Building on previous episodes about the hero’s journey, today Connor and Brittany talk about how you can be both hero and villain.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Brittany: Hi Connor.
Connor: Hey, Brittany.
Brittany: So today I wanted to combine some things we’ve discussed and actually a few different episodes, and kind of pick your brain and see what you think. So we talk a lot about a hero’s journey and, for good reason. You know, as humans, we learn through fiction. We’ve talked about this before, and we learned how to be our own heroes that we talked about that with Dan Sanchez from fi. And I thought that was a really great episode because learning how to be a hero helps us overcome problems in our own life and makes us stronger. But the question, or, topic I want to discuss today is, can we be both villain and hero? Hmm. So we like to think of ourselves as being the hero of our own adventure, right? And, we are, but sometimes we forget that we’re living in a world of other heroes. You know, we’re not the only heroes and, facing their dragons, so to speak, and, you know, doing their best to be courageous. These other people are, are struggling just like we are, but what if we sometimes and without meaning to play the role of villain and become the bully? And we’ve talked about bullying before. So Connor, and if you don’t have an example of this, that’s fine. I think I have too many. But have you ever been in a situation maybe when you were younger, where you had to look back and think, oh my goodness, I may have been a villain or a bully?
Connor: I think I’ve shared on a past episode that I was actually bullied a lot when I was a teenager. When I was in high school. I was a very kind of late bloomer. so I looked like I was, you know, in middle school, like, you know, throughout my junior year of high school. So I was, I was picked on a lot. And so I, definitely knew what it was like to be bullied. I had some really hard days as a kid. and that I think that gives you a lot of empathy, right? To kind of like, never want to do that to other people. but there were circumstances in, especially in my youth where, I found myself not trying to be mean or not trying to, you know, hurt the people’s feelings, but just inevitably doing that. In fact, Brittany, I have to be geeky just for a moment.
Brittany: Just for one moment, Connor, I think we’ve had a few
Connor: last night I watched a documentary, all about ska music. And so I grew up in San Diego in the nineties, eighties, and nineties. And ska music was huge. Yep. ska and punk music and it all originated kind of, southern California there. So I was in the middle of it. I was in a ska band, you know, we did a bunch of shows. So watching this documentary last night, brought back all the fields, all the memories, and to your question, now that you prompt me here, I remember occasionally where as I would play in my band and we would do concerts, there would be others who would be kind of jealous, who would feel excluded right? That they weren’t part of the band. they would feel that, you know, I was letting things go to my head, that I thought I was cool, you know? and they weren’t. And, it was never me meaning to do those things. I was just enjoying life and having fun. And you can’t include everyone who would want to be included in all the things.
Brittany: That’s called Socialism.
Connor: Exactly. there would inevitably be, you know, some hurt feelings or some people that felt like they, you know, they wanted to be part of what I was doing and I didn’t really want them to. And so they would kind of start to see me as a villain, you know, letting things go to my head when I felt like I was just kind of doing what was right for me. and so, like you say, like sometimes without meaning to, you know, we can kind of become someone else’s villain in their own heroes journey because we’re standing in their way of what they feel that they want.
