As Dave and I get to know people creating margin and focusing on priorities rather than stuff, we cannot help but draw parallels between the quest for simplicity and the heroic journey narrative described by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949).
Though from all walks of life, fellow travelers on the road to simplicity relate similar experiences. As you consider the following phases, please reflect on whether you have had similar experiences.
1. Starting Point
Each traveler starts at a point of compliance with cultural expectations. The traveler, often perceived by others as “successful”, neither questions the norm nor the desirability of other options.
2. Call to Adventure
The traveler receives information that questions the status quo and invites the traveler into the unknown. In the simplicity realm, this might take the form of exposure to a simplicity podcast or article.
3. Refusal of the Call
The traveler initially declines the call. Though he may perceive that something is amiss, the traveler believes he must maintain his current circumstances out of duty or fear. In the simplicity context, such initial reluctance reflects the traveler’s prudence and consideration of potential impact on others.
4. A Helper Appears
After careful reflection, the traveler recognizes that a quest into the unknown is needed. A helper then appears providing needed tools and encouragement for the journey. The Obi-Wan Kenobis of simplicity are numerous and include Henry David Theroux, Joshua Becker, Leo Babauta, Courtney Carver, Daniel and Vanessa Hayes, and Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus.
5. Trials and Temptation
The traveler ventures into the unknown. The traveler is tested and repeatedly tempted to abandon the quest and return to the familiar. For those on the simplicity journey, such testing may take the form of reluctance to let go of excess possessions and lesser priority activities, and the discomfort of sharing counter-cultural simplicity objectives with others.
6. Confronting the Adversary
As the journey continues, the traveler must ultimately confront and overcome the powerful force that previously limited or crippled him. The Darth Vaders of the quest for simplicity include the traveler’s desire to signal success or significance, lack of intentionality and impulse control.
7. Return to the People
The ultimate value of the journey is the extent to which it benefits others. The transformed traveler returns to liberate his people from deception and bondage. Though not as grandiose as the Campbell articulation, the quest for simplicity achieves its greatest objective when the traveler’s experience benefits and encourages others.
Please share your heroic journey in the comments below.
Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com