Content Creation

#20: The Hero's Journey For Creative Entrepreneurs with Sam Marfleet

Hosted by Josh Gonsalves
1 HR 47 MIN
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Episode Description

Josh is joined by Sam Marfleet to discuss storytelling for creative entrepreneurs based on Sam's research on The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell.

Sam Marfleet is a writer and marketing consultant helping businesses tell more profitable stories. He has worked with DTC brands and CPG manufacturers helping scale brands to 7-figures. Sam runs a content creation project called SamLearns where he explores what it takes to be a creative-entrepreneur in the digital age. He is currently writing a study guide to the classic storytelling guide, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, that aims to bring Joseph Campbell's timeless wisdom to a new generation of storytellers.

Read Sam's study guide for The Hero with A Thousand Faces:

Connect with Sam at

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Stalk Josh on the Internet

  • Josh Met Sam with Nat Eliason shouted Sam out on Twitter and Josh reached out to Sam
  • Nat's Roam Research course: Effortless Output
  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces book by Joseph Campbell
  • All stories in mythology follow a common "formula"
  • Sam created a study guide for The Hero with a Thousand Faces
  • "When I look at a book, I see something different. I like to say that magic does exist, it's just 300 pages long."
  • "A good book isn't just something that you read. It's something you live by and changes your life. But for that to happen, you have to really meditate on it."
  • People don't want to admit how challenging it is to actually absorb information from a book.
  • This was Sam's second attempt reading the book. He found it difficult to digest the first time, which was his motivation for creating the study guide.
  • Sam couldn't find a good study guide online, so he took on the challenge himself.
  • Sam said that the most important part of the study guide is looking at the authors that Joseph Campbell was reading at the time of writing the book.
  • Sam sees books like software for the mind.
  • When you download an application, there's a [dependency graph]( mathematics%2C computer science and,dependencies from the dependency graph.) which tells what smaller applications are needed in order for that app to run.
  • Sam sees his study guide as being a dependency graph for the book. It's like upgrading the human mind software before running the software (the book).
  • Antifragile book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces is just as much about psychology and metaphysics as it is about mythology.
  • Finite and Infinite Games book by James Carse
  • "Any attempt to reject the adventure in front of you is simply a misunderstanding of how the world works."
  • "The mystical promise is that life, as the cycle of death and birth, exists in a larger, grander mystery called life."
  • During COVID-19 lockdown Sam made a promise to himself that it would be the most productive period of his life and it would revolve around his real interests.
  • Josh puts out as many "nodes in the networks" as possible to create synchronicity, get lucky, and meet new people.
  • Business storytelling vs. mythology for fictional storytelling
  • "A story is a container for which you can store information that makes it emotionally resonant."
  • "When you have a piece of information that you need to last generations, you need to frame it in a certain way. The story is our technology for making ideas more persuasive, more transmittable, and more durable."
  • Sam says that there shouldn't be a difference between a "business story" and a "mythological story". The framework is all the same.
  • Sam helps businesses tell more persuasive and more profitable stories.
  • Sam says a lot of business founders come to him with very specific domain knowledge, but that knowledge becomes a burden, not an asset, when it comes to explaining that to their audience, users, or the public.
  • Sam is a creative who stumbled into business. He only really understood business when he started viewing it as just another version of storytelling.
  • "Just as a good book should cause you to think and act, a good business story drives you to act."
  • "A good business story should make you think and reflect, and a good fiction story should make you go and act."
  • Fast Checkout (a company Sam says as done a good job at telling a compelling story)
  • Domm, the founder of Fast, gave people a hero to follow as the face of the company
  • You don't have to be aware of the Hero's Journey to write a Hero's Journey story, because Campbell believes that's just how we were "programmed" to tell stories.
  • Tool (band)
  • Oculus was acquired by Facebook for $2 Billion
  • Donald Miller
  • Story Brand
  • "You are not your hero. Your customer is your hero. If you are portraying your company as the hero, your customers are going to look for a different story where they can be the hero. Your company is the guide for the hero."
  • "If you're the wizard that hands your hero (your customer) the wand, who are you handing it to? And what is the transformation that they want in their lives?"
  • "Every individual is a hero looking for a transformation; everyone wants to get somewhere better. Start paying less attention to where you want to go, and more attention to where your customer wants to go."
  • We should want more neurodiverse people to accrue wealth. The world is much more interesting that way. If cooler people have more money, they will do cooler things and build cooler things.
  • Airr Audio — a podcast app that lets you pull quotes from podcasts and turn it into text for your notes.
  • Audible audiobooks
  • Roam Research — personal knowledge management software
  • Sam writes 100% of his notes for Hero with a Thousand Faces in Roam Research