Brittany: Yeah. And so, my example’s a little bit more intentional, which makes me feel bad. girls are infamously very mean to each other, in the public school system, especially because we’re honestly put against each other to pit against each other a lot. and there’s one moment. So I was not unpopular. I was like in the second tier of popularity. So there were the popular girls there were like me, and then there were a lot of people under me. So I wanted to fit in with the popular girls. And I remember we were all in drama together and I pretended like I wasn’t into drama even though it was like my favorite class, cuz drama’s not usually associated with being super cool, unfortunately, and I remember there was this one girl who had an idea for a skit that was just, I thought, you know, I thought it was embarrassing. And I remember looking at her, I’m like, let me break it down for you. You sit over there and I pointed to like the benches where like the quote-unquote loser said, I’m like, and we sit over here so we can’t really do what you want to do. And I remember she’s like, oh, I need to go to the bathroom. And she ran away and she cried. And I remember the popular girls like laughing and being like, that was a pretty good burn. And this is something to this day that bothers me. Like, I’ve thought about fighting her on Facebook and being like, remember that thing that happened a million years ago? I still think about it. I’m so sorry. So I think sometimes we forget that we don’t only need to be the hero in story, we also need to make sure we’re not the villain in someone else’s. And I always go back to Harry Potter cuz that’s my favorite story, but in Harry Potter in the, so stone, before Harry and Ron become friends with Hermione, they end up hurting her feelings so badly that she ends up running to the bathroom to cry and where she nearly gets killed by a troll. Now, in real life, making fun of someone is probably not going to get them killed by a troll. But being part, you know, part of being a hero is having strong character and treating people with kindness. And that’s why I loved him. We had, I almost called him Larry David, Larry Reid on the show because he always talks about how individual liberty is so intertwined with having strong character.
Connor: I like that a lot. And it reminds me a bit of, you know, the Tuttle Twins and the Golden Rule. These are like important concepts on just how we should interact with one another and making sure like you say that we’re not, the villain and someone else’s story. If anything, it should prompt us to think of the opposite of Villandry, right? Like helping other people. How can, like we’re the hero in our own story. We’re on our own journey towards whatever goals that we have, but we’re only going to succeed as all the heroes do. We talked about this before with a guide. you look at all of the heroe’s journeys. You look at Frodo, you look at Neo, you look at, what’s the Harry Potter kid’s name? Harry Potter.
Brittany: Wow. Connor.
Connor: And my wife would be rolling her eyes right now.
Brittany: I’m rolling my eyes.
Connor: And, so all of these, characters, all of you know, they all need guides. They need Morpheus, they need Gandolf, they need, hang on, let me think about it, Harry Potter.
Brittany: Dumbledore Haggar, he’s got a few.
Connor: Yeah. So they always need people to help them. And, in real life, we always need people. We need our parents, we need the mentors, we need our, you know, employers, we need our coaches. We need whoever is kind of in our life that can help us get, you know, down that path. A few more steps on our journey. And so instead of being a villain at someone else’s, think of how rewarding it is to be the guide, you know, to be in a place where it’s like, Hey, look, I’m, on my own journey in a sense, but I’m a few steps ahead of you. You know, like I’ve been where you are at before. In fact, this is kind of how we market the Tuttle twins’ books in a way. Is that like, Hey, parents, you know, I’m Connor and, several years ago I had this problem and so I tried to solve it, and now my solution can help you because you’re just like me. You want your kids to learn these ideas. I was also frustrated, right? that, I couldn’t find anything. And so let me help you with that same problem. It’s very rewarding to be the guide. And so instead of being the villain, again, maybe it’s intentional like what happened to you. maybe it’s, unintentional, like the story that I shared. but either way, if we put ourselves in the mindset of how can we be the guide? How can we help other people with whatever they’re going through? I think that could be a very, enriching and rewarding experience even for a young kid, right? Even for a teenager who’s going through their own stuff. If you’re placing yourself in the mindset of wanting to help others on their journey, you’re gonna trigger kind of the rule of reciprocity, right? Like,
Brittany: Explain that. That’s a big word.
Connor: Yeah. So, reciprocity is when things kind of come back. Think of it like a boomerang, right? You’re reciprocating, ah, and so if I, like, I’ll use you, Brittany, as an example. If I do something nice for you, let’s say spontaneously, I see you on Facebook posting about some problem you’re having. And so I go over here and I.
