And did they get you trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change? And did you exchange
a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
— Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
I rented the movie Transformers last week. Now hold on just a minute before you give me a hard time. Sometimes you just need to chill out with a mindless movie. I never watch TV so once a week I give myself the opportunity to indulge my inner child and watch a fun movie. And this was actually very fun!
But I’m not writing this to get you to go out and rent Transformers. (Although I know you want to!) No, this is about your life. Isn’t it always?
You see, as I was watching, I started to think about why we have so many action/adventure/sci-fi movies and why I enjoy them so much (especially the sci-fi ones). And as I was watching and thinking about it (so much for mindless!) Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero with a Thousand FacesÂ popped into my head. Now you’re probably wonder what the heck does Joseph Campbell have to do with the Transformers? Not a lot, really. But somehow through my warped grasp on reality I managed to tie them together!
If you don’t know Joseph Campbell, he was perhaps the most famous and influential mythologer of the 20th century. And, let’s face it, as sad as it might be, these movies are a major part of our cultural mythology. I mean I grew up on Marvel comic books and those little suckers provided the stories and myths that I needed to make it through an otherwise life draining childhood.
And whether myths are stories told around a campfire, or tales told during a sweat lodge ceremony, or action adventure movies watched in 3D, they server a purpose. And that purpose is to remind us that we are the heroes of our lives.
We’re all on a hero’s journey. Whether or not we know it, our lives are the journey and, like it or not, we are the hero! The problem is that most of us never realize that we’re the hero on the journey of our life because our lives don’t very often resemble the Transformers or Lord of the Rings, or the Matrix, or Live Free or Die Hard.
Mostly we think that our lives are just, well, normal.
But that’s where we’re wrong. Our lives are anything but normal. And we get to choose, in every moment, whether we’re going to be the hero in our life, or if we’re going to watch our life pass by.
Remember the scene in Three Kings (another one of those hero myth movies) where George Clooney explained how courage worked to one of the other guys.
The way it works is, you do the thing you’re scared shitless of, and you get the courage AFTER you do it, not before you do it.
Well that’s how life works, even if you’re not in the Iraqi desert trying to find Saddam’s gold. Except that in our “normal” lives the things that we’re scared shitless of don’t seem like they should be all that scary. So we don’t think that our lives are an adventure or a journey. And we don’t think that we’re the heroes. But we are.
But every time we do the thing we’re scared shitless of – things like saying yes when the boss asks for someone to do a presentation, or starting our own business, or telling someone welove them for the first time, or asking our crush out on a date – we’ve stepped into the role of hero in our life.
So stop waiting for your life to turn into an adventure and start living as if it’s an adventure now!
Stop waiting for the moment when you have to be “heroic” and start looking for those moments right now, every day.
You don’t have to be battling Megatron to be a hero. Your battles are happening right now, even as you’re reading this. Ask yourself, “What would a hero do, if he or she was living my life right now?” And then go and do it!