It’s been quite a year at the movies! One record broken after another. A little over 20 years ago, Titanic became the first moving to gross $1Billion at the worldwide box office – so far this year 8 have passed the billion-dollar mark – my alma mater, The Walt Disney Company, having 5 of them. With the ease of access to entertainment via streaming media services and the overall competition for people’s time and money, I wonder what draws people out to the theaters in record numbers week after week.
When I scanned through the list of the most popular movies so far, it didn’t take long to see that heroes are ruling the box office. From life action powerhouses like Avengers: Endgame to animated classics in the making like Frozen II, we can’t get enough of the hero’s journey. Even though we’re pretty sure how things will work out (spoiler alert – the hero wins the day), we get pulled into their story. We can relate to the characters who struggle with the idea that they’re special. We see their potential before they do and know that they can be more than who they are at the start, and we emotionally fight alongside them as they make their way from uncertainty to victory.
Why do these stories resonate with so many of us? What is it about the hero’s journey that speaks to us? It’s the hero inside all of us. Kevin Brown wrote a great book called The Hero Effect that really explains this in an accessible and powerful way (check it out!). We all carry within us the capacity to be heroes. We may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound or have a palace of ice form under our hands, but there are heroes all around us and I would bet that you’re one of them to someone in your world.
We all have the potential, but very few ever take the time to make the journey. We’re far more forgiving of our onscreen heroes than we are of ourselves. We expect them to stumble and get help along the way, but somehow that doesn’t apply to us. Accepting help has turned into the idea that we’re weak or failing in some way if we can’t do it alone.
The good news is that much like all our onscreen heroes, we don’t have to go it alone. We can make the brave decision to ask for the help we need so that we can be our best. We can let go of the need to control everything and find room in our lives for that little you who tied a bath towel around your neck and ‘flew’ around the backyard. He or she is still in there, just waiting for the chance to do extraordinary things. Back then, you didn’t put limitations on yourself and you truly believed that anything was possible. And guess what…it is, and the hero in you is just waiting to burst out, cape and all!