“In fact, I’m going to apologize. This whole ‘dream myth’ has been propagated by news reporters like me. Because we love telling this story, we love the dream. Whenever you write a profile of some person who is a success or who is going to jail, you always start at the end and follow the line back so it looks like it all makes sense. You sit someone down and you ask, “When did you first dream of being an opera singer (or a Nobel–prize winning economist, or the worst inside trader of all time)?”
Then you ask, “What obstacles did you have to overcome? How did you triumph?” Reporters are no different from every storyteller through time. We want to tell and hear the hero’s journey. The epic myth.
You know what never makes it into the hero’s journey? All the dreams that didn’t work out. There’s just not time. You never hear the part of the legend where the hero just wanted to chill for the summer, hang out in Portland, and figure some stuff out. Get his head straight. That happens, but every storyteller edits that out.”
— NPR Reporter, Robert Smith, during his Reed College Commencement Address
It is perhaps fitting that Steven Pressfield has run a series of articles on “The Hero’s Journey” of late, because his latest book explores exactly those areas of the journey that Robert Smith accuses reporters of leaving or editing out of most subjects’ “success stories.” The part where the hero — deliberately or unconsciously — choses the wrong career path, sometimes repeatedly. Or where she sandbags it for a summer to “get her head straight” or work through some stuff.
In other words, most people leave out exactly the part that the rest of us desperately need to know — what happened to get you from the point where you weren’t making it to the point where you were! How’d you make the leap, man? Tell us!
And there’s a simple reason most people don’t tell us, even beyond the reporters desire to present us with slices of life with the boring parts cut out. Quite frankly, that shit is embarrassing. Who wants to talk about self-sabotage, mis-steps, and unsuccessful careers. Not me.
That’s what makes Steven Pressfield such an incredible treasure and stand-up guy: he’ll do it. And in Turning Pro, he does just that; he gives you exactly the nitty gritty on HOW to turn pro, what happened before he turned pro, and what you can expect in the journey.
So if that’s the kind of stuff you’d like to learn — if you’re tired of reading all those dream come true stories with the important shit cut out — then link on over to Black Irish Books and grab yourself a copy!
P.S. Black Irish Books is the new publishing company started by Steven Pressfield and Shawn Coyne. It’s a great venture and worth supporting, so even if you’d rather get your copy from Amazon, please consider ordering direct from the author.