The Real Reason the Hero Can Defeat the Villain

Watch any mediocre movie and chances are good the hero beats the villain and the story ends. Just defeating the villain is never enough. What the hero must really do is change internally. That means the hero must finally abandon his or her limiting belief and embrace a more empowering belief instead.

Put another way, throughout your story, the hero embraces a lie that’s actually holding the hero back. Only when the hero can let go of this lie (limiting belief) and embrace a truth (empowering belief) can the hero finally succeed.

Watch this scene from “Mary Poppins” and you’ll see that the father finally abandons his lie that life must be orderly and strict, and that he needs to love his family. Once he changes internally, he suddenly gains his physical goal, which is to become a partner in the bank where he works.

Study any good movie and you’ll see that the hero must change internally first before he or she can achieve an external goal.

In “Star Wars,” Luke finally trusts the Force (internal change), which allows him to blow up the Death Star (external goal).

In “Legally Blonde,” Elle finally trusts that she’s strong as a woman (internal change) by taking over a court case, which allows her to prove her client’s innocence (external goal).

What happens if the hero gets an external goal first without changing? Then the external goal will feel empty and meaningless. In “Soul,” the hero wants to play jazz professionally (external goal) and one day, he finally achieves that goal.

Yet after an amazing performance, he realizes he’s not completely satisfied. That’s when he finally realizes there’s more to life than jazz Internal change), which lets him finally appreciate everything else in life.

Make your hero change internally and then he or she can achieve an external goal. That’s the simple way to make a hero’s goal feel more memorable and emotionally impactful.

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