Full Definition of journey (merriam-websters.com)
1: an act or instance of traveling from one place to another: trip
2: chiefly dialect: a day’s travel
3: something suggesting travel or passage from one place to another <the journey from youth to maturity> <a journey through time>
Journey is a word that is simple to understand, except when we ask ourselves, “what’s my journey?”
A journey, most of the time, consists of a purpose, but when I ask people what their purpose is, some get a confused look on their face and some haven’t even considered it. If you don’t know your purpose then you’re not really on a journey. I think you’re on a ride that someone else is controlling.
Are you a passenger in your life or are you the driver of your life?
Great movies and books consist of an individual’s journey to get the prize. Whether that’s acquiring wisdom, a physical item like a ring of power, winning the heart of the person you love, or conquering the enemy – which sometimes is ourselves.
George Lucas built an empire on the story of Luke Skywalker’s journey. Lucas used the writings of the American mythological researcher Joseph Campbell, who wrote of myths and stories from around the world in his book, The Hero of a Thousand Faces.
Campbell saw a relationship, in different cultures, that individuals had when they traveled through their life journeys and it starts with the Hero being in their own world or present reality. An example would be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz being at the farm in Kansas. It’s a situation that you’re comfortable in, even if you’re struggling in that situation. This might start with a traumatic event, a sense of danger or maybe an increase in awareness. This is when we make a choice to either live with our current world or to move on.
If we chose to move on then, as Campbell states, we have a call to adventure. But we know that adventure is filled with danger, we’ll have to face our fears, which are not always physical dangers. Napoleon Hill outlines Six Basic Fears in his book Think and Grow Rich as the Fear of Poverty, Fear of Criticism, Fear of Ill Health, Fear of Loss of Love, Fear of Old Age, and Fear of Death. These fears are internal and they prevent us from achieving our ultimate desires, or completing the journey.
We all struggle with the decision to embark on the adventure, we know it’ll take us out of our comfort zone and we’ll have to face our fears. This decision is what keeps people in purgatory for the rest of their lives. They’re afraid of facing their fears so they stay in jobs or relationships that they hate, but are comfortable with because they know what it is, it’s their current world. For some that current world gets worse or you raise to a higher level of awareness and decide to accept the call to the adventure and begin the journey into the unknown.
As you begin your quest into your new world, which might be going back to college, you know you’ll face many obstacles. You’ll meet new people, some pleasant and some not, you’ll have to conform to new rules, customs and cultures. An example may be starting a new job and you need to learn how the new world operates and which employees are friends or villains. The hero, you, use your superhuman powers, or your strengths, to adapt to this new environment.
Campbell continues to outline the hero’s journey with the individual getting help, or ‘wisdom,’ from a supernatural character, or better known today as a mentor. Luke Skywalker’s mentor in Star Wars was Obi-Wan Kenobi. A mentor is someone who sees your strengths and then helps you refine and improve those strengths so that it will help you get to the next level of success, or conquer your fears, to complete your journey. This mentor gives you something that assists you on your journey, it may be wisdom or even a symbol, or talisman. If you’re going to college, that mentor maybe a teacher and the talisman could be your diploma.
What is that object or strength that gives you the feeling that you have a superpower?
Who can you mentor to help them on their journey?
Of course every hero needs a sidekick, someone who helps them achieve their goal. The lesson here is that in order to achieve big goals, you need help. Dorothy would’ve never killed the Wicked Witch of the West without the help of The Tin Woodsman, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion.
Who is your sidekick, is there someone that believes in you enough to help you live your purpose and help you on that journey?
Eventually the Hero’s journey brings them to face their biggest fear and by using all of the skills they acquired on their journey they defeat their fears and achieve success. In Star Wars the Death Star was destroyed and in The Wizard of Oz Dorothy killed the Wicked Witch. They achieved success and received a reward for their struggles along the journey. Even if it’s to get back to your original situation, which may not have changed, but you have changed, which helps to change your old world into something better, not by others becoming better, but from you gaining more experience and wisdom you learned on your journey.
How many cultures send their youth on a journey so that they can return stronger and wiser, helping them to transition into adulthood?
What wisdom and strengths did you gain from one of your past journeys?
What is your journey and where are you at on that journey? Are you stuck at the beginning, not wanting to leave your comfort zone, even if you’re in a bad situation?
If you fail to go on your journey to increase your wisdom and awareness, you may never live your purpose. One of the biggest sins a person can make is to neglect your gifts and squander a purposeful life of helping others?