Steven Pressfield: It’s Not Too Late to Become the Hero of Your Journey – The James Altucher Show

Key Takeaways

  • If you take stories and lessons that have been tested and proven over centuries or millenniums and write a modern story based on it, it will likely still connect and be a major hit with people today
  • Steven worked multiple jobs throughout his life and wrote for 20 years on the side before becoming a full-time writer
  • One day, your “call” will arrive – take the leap and let the magic happen
    • Making the leap to pursue your dreams or accept the call to adventure is often scary
    • BUT – When you take these risks, that’s when great things happen
  • Each person has a calling or destiny to be great if they follow the right path
    • But the clock is ticking for all of us…
    • Don’t avoid taking the path out of the fear of leaving your current comforts
  • The dreams you have at night mean something – pay attention to them

Intro

Other Important Books Mentioned

Inspiration for Books

  • Steven Pressfield’s book The Legend of Bagger Vance is quite similar to one of the most popular Hindu texts – Bhagavad Gita
    • Steven essentially took an ancient text that has been read and loved by millions of people over centuries and gave it a modern spin
    • James did something similar and took The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, another ancient text, and wrote an article (not mentioned) based on the book – it became one of his most popular articles of all time
      • Takeaway – If you take stories and lessons that have been tested and proven over centuries or millenniums and write a modern story based on it, it will likely still connect and be a major hit with people today

The Hero’s Journey

  • Steven worked multiple jobs throughout his life before becoming a full-time writer
    • He wrote for 20 years on the side before he got his first book published
  • There is a common theme in almost every one of Steven’s books called “the hero’s journey”:
    • There is an ordinary character living an ordinary life until one day there comes a call to adventure/the chance to do something different
    • Then there’s often the refusal of the call – the main character is scared of the adventure or doesn’t want to go
      • The hero’s journey only starts if the hero responds to the call and accepts it
        • James and Steven believe people get multiple calls to adventure throughout their lives, but they must choose to accept them
        • Once accepted, the hero goes from the ordinary world to the extraordinary world
  • Steven highly recommends the book – The Writer’s Journey
    • In Act 1 of a story, the hero is in the ordinary world
    • In Act 2, if the hero accepts the call to adventure, he/she enters the extraordinary world
    • In Act 3 the climax takes place and the main character becomes a true hero
      • A lot of the time, the hero has a mentor
  • The hero often has to make sacrifices in order to succeed – sacrificing his ordinary life, personal belongings, old friendships, etc.
    • Steven gave up a marriage and a steady job as a VP at an ad agency to become a full-time writer
    • James did something similar, he left his corporate job in the middle of the day and never went back, and has been writing ever since
      • James’ first 4 books didn’t get published
  • Making the leap to pursue your dreams or accept the call to adventure is often scary – it’s difficult to predict if it will pay off and it will without a doubt require a lot of work
    • “I was terrified the whole time” – Steven
    • When people cross into the extraordinary world, they start to evolve and other people perceive them in a different light
      • “It’s the start of a payoff of knowing yourself in a different way” – Steven

The Hero’s Mindset

  • To become an artist or entrepreneur, you have to be both ignorant and arrogant
    • You have to have no concept of how difficult it is, otherwise you’d never do it, and you also have to be incredibly arrogant – which is basically having the mindset of knowing that you can accomplish something no matter what difficulties lie ahead
      • There are millions of books published every year, but as a writer, you HAVE to be arrogant and think that people will want to read your book over other books
  • Most artists start their career by studying the greats, mimicking their style and then adding their own spin on the art

The Call to Adventure

  • Just as an acorn has the potential to become a giant oak tree if nurtured properly, Steven thinks each person has a calling or destiny to be great if they follow the right path
    • However, the clock is ticking for all of us…
      • ”Our hero’s journey clock is ticking and some people may be avoiding it because of fear or comfort”
        • Many people realize this time period as a mid-life crisis, and they start to reevaluate their life and future
  • After accepting the call to adventure the hero has to overcome various challenges. Once successful, the hero usually starts the journey back home to share the treasure or the lessons he’s learned.
    • Odysseus returns home at the end of his journey
    • Same thing with Dorothy returning to Kansas

The Artist’s Journey

  • After completing the hero’s journey, the next story is the artist’s journey
    • Steven’s hero’s journey was publishing his first book, his artist’s journey was continuing his career as a writer
  • A few good questions to ask yourself:
    • Who am I?
    • Why am I here?
    • What do I want?
  • Steven views himself “as a servant of the muse”
    • He compares life to being a kite surfer – there is something on another level pulling and guiding you throughout life. He tries to listen to that muse and share what it tells him.
      • Ask yourself – “What is my gift?” and try to share it with the world
      • “Listen to your dreams, your real dreams, the dreams you dream at night” – Keep a journal and write them down because “dreams are coming from your soul and higher self and are trying to communicate with you”
  • Steven is a believer in the 10,000-hour rule– it takes 10,000 hours or approximately 10 years to become an expert in a given field
    • Good news – “There is a lot of cross-pollination”
      • Meaning, if you have a lot of writing experience from writing screenplays, some of those hours can transfer over to being a fiction writer
  • Steven says good ideas are coming to people all the time, but “a lot of us don’t have the skill to listen”
    • Writing takes practice and so does listening to your ideas/dreams
      • Steven recommends the book Inner Work by Robert Johnson for helping you to better understand your dreams

These notes were edited by RoRoPa Editing Services

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