Donald Miller wrote a great book called Hero on a Mission.
As you can imagine, as a guy with HEROIC tattooed in rather large letters on my left forearm, I am magnetically drawn to the word “Hero,” especially when I find it in the title of a book. 🤓
And, I’m glad I did. It’s fantastic.
Donald is a great writer who integrates wisdom from Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning into our Heroic missions.
His inspiring, to-the-point style of writing reminds me of Steven Pressfield and a bunch of his books we’ve featured. (Check out our Notes on The War of Art, Do the Work, Turning Pro, Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t, and The Artist’s Journey for more.)
And, as you’d expect seeing that this is a book about a modern Hero (that would be YOU!) on a mission, Donald also touches on Joseph Campbellian themes throughout. (Check out our Notes on A Joseph Campbell Companion, The Power of Myth, Pathways to Bliss, and The Hero with a Thousand Faces for more.)
Donald tells us that…
“In stories, there are four primary characters:
1. The victim is the character who feels they have no way out.
2. The villain is the character who makes others small.
3. The hero is the character who faces their challenges and transforms.
4. The guide is the character who helps the hero.”
He continues: “As you read a story or watch a movie, you feel sympathy for the victim, you cheer for the hero, you hate the villain, and you respect the guide. These four characters exist in stories not only because they exist in the real world but because they exist inside you and me.”
Those are the very first words in the Introduction.
The Victim. The Villain. The Hero. The Guide.
Those are the four characters we find in any given story AND they are the four characters we each play every day.
As Don tells us: “In my life I play all four characters every day. If I’m faced with an unfair challenge, I usually play the victim for a minute, feeling sorry for myself. If I am wronged, I dream of vengeance, like a villain. If I come up with a good idea and want to make it happen, I switch into hero mode to take action, and if somebody calls and needs my advice, I play the guide.”
Helping us make the shift from victim/villain to hero (and ultimately guide!) is, of course, what the book is all about and, of course… It’s also WHAT ALL OF OUR WORK IS ABOUT.
What role are YOU playing these days?
See if you can pay a little more attention Today.
Choose your roles wisely, Hero!