What do Hercules, Neo from The Matrix, Michael Jordan, and John Lennon have in common?
They’re all mythic.
In other words, at some point in time, people saw them as paragons of human potential. It doesn’t matter that two of them are actual human beings and two are fictional characters. Someone saw them as a source of inspiration to be better.
We’ve always looked to mythological beings to inspire us. We’re still looking, even though we may not know it; we can’t help but create heroes. They’re buried in our books, movies, TV shows, and songs. We’ve just forgotten how to recognize them easily.
If you mention “mythology” to people, it often conjures images of a stuffy classroom with a boring teacher droning on about Greek gods. Not particularly exciting. We need to change that perception because ignoring the mythic in our lives robs us of a potential internal support system. Using tales of great heroes, our ancestors consciously sought to entertain and educate each other about the importance of cultivating resilience, taking action, and maintaining determination.
Heroic stories are not just “escapism.” Over the long centuries of civilization, hero epics have been a sort of “glue” for society. They taught the listener what it meant to be human and how we can accomplish amazing things if we leave our comfort zones behind and seek our “best” selves. We may never reach that goal to become “perfect,” but ultimately we’re better off for making the attempt.
Our current culture often overvalues comfort. We’ve forgotten there are benefits of struggle: it excites us, gives us purpose, and keeps us from getting bored. It’s time to become conscious of the power of myth again, because we need the tools to become spiritually self-sufficient.
How can you apply this to your own life? Build your own mythology. Surround yourself with inspirational figures that exhibit talents, behaviors, and abilities that you want to cultivate. Once you do that, you can use your heroes, fictional or otherwise, as a framework for your own well-being.
Follow this path, and something interesting will happen: YOU will become the hero, for both yourself and those around you. YOU will become a force for stability, fulfillment, and happiness in your own life and the lives of others.
You need to believe, and you need to do some work. Aspiring to be heroic doesn’t mean some vain attempt at being the center of attention. True heroism comes from a place of humility, with the goal of being a force for positive change and, ultimately, someone who uplifts the world around them.
Now it’s YOUR turn. Get out there, and get mythic!
This post was previously published on LiveTheHero.com and is republished here with permission from the author.
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