational experiences.
As a coach and mentor, I’ve noticed that there is frequently a guide who plays a special part in the journey.
For example – Gandalf, Yoda, Obi Wan Kenobi, Dumbledore, Alfred, Xavier and many more.
Generally, these characters have a central role in the story and oftentimes eventually disappear.
The Hero’s Journey is in fact a formulaic template used successfully for generations.
Although formulaic, this journey is open to all of us.
Consider the adversities and challenges you have overcome in your own life.
What story are you living?
Do you have a mentor or guide?
What makes a real hero for you?

Courage

Courage is the great need of our time.

Courage requires consequence.

If there is no cost, no risk or consequence, then courage is easy – and empty. In fact, as consequence rises, so does the amount of courage needed to take a stand.

The word courage is defined as “mental or moral strength to … persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”

I believe it is in our very nature to admire those who stand against the odds and withstand danger – many great leaders come readily to mind. One who is currently rising on the world stage received a standing applause in the House of Commons this week.

However, simply stated, courage is meaningless without consequence.

Consequence

“Courage is the form of every virtue at the testing point. Pilate was merciful until it became risky.” CS Lewis.

Courage to accept the inescapable truth that greatness can never be achieved without adversity, a struggle that is prerequisite for growth.

Edmund Burke shared this.. “Adversity is a severe instructor, set over us by one who knows us better than we do ourselves, as He loves us better, too. He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper. This conflict with difficulty makes us acquainted with our object and compels us to consider it in all its relations. It will not suffer us to be superficial.”

A measure of our success in life will be determined by our response to adversity and the courage that you have as you wrestle with the problems, that will strengthen your nerves and sharpen your skill, just as Burke said.

Indeed, courage is the power to let go of the familiar and face up to the unknown.

We are faced every day with situations that require courage and strength.

What courageous actions will you take today?