Archives For hero’s journey

Academic Career: The Professor is In book reviewI recently read the book The Professor is In by Karen Kelsky. Though I don’t agree with her worldview, I do appreciate how she describes the tenure-track professor/academic career environment, especially in the humanities. Continue Reading…

Today’s article is part two of “Why You Need to Use Transformational Storytelling

I decided I was going to figure this whole story structure thing out.

Back in college I had a professor who always emphasized using stories for teaching. He taught us how to use the inductive method instead of the deductive method.

A few years ago this same professor gave a presentation about the differences between oral and literate cultures. I found all this fascinating and started to incorporate it into what I do.

The Difference Between Inductive and Deductive Methods of Communication


Image source flickr user: _hlian | cc

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There is one ancient secret that screenwriters, novelists, and top business authors use to captivate their audiences. Virtually all cultures in history used it, too. Yet this secret is largely lost today.


Photo source flickr user: Avi Schwab | cc

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What is it that you want for your future? When you are goal setting, what do you want to achieve?


Photo source flickr user: Angie Torres | cc

On Wednesday I posted a review of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. Today’s post is inspired from my reading of that book.

When I compare story and plot with vision and goals, I see a big parallel.

A well-crafted goal, a target to shoot for, grants meaning to your day. If you wander around aimlessly, wondering what to do, you don’t have a sense meaning or purpose, right? Continue Reading…

Back in January my wife and I watched the movie The Help (2011). She’s wanted to watch it for a long time, and we finally sat down to see it.

It was really good! It had excellent characters and story structure.

I did not read any marketing materials about this movie before we watched it, so all my comments are from the film itself. (Note: We haven’t read the book.)


The Help Book Discussion Group” | Image source: flickr user US Embassy Canada | cc

Summary of The Help

The main character, Skeeter (Emma Stone), a girl just out of college, gets a position as a column writer at the local newspaper in a Mississippi town in the early 1960s. Continue Reading…

I recently read the book The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition. Wow — what a story, and quite the adventure (and ordeal) for those men! To go all that time (nearly two years) without any women, any other civilization, no wonder they had to keep order and routines.

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance ship as seen at nighttime in the frozen Antarctic

(For context, read up on Shackleton’s life story on this Wikipedia page.)

I found several items of note as I reflect on this story:

Determined optimism and persistence to make it through. Despite medical issues, violent cold and weather conditions, thwarted plans, and often hungry and leaving supplies behind, the men made it through. Perseverance.

The men knew all along that their adventure, whatever would become of it, would get published in the newspaper and “a book.” Several books have been released over the years about their expedition. One of the 22 men wrote that they knew the book would sell better if they deprived themselves of things they could’ve had! (This was written on Elephant Island in reference to them not going to sail over to some ice to kill a species of animal to eat. hey used their two remaining boats to make shelter, instead.)

There was conflict in the group, though not nearly as much as their struggle of man vs. nature.

At first glance, it appears this narrative lines up well with the Hero’s Journey. There’s a desire/call, thwarting (hard time getting funds), new world of the expedition itself, several life-or-death sequences, death of the Endurance as the ship sank, death of pets, death of the original plan (spoiler alert: they didn’t make it to the South Pole), almost dead when the six men sailed the Caird to South Georgia, then winding down of journey.

After Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition

After the expedition officially concluded and the men parted ways, their reactions are noteworthy:

Some wanted to re-create the adventure or continue living it. One sailed a ship in the Arctic, trying to get it stick in ice in an attempt to re-create the stuck scene of the Endurance! (Did he want the thrill again?) Others created their own adventures: some joined forces of World War I (some of them died). Shackleton and others were restless, and some of them got together again upon his call to sail once more.

Some, realizing what they went through, were forever bonded to the others and their accomplishments. A few made lectures and presentations, traveling extensively. A few maintained personal correspondence through the rest of their lives.

Some were fiercely independent and would not slow down their lives for anything else (e.g. the photographer).

Some weren’t quite sure what to do with their lives, and resorted to drink or other non-productive activities. They had experienced something with that group of men that no one else would completely understand. And it was difficult for a few of these men to readjust to society, similar to culture shock.

Read more about Shackleton’s Endurance story in this book.