The Cave You Fear to Enter

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” – Joseph Campbell

Think about any great story you’ve heard. Chances are the main character faces challenges or tests. In some, they will actually enter a cave. This isn’t by accident.

No great story can be told without an arc. A character needs to face tests and challenges or there’s nothing to overcome. If there is nothing to overcome then what’s interesting about it? Think about a movie where the character just sits in a chair happy and smiling for 90 minutes. I’m not buying a ticket. Now think about a movie where the hero has to fight evil and the fate of the world is at stake. Slightly more interesting isn’t it?

It’s funny because so many of us live in a state of “I wish I was on a beach” or “I wish I could win the lottery” mentality. There’s nothing wrong with that at all but we always seem to see the concept of happiness related to an unchallenged lifestyle. We want peace and quiet. We want to quit our jobs and move to a big house and then and only then we’ll be happy.

The reality is – life is challenging.

If the treasure that we seek lies in the cave we fear to enter (according to Joe Campbell’s brilliant metaphor) then the outcomes that we seek lie in facing our fears and challenges. Not avoiding them all together. There is no easy road.

The cave? We all have our own cave. It’s OURS.

The end of any great story? The main character overcomes the obstacles and comes full circle.

Our story? Enter your cave and find the treasure. What you seek can’t be found on the easy path.



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