  • Readwise — The central hub for collecting notes and highlights from books and articles
  • Instapaper — Save all of your articles to read later
  • Hypothesis — a highlighter for Chrome
  • Collaborating in Roam Research is still primitive. The Roam team is working on "Multiplayer" mode like Notion.
  • Creating "choose your own adventure" stories in Roam Research
  • Sam uses Roam to maintain a Dungeons and Dragons session
  • Sam Learns is an open-ended passion project
  • "Niching down" or committing to one platform vs. exploring many ideas and platforms
  • When you refuse the call to adventure, your life goes dark and grey. The one exception to this is the willed introversion of the creative who refuses every lesser call, because they're waiting for the grand call. This is the way of the yogi and the artist.
  • Even if it feels uncomfortable now, you're looking for something that you're interested in doing for at least the next 10-20 years, and the thing that will be your life's work.
  • Josh tells his own hero's journey story of his virtual reality company Contraverse
  • Entrepreneurship as the call to adventure
  • When Josh asks Sam if you can put an adventure on "pause", Sam says that the hero's journey is long and takes place over years and years.
  • The archetype of The Trial in The Hero's Journey
  • When you say yes to the adventure, all of the forces of universe are at your back and propel your forward.
  • The Buddha and the Badass book by Vishen Lakhiani
  • Finding your Soulprint
  • Three Most Important Questions: What kind of experiences do you want to have in life? Who do you need to grow into in order to have those experiences? Who will you help once you've reached this?
  • Josh took a Jim Kwik Super Reading course on Mindvalley
  • How to Read a Book
  • Learning meta-skills like reading will pay dividends over time
  • Books that Sam has on his desk right now:
  • How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
  • Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung
  • Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening by Joseph Goldstein
  • The Waste Books by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
  • The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracian
  • Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • Heroes by Stephen Fry
  • The Boys on Prime Video
  • How to stay happy while studying subjects that could make you feel existential dread
  • "The comedy is truer and deeper art, because the only reason you think a tragedy has a tragic end, is because you have halted your understanding of the story at the level of the human ego."
  • "Tragedies are not the ending, life wins always. If you get hung up on the tragic ending, it's because you're so ego-centric and self-centered that you forget the divine within you that carries on after death."
  • Sam is from Trinidad and Tobago
  • Josh's grandparents are from Guyana and St. Vincent
  • Being from the Caribbean offers a unique, laid back perspective on life
  • "Talking shit" in Trinidad is much different than "talking shit" in America. In Trinidad, it means talking about random, trivial things with your friends, taking time to celebrate, and having conversations about absolutely nothing.
  • "To the Gods, we're all just talking shit."
  • Unreal Engine
  • Josh looks at live much differently after playing with 3D physics in virtual reality. It's like seeing the source code of our reality.
  • Lucas' YouTube video where he created a real-life time machine in virtual reality with Snap Spectacles
  • "All of the formulas of how we tell stories, no matter the advancements in technologies, we use it to rehash the same concerns throughout history. That will not change as long as we have the question 'why are we here?' and that always produces the spontaneous production of the hero's journey."
  • "No matter what the medium is, the people who dig into The Hero's Journey and the psychology of what it means to live and the different existential fates of humans, those will be the people who have a grasp on storytelling regardless of the medium."
  • "Technology is a way to express that one story about life that is unchanging."
  • Sam was preparing for Coronavirus much earlier than what the government was recommending or what his friends were doing.
  • "Now is the time to make independent decisions and take action in advance of asking for permission."
  • "A fulfilled life is one in which you create. Just consuming doesn't lead to a fulfilled life."
  • "The most interesting and fascinating ideas are locked away in books that most people don't have the time or willingness to read, and there is something that needs to be done about that."
  • "Steal from the project manager's playbook and ship stuff. Create a publishing schedule and stick to it."
  • "Publishing on the internet isn't scary because nobody cares in the beginning, and they only care when it's good enough for them to care."
  • Music as a package for storytelling.
  • The most important thing to Sam that he's looking forward to is having conversations with people who are excited about storytelling.
  • If you're into storytelling, Connect with Same on Twitter @samlearns

Thanks for coming this far! if you're reading this, it is no accident. The universe brought you to this corner of the internet for a reason, and you're on the right track. I already know that you're an amazing person and I can't wait to connect with you!

— Josh

Episode Transcript

Josh Gonsalves
Mind Meld Podcast Host

Hi, I'm Josh Gonsalves, the host and producer of Mind Meld. I'm also a Canadian Academy Award-nominated director and Co-founder of Contraverse, an immersive media company. I'm a multi-media experience designer living and working in Toronto, operating at the intersection of design and exponential technologies to develop solutions that change the world for the better.

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