“Picking a path, even if it’s not the right path, will get you closer to finding the path that will work for you.”
“The Power of Myth” is a series of interviews conducted over two years between Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, originally meant for television, but eventually repackaged into this book covering Campbell’s lifetime of research on the power of mythology to influence our lives and thinking.
It made both of us seriously think about the value of mythology, stories, religion, and how historic lessons can be carried across time. If you’re someone who normally prefers actionable information, and reading non-fiction, The Power of Myth makes a strong case for how timeless stories can teach us more than a bulleted list ever can.
We cover a lot in the episode, including:
- How mythology can influence your work and pursuing your passions
- Using mythology and theology as a guide for your life
- Finding your path to bliss and maintaining that bliss
- Promoting growth by welcoming your challenges and enemies
- Balancing the necessary sacrifices in everything that you do
- Gaining inspiration from ancient mythology and theology
And much more. Please enjoy, and be sure to grab a copy of The Power of Myth!
If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to also listen to our launch episodes on Mastery by Robert Greene to learn how to become a master at your craft, and Letters from a Stoic by Seneca to learn ancient wisdom for a better life.
Mentioned in the show:
- Skywalker Ranch [1:02]
- Sarah Lawrence College [1:31]
- Jordan Peterson’s Podcast (biblical series) [3:35]
- Maasai Tribe People [9:48]
- Tim Ferriss Podcast (dating heuristic episode) [14:57]
- Masculine/Feminine Personality Traits [15:43] (Three related articles: first, second, and third)
- Jocko Podcast [17:46]
- The Optionality Trap [28:29]
- Bonobos [29:41]
- Andy Dunn’s VC blog post [29:45]
- Zappos [35:05]
- Twilight Zone (episode mentioned) [35:38]
- Made You Think Mastery podcast episode [38:35]
- Nat Chat Podcast [39:48]
- DiscMan [41:14]
- Nat and Neil’s Nat Chat episode [43:46]
- Bitcoin [50:02]
- Nike [52:55]
- Adidas [52:56]
- Wall-E [57:19]
- Dota 2 [58:26]
- World of Warcraft [58:31]
- Starcraft [58:32]
- Hardcore History Podcast [1:06:10]
- Biblical Series Podcast on Cain and Abel [1:14:33]
- Made You Think Letter’s From a Stoic podcast episode [1:20:55]
- Made You Think Antifragile podcast episode [1:20:56]
- The Power of Myth (Nat’s Notes) [0:44]
- Harry Potter [3:51]
- Sapiens (Nat’s Notes) [8:32]
- The Way of the Superior Man (Nat’s Notes) [16:17]
- The Odyssey [28:02]
- The Alchemist (Nat’s Notes) [28:34]
- The Secret [28:40]
- Delivering Happiness (Tony Hsieh’s book) [35:07]
- Play It Away [38:07]
- The Sovereign Individual (Nat’s Notes) [40:42]
- The Quran [49:14]
- American Indian Myths and Legends [1:07:58]
- The Selfish Gene [1:11:48]
- The Bhagavad Gita (Nat’s Notes) [1:16:34]
- The Way of Zen [1:17:05]
- Words That Work (Nat’s Notes) [1:17:58]
- The Joseph Campbell Companion [1:19:34]
- Joseph Campbell [0:55]
- Bill Moyers [0:55]
- George Lucas [1:36]
- J.K. Rowling [3:54]
- Yuval Noah Harari [8:35]
- Tim Ferriss [14:57]
- Jocko Willink [17:46]
- Plato [22:00]
- Andy Dunn [29:40]
- Tony Hsieh [35:03]
- Mark Cuban [38:06]
- Dan Carlin [1:06:10]
- Richard Dawkins [1:11:48]
- Carl Jung [1:12:02]
- Alan Watts [1:17:05]
- Nassim Nicholas Taleb [1:17:26]
- Frank Luntz [1:17:58]
0:00 - Introduction, some background information on The Power of Myth, and some popular modern-day mythological references.
4:26 - The ease of remembering myths and some thoughts on our memorization abilities hundreds of years ago.
6:20 - Mythology in the modern world and using mythology to steer you towards better and more authentic desires.
9:30 - Campbell’s philosophy with having to earn your adulthood and having a clear demarcation for adulthood.
13:30 - The more mythological aspect of love and lust that was more prominent in the past. Also, speaking on the dynamic of masculine and feminine energy.
19:05 - The significance of various symbols found in the world, speaking about theology versus mythology, and using both as personal guidelines for a better life.
26:58 - Campbell’s thoughts of self-actualization, following your bliss, and using that bliss to find the right path in life.
34:26 - Maintaining a creative outlet, having a meaning to live, and making sacrifices to maintain that bliss.
38:35 - Advice for finding your bliss, trying many different things, and taking different paths.
45:24 - Using mythological stories and their characters, challenges, and motivations to help you with your own journies.
48:17 - Balancing the sacrifice and payment for each thing you do and realizing you’ll most likely have to put in the same amount of work as everyone one that path before you.
52:02 - Loving your struggles and enemies, as they are the instruments for your destination. Looking for competitors and challenge to promote growth.
57:43 - The false sense of achievement and meaning you get from video games and the huge issue with this.
1:01:49 - The structure of the hero’s journey and viewing your life in that structure to make better decisions, similar to “What would this person do?”.
1:04:35 - Campbell’s mask of eternity idea, how the structure of mythology matches the structure of our daily lives, the morality aspect of myths, and how certain myths may have helped ancient tribes survive.
1:15:58 - Some last thoughts, gaining inspiration from religious myths and ancient texts, and tying words to strong feelings.
1:18:58 - Wrap up, some other last pieces of thoughts, and some info on the next podcast episode.
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“It’s game where, if you do find your bliss and you follow it, you can’t lose. Because you’re not going for the destination, you’re going for that journey.”