Embarking on Your Own Odyssey

Lessons learned from Homer’s Epic Poem

He did not have braun more great than Achilles, nor more courage than Ajax, but while the two warriors fell in battle, it was he who made it home after so many years. He was neither the general that Agammemnon was, nor was he ever truly as rich as his friend Menelaus. His tireless journey home, his struggle to return to the place of his birth, however, made him the greatest of all these Greek heroes. Personifying the story that exists truly in all of us, Odysseus, through his incredible perseverance, is an incredible example of what it means to give nothing up — regardless of how unclear the other side of the journey may be. Fictional or not, as people, entrepreneurs, leaders, lovers, long-suffering individuals, we can all gain from the Ithican emperor’s story.

20 years is a long time. This is too true in the modern world, where too many fortunes, reputations, etc. have been made and lost within that timespan. This was similarly true in Ancient Greece, where the average lifespan was considerably shorter than it is today. But Odysseus, determined to reach home soil, spent 11 years to return home after the 9 year war. He encountered cyclopses, sirens, nymphs, monsters galore, along the way, but he kept a clear vision of his mission; get home no matter what. Friends dying alongside him every step of the journey, he wept and continued. Many times we embark on missions that seem arduous, and the end result leaves us far astray from our initial goal. Every step of the way, however, the man drew inspiration to continue on from the memory of times past — a powerful stimulant for action. In order to keep creeping doubts and aspersions cast on goals set at bay, it is crucial that we too remember exactly what lit the fire in us to start, using it to fuel our passion through until the end.

The Odyssey is long. It is written in a form rarely used outside of poetry circles. We don’t even know who really wrote it. But this tale of Odysseus, strong-willed and stubborn minded, shows us the relevance of the past in enlightening the often murky future.

By Michael Salib

Cheif Content Officer @Usspire

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