Hero’s journey & Startup’s journey

Joseph John Campbell (1904 – 1987) was an American Professor of Literature who worked in researching about the myths and religions. He was inspired by Krishnamurti when they met in 1924, then he took efforts to study Sanskrit and Hindu alongside with French and German. These experiences brought him into the comparative studying. Then he built his famous view about “monomyth”, a narrative theory about all the myths came from a grand original source but telling in different voices. In the most well-known book printed in 1949 “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, he first introduced his Hero’s journey – a grand journey that all kind of mythological heroes go through. When George Lucas gave the credit for him to inspire the story of Start Wars, the Hero’s Journey became public. Nowadays, Hollywood directors learn his Hero’s Journey to write the plots for their blockbusters.   

According to the Journey, every hero should overcome the challenges to grow to their true fate. Startup founders also need to pass the hurdles to win their dream. Let’s discover the Hero’s Journey of startup founders.

Normal life – Call to adventure

Above part of the cycle is the normal life of any startup founders before their jump-starting. They should be everyone such as normal officers, normal delivery-mans, normal baby-moms. At a one strange day, he/she receives a strange call to wake him/her up from routine; the call is maybe a trouble, a longtime no-see catch-up, a crazy idea. However, at that stage the normal thing still pulls him/her back to safety-zone and forget the call shortly.  

Normal life – Pass the threshold

After the back-turn, a stronger call pushes the normal people harder to the new challenges. That stage, the new call makes a break to normal life significantly. No way to turn back. Take an example, you may see the problem of the health-care services many times but you think it’s another-person problem, you just take into-account when you or your family are directly earned a bad experience. Under this condition, you have a stronger push to pass the threshold, or never.

Hero life – Upgrade with mentors and team-mates

After passing the threshold, you suddenly realize that you’re still a baby-hero without superpowers. He/she need to train himself/ herself through many obstacles to upgrade his/her power. He/she will meet mentors who are experienced to coach and train with the real-cases on the street. An iconic action of this stage is the mentors give the King Sword to the hero as the tool to kill the dragon, and it prove that a new hero is born. On the way, the new hero will use the Sword to attract more helpers to build the Avengers band to fight the villains. 

Hero life – Kill the Villains  

A Marvel band with the King Sword will find the villains to kill. The villains are the hurdles which fight you back to smash you down. It should be anything range from the fight-back from the old-fashioned competitors; or the mismatch legal framework; or the not-ready consumer behaviors. This stage is the battle-field of go-global-or-go-home situation. Someone will choose to stop here, back to normal life and never dreaming about being hero anymore. Or you’re resilient enough to get back right after losing many times, you will become an irony-immortal hero never die. You will step high into the dawn of new truly hero, who kill the villains to save the world.

Hero life – Step into the temple of myth

Outside villains are died, inside villains are born. The hero is becoming ego-centric villain himself/ herself. If the hero could not win the blindness of victory, he/she is just a small hero without new adventures. For stepping into the temple of Myth, the hero should never stop here to drink glory-wine, he/she need to go further to challenge more status-quo. A new higher-level of hero is just begin again.  

The Hero with a thousand faces

The Hero’s Journey of Joseph Campbell teaches us the cycle of training hero. Any challenge is a threshold gate to empower the hero, and the journey is going on non-stop. In the globalization age, the journey is even harder when the villains are any global challenges and we have only one highest temple for many heroes in the world. However, the adventure pathway is more amazing for any startup founders.

Watching the animation from Ted-Ed about Hero’s Journey for summary:


Leave a comment