Folks who study the structure of effective storytelling often say characters need both an external goal and an internal goal. The external goal is what’s most recognizable on the surface as the Quest: slay the dragon, return the One Ring to Mordor, catch the serial killer, find your way home from Oz to Auntie Em.
But the internal goal can sometimes be even more meaningful, and even more of a Quest: stop being afraid of change, believe you’re capable of more than other people think, face your fears, dare to live your dream.
The great Joseph Campbell believed that cultures tell stories to remind us to live our lives as meaningful Quests: to find the thing we were born to do, and devote our energies to it, however scary or difficult or dangerous it might be…or however much our friends and families disapprove. He called that “Finding your bliss.” He said, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”
For most of us, our Quest won’t involve slaying actual dragons, but it might just involve changing the world for the better.
What about you? Do you have a Quest in your life? What’s the one thing you just NEED to do to make your life have meaning?