I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the notion of Hero, and its multitude of faces….
In a world where they say the only constant is change, I’ve decided rather that the only true constant is our own Hero’s Journey – made up of the universal human condition and the individual pursuit of identity, meaning, purpose, and fulfillment.
Each one of us is on that journey, whether we’re consciously aware of it or not. Each one of us is on a quest to uncover our deepest truths, our reason for and significance of being alive, our individual gifts, strengths, and capabilities, and our own unique path to fulfilling and attaining success on that quest.
What’s more, we are all each other’s heroes on that journey. Every single experience and every single person we encounter on that Life Quest are our greatest sages, teachers, mentors, role models, and sources of inspiration, growth, and change.
Each and every person, and each and every experience, both positive and negative, both affirming and denying, is your hero in some way on your journey to become your best self, realize your dreams, create your best life, and in turn – be a hero to others.
There is always something you can learn, some way in which you can grow or change, or some new insight or perspective you can gain from someone else and from each experience. Always. Everything matters. And everyone matters. Even when the lesson learned or the insight gained is knowing when it doesn’t or they don’t matter.
Growing up as a child, my favorite stories were always fairytales, quests, and mythology – I understand why now. As an adult, and still growing up, one of my favorite books remains The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – the story of Santiago, the shepherd boy on a journey to realize his “Personal Legend.”
That story is representative of our Hero’s Journey in life. I believe that just like Santiago, we are all on a journey to realize our own Personal Legends. There are many lessons and passages from that story that speak to my truth and to my own Hero’s Journey. These are just a few of them; perhaps they will speak to yours too:
On Free Will and Being The Creator of Your Life: “It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”
On Realizing Your Dreams: “People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
On Listening to Your Heart: “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”
“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.”
On Passion: “There was a language in the world that everyone understood, a language the boy had used throughout the time that he was trying to improve things at the shop. It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired.”
On Fear: “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams….”
There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”
“People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.”
On Gratitude: “When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”
On Living in the Present: “Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. You’ll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.”
“The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.”
On Changing Your World to Change The World: “That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”
“No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.”
On Commitment, Resolve, and Determination: “When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he has never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”
On Hope and Possibility: “I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does.”
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
On Getting Back Up and Not Giving Up: “The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”
“Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.”
On Living Your Truth: “If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
On Taking Action: “There is only one way to learn. It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.”
So, as you embark on your Hero’s Journey to realize your dreams, become your best self, and BE the Hero that you are – remember to remember that everything and everyone you encounter is your teacher and your hero, just as you are mine.
And, as always remember to Seize Your Passion! Every day. Every moment. All the time.
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