Everyone has read or watched a movie in which the hero overcomes some form of adversity. Defeating the evil villain, saving a life or many lives. As all good writers know, the recipe to heroism is very simple. Someone embarks on a journey of some kind that begins with the hero being cast into some form of dangerous, unfamiliar world. Challenged with completing a daunting task, the hero receives help along the way, often from an unexpected sources. After facing the obstacles, challenges and trials, the hero succeeds at his or her challenge.
All too often, we overlook the key to the hero’s success in his journey. It’s the acquisition of an important quality that they did not already possess. All heroes, just like ourselves, start out “incomplete” in some shape or form. They lack some essential quality they need for success, to complete their “quest.” The quality could be anything from self-confidence, resilience, faith, compassion or some fundamental truth about ourselves or the world around us.
The question is, what are we missing? What is it that is holding us back from becoming the heroes of our own lives? To bring this into more modern terms, what are we missing to become successful?
There are lots of us, millions of people like you and I who don’t yet know what quality it is that we are missing. We may not have faced circumstances that revealed what it is we are missing. We may not yet have encountered people who challenge, and/or guide us, to strive toward that quality and hopefully beyond.
In many movies and books, we see just that: a mentor or teacher who helps the hero make it to the next level.
In many hero stories, the heroes discover their personal shortcomings and receive help from those around them to acquire those missing traits and fix their shortcomings. All our lives are very similar to a hero’s journey. We strive toward new goals and objectives, each time acquiring more and more qualities we need to succeed.
Here are four things you can do to bring out the hero in you — not necessarily in this order.
- Make an inventory of your personal strengths and weaknesses.
- Develop a list of your life goals.
- Assess what’s missing to achieve your goals. Figure out which traits you need to acquire, and what negative traits need to be removed.
- Find mentor figures to help you.
Many of us start out at the fourth one. A good mentor can help with identifying strengths and weaknesses, and figure out exactly what qualities are missing to achieve your goals. A great mentor will be brutally honest about what qualities are missing and how to go about getting them.
Even more common than those of us who start out with a mentor, many fail, and fail badly, before willingly being able to ask for the help of a mentor figure. Learning from our failures and getting help from mentors is a sign of healthy human development.
Identifying and acquiring missing qualities is the key to successful missions completed by the heroes of Disney and old Epics. The discovery and occasional recovery of these traits is the basis of the transformations they undergo during their quest. The heroes we enjoy hearing most about are those we encounter in stories where they discover their faults and successfully transform themselves.
Similar to the heroes of Disney, each and every one of us can successfully become a hero in our lives. Go out and face the journey of life. Identify what it is you want to do, what you need to acquire to get there, and become the heroes you want to see in the world.