The concept of “The Hero’s Journey” is a narrative framework that was first introduced by mythologist Joseph Campbell in his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.”
Born in 1904, Campbell grew up in a family that valued art, literature, and education, and he developed a love for mythology and storytelling from an early age. After studying literature and anthropology at Columbia University, Campbell traveled to Europe and Asia, where he was exposed to a wide range of mythological and cultural traditions.
Upon his return to the United States, Campbell began teaching and writing about mythology, and his ideas and theories had a major impact on popular culture and the fields of literature, anthropology, and psychology.
One of Campbell’s most influential ideas was the concept of the hero’s journey, which he described in his book. This concept outlines the archetypal journey that many heroes in myths and stories follow as they undertake a quest, face challenges and obstacles, and ultimately achieve some form of transformation or enlightenment.
It describes the archetypal journey that many heroes in myths and stories follow as they undertake a quest, face challenges and obstacles, and ultimately achieve some form of transformation or enlightenment.
There are several stages of the Hero’s Journey, and these can vary somewhat depending on the specific story being told. However, many versions of the Hero’s Journey include the following stages:
- The Call to Adventure: The hero is called to leave their ordinary life and embark on a journey. This may come in the form of a challenge, a quest, or a problem that needs to be solved.
- The Refusal of the Call: The hero may initially resist or hesitate to accept the call to adventure. This may be due to fear, insecurity, or a sense of obligation to their current life.
- The Meeting with the Mentor: The hero meets a wise and experienced guide who helps them prepare for their journey and provides them with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed.
- Crossing the Threshold: The hero leaves their familiar world and enters the unknown, unfamiliar world of the journey. This may involve crossing a literal threshold, such as a border or portal, or it may represent a psychological shift in the hero’s perspective.
- Tests, Allies, and Enemies: The hero faces challenges and encounters a variety of characters, both allies who help them and enemies who oppose them. These challenges may be physical, emotional, or psychological in nature.
- The Approach to the Inmost Cave: The hero approaches the central challenge or goal of their journey, often represented by a metaphorical cave or underworld. This may be a place of great danger or a test of the hero’s strength and courage.
- The Ordeal: The hero faces their most difficult challenge and must overcome it in order to continue their journey. This may involve a physical battle, a moral dilemma, or a test of their resolve.
- The Reward: The hero emerges from the ordeal victorious and receives a reward for their efforts. This may be a physical object, a new insight or understanding, or a sense of accomplishment.
- The Road Back: The hero begins the return journey, often facing new challenges and tests along the way.
- The Resurrection: The hero undergoes a transformation as a result of their journey and returns home as a changed person.
- The Return with the Elixer: The hero brings back something of value from their journey, whether it is a physical object, a new skill or knowledge, or a newfound sense of purpose. This “elixir” is often used to help others or to benefit their community in some way.
How is Entrepreneurship like the Hero’s Journey?
Entrepreneurship can be seen as a kind of hero’s journey in many ways, as it involves taking risks, facing challenges, and overcoming obstacles in order to achieve success. Here are 10 ways in which entrepreneurship follows the concept of “The Hero’s Journey”:
- The call to adventure: The first step in the hero’s journey is the call to adventure, which represents the moment when the hero is called to embark on a journey or quest. In entrepreneurship, the call to adventure might be the idea for a new business or product, or the desire to solve a particular problem or challenge. Entrepreneurship can be seen as a kind of “call to adventure” in some ways, as it involves taking on a new challenge and embarking on a journey of growth and discovery. Like the hero in the Hero’s Journey, entrepreneurs may be called to leave their familiar, comfortable world and embark on a new venture that requires them to learn, adapt, and overcome obstacles.
- Refusal of the call: The hero may initially refuse the call to adventure, either out of fear or because they feel unprepared or unqualified. In entrepreneurship, this might involve hesitation or self-doubt about starting a business or taking on a new project.
- Meeting the mentor: In many stories, the hero meets a mentor or guide who helps them on their journey. In entrepreneurship, this might be a mentor, coach, or advisor who provides guidance and support. These mentors may be experienced business professionals, industry experts, or successful entrepreneurs who can offer advice, insights, and resources that can help the entrepreneur on their journey. Like the mentor in the Hero’s Journey, these advisors can provide valuable support and encouragement, helping the entrepreneur to develop their skills and knowledge and stay focused on their goals. They may also offer practical advice on topics such as financial management, marketing, and operations, and can help the entrepreneur avoid common pitfalls and mistakes.
- Crossing the threshold: The hero must cross a threshold or border in order to begin their journey. In entrepreneurship, this might involve taking the first steps to start a business, such as researching ideas, developing a business plan, or raising capital.
- Tests, allies, and enemies: As the hero progresses on their journey, they encounter a series of tests, allies, and enemies that challenge them and help them to grow. Entrepreneurs often face a variety of tests and challenges as they build and grow their businesses. These challenges may be external, such as economic downturns, competition, or regulatory obstacles, or they may be internal, such as lack of funding, limited resources, or personal doubts and fears. Like the hero in the Hero’s Journey, entrepreneurs must overcome these challenges in order to continue on their journey and achieve their goals. This may involve developing new skills, seeking out resources or allies, or finding creative solutions to problems.
- The process of entrepreneurship often involves a significant amount of risk-taking and uncertainty, and entrepreneurs must be willing to take calculated risks and adapt to changing circumstances in order to succeed. This can involve making difficult decisions, such as pivoting the business model, cutting costs, or laying off staff.
- The inner journey: The hero’s journey is often seen as an inner journey as well as an external one, as the hero must confront their own fears, doubts, and vulnerabilities in order to succeed. In entrepreneurship, this might involve facing personal challenges such as time management, stress, and self-doubt.
- The ultimate boon: The ultimate boon is the reward or prize that the hero seeks on their journey. In entrepreneurship, this might be the success of a business, financial gain, or the satisfaction of solving a problem or fulfilling a need.
- The road back: After achieving the ultimate boon, the hero must return home, often with a newfound understanding or wisdom. In entrepreneurship, this might involve maintaining and growing a successful business, or transitioning to a new venture.
- The master of two worlds: As the hero returns home, they are often seen as having achieved a new level of understanding or enlightenment, and are able to bring the lessons of their journey back to the “ordinary” world. In entrepreneurship, this might involve sharing knowledge and experience with others, or using their success to make a positive impact in the world.
- The return with the elixir: The hero returns home with the elixir, or the gift that they have gained on their journey. In entrepreneurship, this might be the skills, knowledge, and experience that they have gained through the process of starting and running a business.
In conclusion, entrepreneurship can be seen as a kind of hero’s journey, as it involves taking risks, facing challenges, and overcoming obstacles in order to achieve success. By following the steps of the hero’s journey, entrepreneurs can develop the skills and resilience needed to succeed in the business world