The Way of the Hero: The Journey of Discovery

by Murray Johannsen. Excerpt From: For a Change, Chapter Titled “On the Journey of Discovery,” Copyright © 2014  Access The Ebook at Apple’s ITunes. Feel free to connect with the author by  Linkedin or by  email

There is another type of Heroes Way — The Journey of Discovery. Unlike the treasure hunt, it’s not about finding gold, diamonds, rubies or sapphires. No, the jewels here involve ways to use your mind better, the joy of finding hidden strengths, and the satisfaction of decreasing your weaknesses.

The Call To Adventure

Painting by: Eugene Thirion (1876): Joan of Arc’s receiving a vision

This type of journey primarily occurs within the mind. As more is discovered, as more in known, we change. It’s important to understand that the Call can be refused and no departure from the existing pattern occurs. While many individuals complain about the routine, they typically won’t change it.

One of the most dramatic calls to adventure was the internal struggle Joan went through prior to her leaving her home in Domrémy, France to save France from the British. According to Joan herself, she experienced her first vision at the age of 12 years, when she saw figures she identified as Saint Michael, Saint Catherine, and Saint Margaret who told her to drive out the English and bring the Dauphin to Reims for his coronation. She said she cried when they left, as they were so beautiful.

Not only did the Saints trigger the journey, but they continued to advise her throughout the rest of her life. Ironic don’t you think, that one of the greatest figures of history would today be diagnosed as a schizophrenic who would be medicated and hospitalized until the voices went away.

“The difficult problems in life always start off being simple. Great affairs always start off being small.” ― Lao Tzu

An example is finding a repressed memory that drives certain destructive behaviors. Upon releasing the emotion attached to the memory, the undesired behaviors cease. In the real world, people sometimes go on this type of journey due to a call to adventure occurring as a result of mental illness.

A person suffers from hearing voices, but then figures out a way to live with it.

View Video by Eleanor Longden: The Voices in My Head

Another person gets depressed and then wants to know why this occurred.

View Video by Andrew Solomon: Depression: The Secret We Share

In both cases, they stopped acting like victims, helpless to resist the advice of authority figures, and decided to take charge of their life.

 Essentially, the book For a Change is a call to adventure to take up the Journey of Discovery. Some will read it and like a professor think, “How interesting,” but take no action. Others will think, “What a bunch of crap,” and won’t think about it ever.

Some may start doing the assignments and then get stuck. We see this all too often. When it gets frustrating, when it gets hard, many will stop. They don’t have the grit and forgot the old saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,”

Others may read the book but do nothing until something nasty kicks them out of their comfort zone of complacency. Corporations act like cruel mothers and abandon those who work for them. The government tells our young to fight in war.

And finally, there are those who see the potential —they sense the opportunity. They accept the call and go it alone, or with a small group, or with a guide.

Journey of Discovery: Trials and Tribulations

“Doing anything out of the ordinary is bound to be difficult.” — Murray Johannsen

Joseph Wright of Derby (1734–1797): Alchemist Seeking The Philosopher’s Stone

The philosopher’s stone is an interesting symbol. In the physical world, it takes a base metal such as lead and transforms it into silver and gold. But it also has a psychological meaning. It’s a symbol of transformation that moves one from an imperfect human to a mind symbolizing perfection and enlightenment. This was called the Great Work or magnum opus.

The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or problems that we must overcome. Some of these challenges exist within our selves, while others are environmentally based. But each “life test” successfully passed, makes you stronger, more self-confident, more resourceful.

Still, it’s likely that you will fail one or more of these tests. Failure doesn’t matter, what matters is what happens after you fail. Too many just give up. They lack the mental processes associated with mental toughness to continue. It’s important to remember the following advice:

A MAN was driving a wagon along a country lane, when the wheels sank down deep into a rut.  The rustic driver, stupefied and aghast, stood looking at the wagon, and did nothing but utter loud cries to Hercules to come and help him.  Hercules, it is said, appeared and thus addressed him, “Put your shoulders to the wheels, my man.  Goad on your bullocks, and never more pray to me for help, until you have done your best to help yourself, or depend upon it you will henceforth pray in vain.” —  Hercules and the Wagoner, Aesop’s Fables

Journey of Discovery: The Quest Achieved

“Veni, vidi, venci.” (I came, I saw, I conquered.) Julius Caesar, 100-44 B.C., Quoted from Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars

In the case of the entrepreneur, the end of the vision has to do with the development of a sustainable organization that can keep on running without the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur evolves as well and could become a Great Founder. From a psychological standpoint, this means that three major archetypes are fully developed: the hero, the wise man/woman and the king/queen.

Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836–1912): A coin of vantage

In the book For a Change, the end game is defined as achieving a future vision. However, once you reach that vision, you may set another, and another. And if one really pushes hard, perhaps you will develop wisdom.

But his process requires work, it requires change, and it requires that you play the way of the Hero.

Leadership Skill Development