“Why do you need four copies of Star Wars?”
To me, that’s the dumbest question my wife could ask me. Of course I need four copies of Return of the Jedi. There’s the unaltered version, the Special Edition, the burned DVD of the VHS copy, and the Blu-ray. And when they release all nine films in some massive box set, I’ll buy those too.
Here’s a list of things I’ll buy if you slap Star Wars on the box:
- cough syrup
- toilet paper
- sex toys
Why are people like me (and I hope you) obsessed with all things Star Wars? The same reason can there are rabid fans of Lord Of The Rings, The Matrix, Harry Potter, or Pokémon. These stories are all the same.
No, seriously. Think about it.
They follow the same or similar plot lines — some “ordinary” person’s tasked with going on a quest for knowledge/power by some wizard — but the only difference between all these movies is their settings. The characters may be different as well, but they follow the same archetypes.
See? Now it’s all starting to click for you, right? So why are all these stories similar? Well I’ll tell you.
But real quick, have you ever heard of a guy named Joseph Campbell, or something called The Hero’s Journey?
Campbell was a super cool dude. A nerd of nerds. He was an American mythologist and writer, who later became a lecturer about all things mythology and what he called “the monomyth.”
The monomyth is a concept that Campbell wrote about in his 1949 book, “The Hero with 1,000 Faces.” Here’s how he described the monomyth.
Um, that description sounds exactly like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Pokemon, The Matrix, and of course, Star Wars.
“Okay Robbie, that’s cool. Campbell sounds like a swell dude. And I can even see how The Hero’s Journey might also apply to a movie like Tommy Boy. So why is this important?”
Well first off, pretending to be a Jedi (or Sith) or even a funny hat wearing wizard is awesome. But ya know what is MORE awesome than pretending? Becoming the hero of your own journey.
And the hero’s journey can apply to everything you’re trying to become better at in life.
Take for instance improving your health or fitness. The steps of The Hero’s Journey apply to losing fat or building muscle.
Here’s a nifty image to look at and follow along with.
The 12 steps of The Hero’s Journey – applied to improving your health or fitness.
The ordinary world:
This is where you are now. Everything in your life has gotten you to this rather unspectacular point. Life is monotonous, you don’t feel special at all, and things are more or less the definition of mediocre.
The call to adventure:
Maybe your doctor gave you a warning at your last check-up. Maybe you hate sucking wind playing with your kids. Perhaps you’re tired of feeling like everything you do is harder than it was a year ago. Maybe you took a good look in the mirror and don’t like what you see.
Whatever it is that happened, it doesn’t matter. Something hit you — and it hit you hard. To your core. And you decided to make a change.
The refusal of the call:
But improving your health or fitness is hard. Where the heck do you start? I guess you should join a gym? Oh, and you should start watching what you eat. Ugh, at this stage the hero, aka you, is getting ticked off.
You know that you need to be the hero. You just haven’t accepted it yet.
Meeting with the mentor:
Maybe you don’t have a wizard show up at your door to teach you the way. Maybe you’ve got a friend who’s encouraging and guiding you in the right direction, maybe you have a gym partner, or maybe you’ve hired a coach (like me) to keep you accountable.
Again, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you find a mentor to assist in guiding your process and offer interesting bits of wisdom while you raise your X-wing from the swamps of Dagobah.
Crossing the threshold:
You’ve accepted that it’s time to get serious about getting stronger, losing a few pounds, or to stop making excuses. It’s time to do one of those or all of those things. You’ve committed to it, and damn it(!), you’re going to make it happen.
You’re now crossing a threshold into a “special world.”
Tests, allies, enemies:
This is where you start doing the work necessary to achieve your goal(s). You’re in a “special world,” and you’ll soon begin figuring out who is here to help you or who’s here to stand in your way when it comes to reaching your end goal.
Oh yes my friend, be weary. Because sometimes people that were allies in the “old world” become tests or enemies in the “special world.”
You and your allies are preparing for a major challenge in your new “special world.” This could be setting a goal to lose 30 pounds, to eat more vegetables, to not go crazy with food on the weekends, to improve your relationship with food, to build muscle, or run a marathon.
This is the hardest part. This is the grind. The daily quest that requires you to do the tasks needed to achieve success. It’s the time that things feel the scariest, the hardest, and where you wonder if it’s all worth it. If you’ve struggled with certain aspects of improving your health and fitness, this is where those issues will pop up like a Tusken Raider out of nowhere again. It could be a body image issue, someone whom you care for who’s trying to sabotage your success, or a worldwide pandemic.
Confronting these ordeals and overcoming them is the only way you will succeed.
You’ve faced your trials, battled your demons, and you now you’ve gained the treasure you sought. Your treasure may be different than anyone else’s. Your treasure might have been washboard abs, a bigger and more voluptuous booty, a bigger deadlift, a set of pecs that pop like John Cena’s, or anything else.
The important thing is that it’s your treasure. And you’ve worked for it and gained it.
The Road Back:
This is the part of the story where the Hero heads home, triumphant. He/she leaves the “special world” a changed man/woman. For you this could be to get back not the dating scene after a divorce, to be able to play with your kids without getting winded like you did before, to show your doctor how much better your health markers are vs the last time, to prove everyone who doubted you wrong.
You’re now heading back to where it all started…..but now you’re different.
You’re different now. Maybe you’re stronger than before. Leaner than before. Hey, you look and feel better than ever. Or maybe you’ve learned you don’t need to drink a 12 pack every Friday to feel better (that you feel better when you drink less). Maybe you’ve discovered how much you love to lift weights and get more compliments from people about how great you look. You have more confidence than ever, and you’ve become the person you knew you could be all along.
You have resurrected your true self from the depths of Hell.
Return With The Elixir:
You’ve changed yourself, and now people ask you what you did. How did you make this transformation? And you want to say, “Oh I ate better, stopped drinking soda, ate more veggies, increased my sleep, and went to the gym.” So you say that, and you don’t tell the truth. Because telling the truth might scare someone. Telling them how hard and trying the journey was at times might make someone think twice about doing it themselves.
But now that you’ve told them the seemingly simple things you did, you spark that call of change in them. Now you have become the wizard for someone else’s journey.
And that is why you need four copies of Star Wars on DVD. Because via “The Hero’s Journey,” Star Wars shows you the framework you can use to make a change in your health and fitness or life.