Updated: May 4, 2022
We've all heard the Joseph Campbell quote, "follow your bliss." The true intention of this statement has been watered-down, plastered onto bumper stickers, recited at grade twelve commencements, and offered as advice to the dissatisfied. A motivation manifesto that claims following your passion and doing what you love will lead to a life of joy and success, and as the cliché goes, you'll never work a day in your life.
When asked by students if he meant to perpetuate this hedonistic philosophy, Campbell replied, “I should have said follow your blisters!”
Joseph Campbell, the author of, The Power of Myth, has been misinterpreted when it comes to this now-famous saying. When studying Sanskrit ideology, Campbell came upon the concept of bliss and described it this way. “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.”
Campbell wasn't referring to a job or a specific path as a way to bliss! Bliss has little to do with external endeavours; instead, it's an examination of self and the intentional effort of working towards what's fulfilling to you. It doesn't mean that you'll be guaranteed success and wealth and acclaim if you do that, nor will you experience bliss in every moment. It's a mindset and choice to see moments of bliss as a guide and an occasional, welcome companion on your journey.
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