Steven Pressfield is one of the world’s masters of the creative process—which is why we keep on coming back to him and his wisdom.
Today we’re going to talk about his take on Joseph Campbell’s wisdom that the great life is, basically, one hero’s journey after another.
Campbell tells us to think about it on a macro level. As we’ve discussed, in Pathways to Bliss he puts it this way: “The hero journey is one of the universal patterns through which that radiance shows brightly. What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There’s always the possibility of a fiasco. But there’s also the possibility of bliss.”
In The Artist’s Journey, Pressfield echoes that wisdom while making some great distinctions.
Here’s one of the most powerful distinctions: He tells us that we need to think of the hero’s journeys of our lives on a MICRO level. Like SUPER micro.
For example, he tells us that, on any given day in his studio, Jay-Z has, on average, about TEN THOUSAND little micro hero’s journeys.
TEN THOUSAND hero’s journeys?!?!
How is that possible?
Well, let’s look at the basic arc of the hero’s journey. It goes something like this.
The hero is called to adventure. The hero (generally speaking) initially refuses that call. Then the hero musters the courage to answer the call (or not!) and crosses the threshold into the unknown (or not!). The hero gets guidance from a mentor, fights dragons, wins (or not!) and returns to the world with his gifts.
That archetypal myth plays out in the grand epic stories like Star Wars and The Matrix. And, if we allow it to unfold, in our individual lives.
Pressfield, says, it doesn’t just happen a few times in our lives, it happens ALL DAY EVERY DAY.
When you (or Jay-Z) sit down to do your Deep Work—whether that’s to write a song or to create a strategy to help your employees Optimize or to write a piece of software or whatever it is for you—your inner daimon whispers in your ear, sharing the kernel of what could be an awesome idea.
That’s a call to adventure.
You can choose to answer that call by leaving your doubts at the door and pulling the creative thread, or you can squelch it with self-doubt and timidity.
(Or, of course, you could have hopped online into Reactiveville before even going Deep and, as a result, never get to experience that micro-call and, thereby, potentially suffer from an ineffable dissatisfaction with your life that you can’t quite place—but that’s the topic for another +1. 🤓)
Your soul whispers a creative idea in your ear. Do you dare to answer the call to adventure?
That’s a micro-hero’s journey.
The Muse (or daimon or guiding spirit or whatever you want to call it), whispers another inspired idea. Repeat the process.
10,000 micro-hero’s journeys in any given day for the best among us.
All day every day. Moment to moment to moment. We’re called to adventure. We’re called to express the best within us.
Each time we’re asked, “Do I dare?”
That’s Today’s +1.
Do you dare?