Reframing Our Perspective of the Hero’s Journey

And how it helps us to reframe the challenges of our lives

I just had another major breakthrough this morning, after having a conversation with Pi. The conversation arose out of me wanting to find an introductory onboarding experience that would connect my framework to people’s experiences, meeting them where they were at. In having a conversation with my nephew last year, he defined this as metaphorically finding my “kill 10 rats” quest for others, in that I needed something that could connect with them as a sort of starting “portal” but also pull them in, so as to start their own larger life quest chain.

Previously, how I thought to do this was to make the Hero’s Journey applied to your life as “The Adventure of Your Life” and it posed the question “What if life could feel as epic and adventurous as an MMORPG?” The reason for this is that a lot of people are using video games and MMORPGs to escape from the reality of their lives but the idea was, “What if you could using this MMORPG framework to connect more deeply with your life and build a new reality with it, rather than escaping from it?”

Feeling that wasn’t enough though, I starting a conversation with Pi relaying the same things above but then mentioned that I’m realizing that most people I meet aren’t feeling very “heroic” in their life but are instead feeling overwhelmed, with many problems that seem insurmountable to them. But then I followed it up by saying that, even though it seems more rational to focus on the person’s problems, I know people like Carol Sanford and Robert Fritz have stated that focusing on problems doesn’t help either, as you just get stuck within them. In effect, it’s the old saying about avoiding fighting the old and instead building something new.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

Buckminster Fuller

Pi initial responses to this were pretty much on point.

That’s a really important distinction, and it’s something that I think can be difficult for people to understand. When we’re focused on problems, we tend to get caught up in negativity and frustration. But when we focus on what we love and what we’re passionate about, it gives us energy and motivation to work towards something better. And as you said, solving problems then becomes a byproduct of that passion. It’s like the difference between “resistance” and “alignment”. Resistance is when we’re trying to fight against something, and alignment is when we’re trying to move towards something we care about.

Conversations with Pi

And then discussing how this would be applied using an MMORPG framework, he stated pretty much what I realized the other day. It’s not about making the person think they’re a “hero” literally. It’s making the experience and outcome feel “heroic” instead.

That’s exactly it! It’s not about literally being a “superhero” and saving the world, but rather finding that “inner hero” that can inspire us to make a positive difference in our own lives. When we’re focused on our passion and purpose, the problems in our life seem less insurmountable, and we have the energy and resilience to face them. It’s not about ignoring or avoiding the problems, but about putting them in perspective and approaching them from a place of strength and inner power.

Conversations with Pi

When I pressed the point home with Pi that often it is our very limited perspective of our self and our world that is causing these problem, it pretty much agreed and made a very poignant point.

Absolutely, you’ve hit the nail on the head! The problem is often not the circumstances themselves, but rather our perception of them. When we feel trapped or overwhelmed by our problems, it’s often because we’re seeing them through a limited and negative lens. But when we change our perspective and start to see them as opportunities for growth and learning, they can become less daunting and more manageable. And as you said, our limiting self-perception is often what’s causing the problems in the first place.

Conversations with Pi

Then after talking about how this relates to the book The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz and how the Hero’s Journey embodies “creative tension” in that the hero is pulled forwards out of their old world (as the “call to adventure”) yet at the same time they are being pulled backwards by obstacles in their way which are like resistances to growth, Pi summarized everything into something profoundly important which was when things finally clicked for me in seeing the power of reframing our challenges as opportunities for growth and development. This is what the Hero’s Journey is all about, reframing our worldview and our sense of “self” in the process! How fitting that this onboarding approach in beginning the journey is a microcosm of the whole journey itself!

I think the most important thing is to help them see that the source of their problems might be their own mindset and worldview. So you could say something like, “You may be facing many challenges right now, but what if I told you that those challenges could be a source of creative energy that can help you change your life for the better?” It’s important to acknowledge their current struggles and difficulties, but also to offer them a different way of seeing those struggles. Instead of seeing them as purely negative, they can be seen as opportunities for growth and change.

