Author's note: This week is the second in a 12-part series on the Hero's Journey, or the monomyth proposed by Joseph Campbell. The second stage is the Call to Adventure. Wake up.
The Ordinary World has you...
In much the same way that Neo and others (The Matrix, 1999) experienced a world that had been pulled over their eyes to blind them from the truth, so we, too, have had our eyes and minds drawn to impulse-driven experiences, and away from meaningful and purposeful existences.
We live the repetitive rhythm of an average, everyday, mundane, normal, ordinary, and altogether routine world.
I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. (Fight Club, 1999)
Are you frustrated by the status quo?
Like Neo, you may ask yourself, "Why do I always have to be The One?"
There was a moment, when I used to blame everything and everyone for all the pain and suffering and vile things that happened to me,... I didn't get no answers 'cause I was asking the wrong questions. You have to ask the right questions... Has anything you've done made your life better? (American History X, 1998)
Do you invest in a cause or issue you care about, or do you say "not now" and wait for a day when you have enough money or time, forgetting when the day never comes?
Do you tackle the challenges in your organization, or do you tell yourself you've "done your time," and that the next generation of leaders can deal with it?
You see the opportunities to do something different.
You see the opportunities to speak out or to stand up.
You see the opportunities to transform the world, if even for just one person.
You tell yourself that you want to be more than you are.
You tell yourself that you want to do more for others than you do.
You tell yourself that you want to find within yourself more courage, more power, and more strength than you ever imagined possible.
All of this is waiting for you.
What do you do?
It is not a call for achievement, for perfection, or to reach a specific destination. It is the Call to Adventure, the call to accept a challenge, to embark on a journey, and to discover a new way.
To venture is to not know the destination and the outcome, only the path and the process.
Because you have been down there, you know that road, you know exactly where it ends. And I know that's not where you want to be. (The Matrix, 1999)
What can you do?
You can try. Try something adventurous. Try something different. Try something new. Go beyond the average, everyday, and ordinary choices for which so many others settle. In other words, make extra-ordinary choices.
Above all, try.
The answer is out there, and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to. (The Matrix, 1999)
The greatest challenge each and every one of us faces is becoming ourselves, becoming everything that is within us, and demonstrating that power with consistency through action, regardless of the external or internal pressures we face. To do this, you have to look within, and then answer: Who are you? How do you see yourself in the world?
What will you do?
Are you ready to embark on a journey to transform the world, if even for just one person?
What if that one person is you?