Have you ever watched the original Star Wars trilogy?
If you have, you’ll recognise this iconic scene that takes place at the beginning of A New Hope.
Luke Skywalker — farmhand, idealist, dreamer — is standing at the edge of his uncle’s homestead. It’s evening, and he’s gazing out across the dusty expanse of the Tatooine landscape. Twin suns are setting on the alien horizon.
The music swells as the camera focuses on Luke’s face. He longs to leave the farm, and he wonders what’s waiting for him out there in the wider universe…
Of course, we all know what happens next. An old hermit named Obi-Wan Kenobi emerges from the desert, teaching Luke the ways of the Force, then calling upon him to embark on a grand adventure.
And together with a motley crew of allies, they set off to help the Rebels fight the Empire.
It’s a nerve-racking journey. Luke endures trials. He suffers heartbreak. He loses his innocence. And, ultimately, he comes to embrace his mystical destiny. He matures into the hero he was always meant to be. Everything comes full circle in the end…
It’s a satisfying narrative. It hits all the right emotional touchstones. And that’s why the original Star Wars trilogy remains a well-loved classic to this day.
But why does this mythic storyline appeal to us so much? And why do we find ourselves identifying so strongly with Luke’s journey?
The discovery of the monomyth
Long before there was Star Wars, there was a chap named Joseph Campbell.
Nope, I’m not talking about a fictional character this time. I’m talking about a real guy.
Born in 1904, Campbell was an American professor who had a long-time fascination with mythology and psychology. Driven by his passion, he roamed across Europe and Asia, immersing himself in local folklore — everything from Odysseus to Jesus to King Arthur.
In 1949, after decades of research, Campbell published his ground-breaking book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. He described what he had found — a single cohesive thread in storytelling that was present across all cultures.
He called it the monomyth. The Hero’s Journey. It goes like this…
- Part 1: Departure — A boy discovers that there is something poisoning his village, and he is called to venture out into the outside world to find a cure for it.
- Part 2: Initiation — The boy meets allies, confronts enemies and loses his innocence.
- Part 3: Return — Now a man armed with knowledge and skills, he returns to his childhood roots to set things right.
Uh-huh. I can sense a lightbulb flashing in your mind right about now. Because this monomyth thing sounds an awful lot like Luke Skywalker’s journey of discovery, doesn’t it? But, hey, it’s not just Luke Skywalker. It applies just as strongly to Frodo Baggins’ quest to destroy the One Ring. Or Harry Potter’s mission to defeat Lord Voldemort.
Take your pick…
There’s lots to choose from…
Clearly, the Hero’s Journey is the template for the mythology that we all know and love. It’s about psychological archetypes — our deep-seated need to see our subconscious selves reflected in the stories that we tell…
Joseph Campbell summed it like this:
‘The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
‘Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.’
The heroic pathway of an investor
Now, when you stop and think about it, your own journey as an investor pretty much mirrors the monomyth as well…
Like Luke Skywalker, you’re standing on familiar home ground, but you find your gaze being drawn towards the horizon, as you consider unfamiliar prospects. You hear the call to adventure. You know what awaits you out there is scary. But you swallow your fear. You venture out anyway.
And as you navigate the rough-and tumble wilderness of investing, certain truths become evident:
- The higher the risk, the higher the return.
- The lower the risk, the lower the return.
- Blue-chip stocks are safest but pay out the least.
- Small-cap stocks are riskiest but pay out the most.
That’s when the mind game starts. When do you buy? When do you sell? How will you know what’s available out there? And, finally, what isn’t the mainstream media telling you?
In your quest for answers, you will stumble and fall. You will scrape your knees. You will gash your chin. You might even feel the copper taste of blood on your lips. But always, always, you will rise and keep going. You have to. The path to enlightenment demands it.
But here’s the good news — you don’t have to undertake this journey alone.
Money Morning New Zealand is here to serve as your mentor and guide.
Like Obi Wan-Kenobi, we’re grizzled veterans with our fair share of battle scars. We know that investing — much like mastering the mysteries of the Force — is not an exact science. It’s more of an art form that demands transcendence and intuition. You have to learn how to put your finger on the pulse of the market in order to feel its vibrations.
In the words of Joseph Campbell:
‘The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.’
At Money Morning, we are all about studying the financial landscape, outlining the threats, and charting a path forward for you to take. So that you can make an informed decision and put together your own balanced investment portfolio…
Remember: You are the hero of your own story. You alone have the power to pick which beast you wish to fight — the bear or the bull. Our mission is to train you accordingly so that you are quick and agile enough to adjust to the conditions of the market.
From departure…to initiation…to return…it’s all about embracing the unknown and learning to get better at reading the financial terrain.
Your Hero’s Journey starts here…
Contributor, Money Morning New Zealand