According to Seth Godin, “We try to make big, important change, but we don’t talk about it in that way.” People want to be epic. They want to experience that feeling that they get from watching movies and vicariously living through characters on screen. People want to do something important.
It is this sense of being able to do something epic that is lacking in life today. Fear of failure, fear of making mistakes, fear of ridicule hold people back from doing what they truly want to do. As much as people want to be part of something greater than they are alone, they also want to be comfortable. The media hasn’t done anyone any favors with its portrayal of how easy epic should be. Put together a three minute training montage, and the boxer becomes the heavyweight champion of the world.
Epic just doesn’t happen. Epic takes time. Ulysses epic adventure happened over the course of a decade. He faced several challenges including his own short-term desires and sorcery before he could get back home to his wife and son.
Epic takes ability. Someone who wants to accomplish something epic will have to train in those skills necessary to accomplish the feat. The average person cannot just hop in a sailboat and sail around the world. The trip takes planning, knowledge and skill. When it happens, it will be epic, but it cannot successfully happen without having the ability to sail.
Epic takes luck. While luck might be opportunity meeting preparation, there are times when events are out of a person’s control. Being prepared will give the person the best opportunity to make epic happen, but sometimes, it just takes a little luck to go just a little further. Maybe it is a gust of wind, maybe it is well-placed word of encouragement, whatever it is, it will be just enough to push the person accomplishing the epic feat over the top
Epic sometimes goes unnoticed. When Ulysses finally arrived home, he found men waiting to court his wife. Ulysses had to hide until the time was right to reveal who he was. There was no fanfare celebrating his return, just a group of power hungry men waiting to wed his wife.
Epic requires patience. In a world where instant gratification is a thing and adult attention spans are dwindling to that of less than a goldfish, patience is hard to come by. Delayed gratification and self-satisfaction are undervalued in many cases. They are required for the epic event to truly be epic.