The End of an Adventure…or just the beginning?

If you’re unfamiliar, there was a screenwriter named Joseph Campbell who wrote a book detailing the idea of “the hero’s journey.” If you look to the movies, literature, poetry, music, or even life itself, most often the people or characters you have most revered have followed some version of the hero’s journey.

The journey typically starts with our hero being called upon to perform a task or to go on a journey. The hero starts off being reticent and scared. Through some convincing or reflection, the hero eventually accepts his fate where he then goes off to train to prepare for his journey. Once adequately prepared he embarks upon the journey wherein he eventually succeeds in slaying the dragon, saving the princess, freeing the people, etc.

Think: Alexander the Great, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, Frodo, Harry Potter, Bella Swan, King Arthur, Katniss Everdeen, Anastasia Steele, Neo from the Matrix, Odysseus, Hercules, Wonder Woman, Elsa, Shrek, Simba the Lion, Babe the Pig, and so on.

Pretty much every character in history and literature follows the same path. Along the way they meet a cast of colorful characters, explore beautiful territories, and open our imaginations to that which is limited only by our own creativity. They accomplish feats typically left to myth and legend. In the case of history, they often become legends in their own right. (Were Socrates, Leonidas of Greece, Helen of Troy, or Joan of Arc real people? We don’t really know.)

Once the journey is complete the hero then returns home to realize that they no longer recognize the place they call home. For you see, it is not their home that has changed so much as it is they who have changed. At this point, of course, they realize that they are destined to be an adventurer, an explorer, a philosopher or, in some cases, the rightful king. So the question then becomes: what’s next?

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately reflecting on the idea of “destiny.” It’s an idea I think most people don’t spend enough time thinking about. Rather than worrying about what makes you happy or what you could do that might make other people happy. Begin thinking about life in terms of “purpose.” Are you here for a reason? And if so, what is that reason? I think many people could become much happier if they started following their destiny rather than their passion.

Humans are evolutionarily programmed to build. (It’s the reason children love Legos and Tinker-toys, why business people create products, and the reason we left the African jungle in exchange for the concrete jungle. It’s in our nature to build and create, we can’t help it.) So another way to think about destiny lay in deciding: what do I want to build?

Behind doctoring, I believe teaching is the most noble profession in the world. And frankly, that’s what I believe I’m destined for. Not in the traditional sense (ie classrooms, tests, chalkboards) but in a new way. A way that is more suited toward the next generation and the future (VR anyone?). So the goal is to use my journey, my experiences, my love for technology, and my expertise to help others along their journey; to build a platform that enables and encourages the next generation of entrepreneurs and free-thinkers.

So while I’ll miss my friends from business school and can’t help but feel a bit reflective at the moment, I also don’t mourn things coming to an end. I feel like things are just beginning. I have the training and the skills, now it’s time to execute. See you on the other side.

Written by

Freelance writer and professional gig-worker. I mostly write about the impact of technology on business & culture. Find me on twitter @chasebanderson.

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