Use THIS To Be The Hero Of Your Journey
It was really special for me to get to sit down with James Altucher for the second time in New York City because he is always surprising me with new ideas. James is a best-selling author, chess master, comedian, entrepreneur and broadcaster. He even owns his own comedy club now and is working on his standup!
On the James Altucher Show podcast, which has been downloaded over 40 million times, he interviews influential figures such as Sir Richard Branson and Mark Cuban.
James has written thousands of articles for the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch & The Financial Times, and his book Choose Yourself was named by Business Week as one of the top 12 business books of all time.
One thing I really respect about James is his vulnerability. He is someone who is honest about his failures, and I think that’s such a rare and valuable quality to have. He is the perfect example of how being honest can be so powerful.
Something James practices, that I think is really important, is gratitude. Rather than being so goal oriented, James has focused on making small improvements to the self whether they be mental, emotional, physical or spiritual. He’s seen his life change for the better by shifting his focus in this way.
The Hero’s Journey
James and I had such a great talk covering so many topics, but today I wanted to focus on James’s advice to everyone reading at home about how you can create your own life-changing story, and be the hero of the story.
For James, every great story is a hero’s journey. When James begins writing a new piece one of the most important things it needs to have is the “arc of the hero.” There has been several times over the decade where James has faced huge challenges and failures. He always found himself in these moments of failure because he was scared of what people would think. He was following a path that wasn’t true to himself – a path that had been subscribed to him by others.
In the typical “arc of the hero” the hero moves from the ordinary world to the extraordinary world. Along the way, the hero will make new friends, confront conflict, face one big challenge and then find their way to bring their story back. James found himself on this journey once he was able to admit his failures and go on his own journey to find his way back.
No matter what your path in life is, whether you are an artist, a writer, a podcaster, a business person or all of the above, you have to be willing to go on this journey and suffer along the way.
No one goes from failure to success overnight.
James even advises companies to think of their marketing and advertising in terms of the hero’s journey. When you want to sell someone a product you want to sell them the journey. In an ad for a luxury car, the heroes are the men and women driving the car. They are the character the everyday person can relate to as the hero in the beautiful outfit driving their stunning car into the sunset. The viewer of this ad is the hero and will experience the “call to the extraordinary” when they see the product for the first time.
My Hero’s Journey
I wondered if the hero’s journey is something that is ingrained in our DNA, and James seemed to agree with me on this thought. You can go back 4000 years and find examples of the hero’s journey. Even the stories of Moses and Jesus follows this arc.
James theorizes that this must be something primal within humans, but doesn’t know why. Stories did used to be the primary method of teaching before the invention of the written word, books or universities. Stories were both a way to connect people and to teach basic survival skills.
I feel like I have had my own personal experience with the hero’s journey in my own life recently in creating my movie, Iron Mind. I experienced this call to train for and complete the Iron Man, and at first I denied the call. I thought I was too busy, but eventually I did accept the call and went through all the trials and tribulations that come with it from training to difficulty with my family. I was then able to run the race and finished the journey with this new knowledge that I was able to get over the shame of my addiction and other issues from my past.
My latest movie, Recconct, will also employ this hero’s journey structure and follows my experiences with ayahuasca.
James wanted to note that it’s less important to try to fit your life into a certain arc on purpose, but to simply ask yourself, “Am I the hero of my journey?”
Constantly check in with yourself and determine what you can do today, even if it’s something very small, to work toward the extraordinary.
This is actually something I ask my students at London Reel to do during my public speaking course. Everyone has a hero’s journey, it’s just about bringing the journey to light. Even further, I believe that everyone has multiple hero’s journeys during the course of a lifetime.
I challenge you to start today and find ways to make every single day a “mini arc of a hero.” The chance to go on a journey is always there and once you change your mindset to experience life as the hero of your own story, rather than a bystander, I guarantee you will see incredible positive change.
Editor, Brian Rose Uncensored