Heroes don’t begin as heroes; they just become them because of the way one thing leads to another. They typically start out leading ordinary lives in an ordinary world and are drawn by a “call to adventure.” This leads them down a “road of trials” filled with battles, temptations, successes, and failures. Along the way, they are helped by others, often by those who are further along the journey and serve as mentors, though those who are less far along also help in various ways. They also gain allies and enemies and learn how to fight, often against convention. Along the way, they encounter temptations and have clashes and reconciliations with their fathers and their sons. They overcome their fear of fighting because of their great determination to achieve what they want, and they gain their “special powers” (i.e., skills) from both “battles” that test and teach them, and from gifts (such as advice) that they receive from others. Over time, they both succeed and fail, but they increasingly succeed more than they fail as they grow stronger and keep striving for more, which leads to ever-bigger and more challenging battles. Heroes inevitably experience at least one very big failure (which Campbell calls an “abyss” or the “belly of the whale” experience) that tests whether they have the resilience to come back and fight smarter and with more determination. If they do, they undergo a change (have a “metamorphosis”) in which they experience the fear that protects them, without losing the aggressiveness that propels them forward. With triumphs come rewards. Though they don’t realize it when they are in their battles, the hero’s biggest reward is what Campbell calls the “boon,” which is the special knowledge about how to succeed that the hero has earned through his journey.

Dalio, Ray. Principles: Life and Work (pp. 109-111). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

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