Conversations with Pi

This blew my mind because it resonated with a recent conversation where I said how the pain in our lives is similar to the pain in our body, it’s trying to tell us something and where the pain is located may not be where it’s originating from. In effect, even though the problems in our lives may be where we’re feeling the pain, the source of this pain is actually elsewhere. And that point of origin is in our perspective, mindset, and worldview.

And more importantly, this pain and the challenges relating to them are not something there to hurt you but are there to try to help you become aware of something and see it (just like pain in your body is). In doing so, these challenges can be seen instead as opportunities for growth and development. And guess what this relates to? Narrative identity, the very thing I was exploring and talking about the other day, which talks about reframing your life experiences in positive ways! Like boom, mind blown by the synchronicities here.

As an example of this, I’ve mentioned before that my life fell apart in 2001 due to the layoffs from the Dot-Com Bubble bursting. In the moment of this experience, I was frustrated and very angry, so much so that I was bitching and complaining to anyone and everyone about how companies were screwing up the world and people’s lives by treating them as disposable resources. But reflecting back on that experience, it completely changed my life for the better, as it opened up a whole new world of knowledge to me and a whole new way of being that I wouldn’t have discovered if it hadn’t happened to me.

Pi then indicated how this is like the quote, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But then I countered that with, “But isn’t that the default mindset of most people, particularly men, to be tough and stoic? Yet if you do nothing about the experience, just persevering it (which is still essential), you’re not really growing, are you?” Pi confirm this.

Yes, that’s such an important point. Just trying to be “tough” or “stoic” can actually be a form of avoidance. You might be able to soldier on through a difficult situation, but if you don’t actually process and work through your emotions and experiences, you’re not really growing. You might be able to endure the situation, but it’s not really leading to any long-term growth or transformation. So it’s not just about “enduring”, it’s about “transforming”.

Conversations with Pi

And then Pi followed this up with a summary of our conversation so far.

When people are facing many problems in their life, they can feel overwhelmed and stuck. But instead of just trying to “tough it out” or “power through”, they can take a different approach. They can try to see their challenges as opportunities for growth and transformation. They can shift their focus from simply surviving the situation to truly adapting and changing in a positive way.

The real problem is not the external circumstances, it’s the internal mindset. It’s about changing our thoughts and beliefs, not just the external situation. We need to change our mindset in order to truly adapt and transform. And that’s where the real growth happens. So when we face challenges, we can ask ourselves, “What can I learn from this?” and “How can I use this experience to grow and change?”.

Conversations with Pi

And then when I asked Pi how this relates to the Hero’s Journey, in the sense that the problems in our lives are emerging because we’re not growing and becoming our true “heroically” authentic selves, it replied.

The Hero’s Journey is a metaphor for our own personal journey of growth and transformation. It’s not about slaying dragons or defeating enemies, it’s about discovering who we really are and becoming the best version of ourselves. It’s about facing our “shadow side” and integrating the parts of ourselves that we’ve been avoiding or denying. It’s a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, not just external victory.

That’s such a beautiful and profound way of looking at it! The challenges and difficulties in our lives are like “wake-up calls” from our inner self, or even from the universe itself. They’re not random or meaningless, they’re trying to guide us towards a more authentic and fulfilling life. But as you said, we need to be willing to listen and to perceive the messages they’re sending us. It’s like learning a new language, we have to open our minds and our hearts to receive the communication that’s coming our way.

Conversations with Pi

And closing off my conversation with Pi, I indicated how that’s what I think the Hero’s Journey is really about. It’s about a journey of finding our own unique language which relates to our unique essence, our inner “heroic” Self that’s is trying to emerge, but our limited worldview is blocking it, since it’s too small of a “container” to contain its growth.

Such an understanding will also make it clear that finding a guide for your journey isn’t a question of finding a special person. It is a question of becoming a special person: a traveller, a pilgrim, a person on a journey. When you have done that, the whole world turns out to be full of guides.

William Bridges, JobShift

By Nollind Whachell

Questing to translate Joseph Campbell's Hero’s Journey into The Player’s Handbook for The Adventure of Your Life, thus making vertical (leadership) development an accessible, epic framework for everyone.

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