The hero’s journey applied as a life strategy

There are life strategies that can help us live better, or at least improve our understanding of existence. One such strategy is a narrative concept that refers to a recurring pattern. It is the “hero’s journey” or, as many call it, “monomyth.” It is so peculiar that we can find this strategy included in many movies. Harry Potter, Star Wars, Batman or The Lord of the Rings include it, but it is also present in other great characters such as Buddha, Christ, Ulysses or Gilgamesh.

The hero's journey

The hero’s journey is a concept widely used in cinema

Recently, the American Psychological Association conducted a study on people who used the “hero’s journey” to make their lives more interesting.

The results obtained are a reduction in depression and a notable improvement in facing challenges.

The narrative of the monomyth or hero’s journey is not something discovered recently. It was identified by the American writer Joseph Campbell in 1940, studying mythology and comparative religion.

Influenced by the great psychoanalyst Karl Jung, Campbell identified 17 elements in the “hero’s journey.” Subsequently, these elements, and also their studies, were applied by countless theorists and are still used today by many experts.

Theorists and academics who studied Campbell’s writings summarized and condensed the original 17 elements into just 7. The result of that research was published with the title “Seeing your story as a hero’s journey increases the meaning of life ”.

Detail of the seven elements
  • Main protagonist (which is oneself)
  • A change of circumstance (it could be a trip, an adventure, even if it doesn’t happen as we expected)
  • The search for a solution (find the answers to get out of the crisis)
  • Allies who support us (friends, family or circumstantial people who are present)
  • A challenge (something we intend to do)
  • A personal transformation (which we learn during the challenge)
  • The legacy as a final result (the achievements achieved at the end of the “journey”)

Taking each of these points into account, it can be seen that Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Bilbo and even Christ followed those steps.


Those who follow this pattern transform their perspective

In a study carried out in the United States, researchers collected data from 1,200 people, and then applied the search for the 7 elements in their stories. The result was published in the journal Scientific American. It turned out that people who included more elements in their stories gave more meaning to life, had more prosperity and less depression.

The scientists then encouraged people to retell their stories, but this time including elements of the “hero’s journey.” This helped them see their life from the perspective of the “hero’s journey,” which made it seem more meaningful.

However, it is not about being like Harry Potter, Bilbo Baggins or Luke Skywalker or pretending to live in a fantastic world. It’s about seeing things from another perspective.

With the knowledge of the “hero’s journey” in mind, we can find motivation to face new challenges and improve the lives of those around us.

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