Brittany: You know, you give me the care, react,
Connor: I buy you something, I do something for you, whatever, right? Because I see that you have a problem, a little stumbling block in your journey. So let’s say I go do something nice for you. Well, you’re gonna appreciate that you’re gonna be grateful, but it’s gonna kind of plant in your mind this, this feeling of indebtedness where you’re gonna feel in debt, where in my debt, where you’re going to want to reciprocate, you’re going to want to give back. It’s just the human condition. There’s some really interesting, science about how the brain works in this way where when you do good things for others, it naturally leads them to want to do good things back for you. And so, if you’re a kid listening, if you’re a teenager and you want other people to help you and do nice things, if you want mom or dad to take you on that vacation you wanted, or get you that thing, like there’s a life hack for this, right? like, it’s very simple. Do good things for them. Create value for them. Be there you know, guide in a way. Find the problems in their own heroes’ journey that are kind of blocking their path or causing them problems. And see if you can figure out a solution and, be the guide in their life, even just for a little bit. And they’re gonna want to do good things for you. And that’s gonna help you in life, you know, on your own heroes journey. So, little life hacks maybe, for today’s episode.
Brittany: I like that you brought up that mentors have already gone through problems. Because I think sometimes we think our heroes, the ones we look up to are perfect, right? But know what is perfect. And I almost respect people more when I know they’ve gone through a lot, when I know they’ve struggled, when I know they’ve messed up, because I know they’ve really learned their lesson, right? They’ve been through it. It’s one thing to have someone talk at you and tell, you know, be a good person, treat others, you know, they deserve to be treated. You know, I’m so perfect. That doesn’t really resonate with me. I like to hear people who have gone through a lot, like, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and I’m gonna say that wrong. Solzhenitsyn who we talked about before, in fact, he’s in the Courageous Heroes book, I believe. he, you know, he’s somebody who went through a lot who, actually helped perpetuate, who helped further socialism. And he learned from his mistakes. And because of that, he wrote, you know, one of the most important books ever written. So I think one thing we need to remember, you know, we can absolutely be both hero and villain and we’re capable of being both very good and very bad. But, we can choose to be kind, we can choose to treat others with respect. And that kind of helps us bring about the world. You wanna see where individual liberty is the key. And every hero is going to face trials, but I don’t think we should make it harder for all the other heroes out there.
Connor: I wanna expand Britney on that point a little bit, cuz it’s a super important one when we’re talking about, you know, being heroes or being villains. I think the answer is, you know, both, right? like growing up, you know, especially like my son, I see him trying to grapple with this right now, thinking that things are binary. In other words, one thing or the other, black or white binary is like two choices, right? Think of a bicycle. bi, BI means two. And so it’s binary. There’s, two choices. They’re either this person’s either good or evil. And so as we talk about history with our kids, or even, you know, current life, occasionally my son will say, well, is he a good person or a bad person? Hmm. And, I’ve had to, you know, take advantage of that learning opportunity to say, well, you know, both just like I am, and just like you are, we have a little bit of that, in all of us, and some, you know, more than others, but it’s not like there are only heroes and only villains. In fact, some of the greatest, you know, tales, and adventures. The hero does something really bad, you know, falls from grace. Yeah. Has to rebuild themself, has to overcome, that problem. As you were just mentioning with the guides, sometimes they’ve had their own problems in life. Sometimes the people who have been some of the worst people, but yet who overcome that and turn their life around, become the greatest heroes and guides for others. And so I think we need to recognize that we can both be a hero and a villain. And we kind of have the, you know, the proverbial angel on one shoulder and devil on the other shoulder kind of tempting us in one way, but, how important it is to make those kinds of daily choices, to make sure that we’re, choosing the right as it were, Yeah, right? And, making sure that we’re helping others on their path as well. Final thoughts, Brittany? And then we’ll close it out.
Brittany: I think you got it absolutely right. I think we need to remember that we can be both. But I love the emphasis on choosing, right? Because we don’t have a lot of control over things that happen in our life, but we can choose how we act and we can choose how we react to things. So I think it’s very important too, kind of what you said, choose the right, right. Choose to be a good person. Choose to be the hero. Always.
Connor: Good thoughts, Brittany, thanks as always for chatting. And until next time, we’ll talk to you later.
Brittany: Talk to you later.