I recently saw Thor. So many wonderful lessons. If only I could’ve taken out my phone and jotted some notes!
Most great stories involve taking the main character through an arc called the Hero’s Journey. Each of the stages looks different for each movie, but they have a pattern and formula that does the work of drawing us in and taking us along for the ride. Thor was no different. And neither is your story.
Think about it. Whenever you tell a story to your friends, or coworkers, the best ones follow a pattern. A three act structure. The ordinary world – where you draw them in with the similarity to themselves and make them care. The special world – where you tell all the crazy details, whether funny, scary, or sad. It’s the roller coaster piece, you take them on a ride. Then, back to the ordinary world. You won the battle. You told off your boss…or not. Whichever is a victory for you.
The best part of the story? The climax. The critical moment where your ordeal almost takes you out. In the movies, it’s where the star goes over the side of the cliff. In your story it’s also when you get too close to the edge, nearly getting arrested, or caught doing something naughty. Your girls are on the edge of their seats and you rejoice together at your win. Then you return to the ordinary world in your third act. Better for the entire experience.
While I don’t watch every movie thinking about each act and stage, success of the movie generally testifies that the journey exists. And tonight, in the middle of Thor, I asked myself a question. Am I willing to look like I’m losing in order to win?
In so many of our life’s battles, we fight for our reputation more than to defeat an enemy. We lose energy, getting worn out in tussles that leave us diminished. And we find ourselves in positions and arguments that aren’t a part of our arc and we delay our victory. I’d rather win in the first movie, rather than having to wait for the sequel! So, I’m checking for arcs and patterns and stages to ensure that I know where I am in the journey.
What are you doing to win your battle won the first time around? Are you willing to momentarily look as if all is lost to get a better position? I’m not as afraid of losing a battle, as I am of losing the war. How do I stay on top of the difference? By keeping the right people around me. The Avengers? Nah. Justice League? Not really. I like to call them my “Superfriends.”