Books are fantastic. They help you expand your horizons and evolve your view of the world. Teachers and coaches are life-changers. They help you learn how to think and develop methodologies to become your best self.
But the best education you can receive comes from adventures.
From study abroad programs to missionary service, from moving in with complete strangers in a new city to a weekend getaway, from solo vacations to month-long tours of new states and countries with your beloved; leaving the confines of comfort in order to wander the world is quite possibly the best investment you can make in your personal development.
Read The Alchemist, The Holy Scriptures, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter. Watch Star Wars or Batman or The Lion King. Study the lives of ancient prophets, kings, queens, shepherds, farmers, and slaves. There is a common trend in the stories among the individuals we call great or successful. They all embarked on some kind of transformational journey.
Joseph Campbell calls this “The Hero’s Journey.” As Campbell puts it in his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces: “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder; fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won. The hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” It’s a call to adventure. It’s a nudge to leave your beautiful shire and see what else the world has to offer. It’s a subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) impression that it’s something you must do in order to reach your full potential. And sometimes, it’s something you must go through so that you can gain the necessary knowledge and experience to help someone else commence their own hero’s journey.
The Hero’s Journey consists of three parts: Separation, Initiation, and Return. In the separation stage, a normal person is living a normal life when he or she receives a call to adventure. After some reluctance, the hero (or heroine) is encouraged by a mentor figure onto a magical adventure. The second stage is initiation. This is where the hero enters his new world. He faces interesting challenges, encounters new dangers and makes friends (or enemies) with different people. The hero experiences doubt, fatigue, defeat, but ultimately, victory. More importantly, he has acquired a new skill, ability, or power to use for when he returns. When the hero does return home, he is more certain of his mission than ever before. His ability, wisdom, and power allow him to now overcome the obstacle before him, which before seemed impossible.
“Not all those who wander are lost.” When you embark on your own hero’s journey, innocence is transformed into maturity. You learn new things in a way you couldn’t through any other means. You meet new people who become life-long mentors and friends. You gain clarity on who you are and who you are meant to become.
Make your home a place of refuge, a sanctuary. But remember to leave pride rock every now and then. Things back home may remain unchanged, but you won’t. And you won’t regret a second of it.