The HERO Project
The HERO Project mission is to equip 100,000 children and young adults with a transformative learning framework that will help them develop confidence, discipline, courage, and clear vision for their lives.
We are busily translating the ubiquitous 'Hero's Journey' monomyth — found over many millenia throughout all the world's many mythological traditions and spiritual practices, as well as in great works of literature and film — into a practical blueprint for personal growth and spiritual development.
The Hero's Journey was first conceptualized by Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero With a Thousand Faces, tracing the hero's footsteps from mediocrity to mastery – from the Call to Adventure to the Road of Trials, a journey often through the Underworld, sometimes conquering death and being reborn with a new, greater identity, and returning to his or her "Known World" with new wisdom and insights to share with the community. It is an incremental, transformative process which maps even onto psychotherapy, in addition to the metaphorical journeys that resonate most with audiences in film, books, epic poems, and mythical traditions.
We will base our framework largely around the work of Joseph Campbell, as well as Dr. Jordan B. Peterson – professor of psychology at the University of Toronto (particularly his courses PSY230h Personality and Its Transformations + PSY434 Maps of Meaning) – and clinical psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Travelled, among others.
The HERO Project is dedicated to translating the academic work of these wise teachers, and developing practical tools designed to help you explore the architecture of the psyche, refine a more accurate "map" of reality, and craft a workable plan for overcoming great adversity, slaying your own (inner) dragons, and navigating definitively towards your vision of your ideal self and an ideal life.
Who We Are
I am Cody McKibben. I've been writing at Thrilling Heroics since 2006 about personal development, exploring diverse world cultures, and entrepreneurial education. Over the last 10 years I have helped over 1,000 people to change their lives, quit their jobs, start businesses, and even move abroad.
I spent years studying ancient Western traditions from Gilgamesh to Odysseus to Judaism, Christianity and Islam… earning my bachelor's degree in Humanities and Religious Studies from the California State University. I wrote my thesis on the Gnostic Dead Sea Scrolls, and for a short time, I was even a Bible study teacher in another life.
Then at age 24 I left my home state of California and traveled as far as I could imagine to Thailand, eventually embarking on a round-the-world trip through about 35 countries across Asia, South America, Central America and Europe – spending over 7 years lingering especialy in the East, learning about wildly different societal norms, traditions, mysticism, and Buddhism in particular.
My most important Call to Adventure came when I discovered I was a father. My son Christopher was born in the Philippines, while I was on assignment on the other side of the world in South America mentoring for an alternative technology and education organization in Santiago, Chile.
Though it came as a surprise, it was at this point that I dedicated myself to the fatherhood journey, and I realized it was time to transform my life and build my business around something much more meaningful. This meant overcoming my worst self-destructive habits, beating addiction, mending broken relationships, and a tremendous amount of inner spiritual growth.
The following 3 years were a whirlwind of misadventures making my way back around the globe, learning how to build a family with my partner Jam, losing her father, surmounting 7 months of embassy bureacracy in 2 countries to bring them to the USA to support my mother through a dire stage 4 breast cancer battle, then returning to Asia attempting (but ultimately failing) to build a life as expats in a 3rd culture, dealing with the betrayal of a business partner, failure of my business, and overwhelming debts which spiralled us into chaos.
"In times of radical uncertainty, it’s necessary that the Hero be born.
Because the Hero is the person who doesn’t deal with something specific, the Hero is the person that deals with Uncertainty itself. And that’s the Great Dragon of Chaos.
…What’s necessary is for the individual to become prepared for anything and everything, and the way that you do that is by developing your character."
–Dr. Jordan Peterson, University of Toronto professor of psychology
I had already made it my mission to build an educational framework around the Hero's Journey for my own son Chris and our future children. And it was at my lowest moment that my son himself gave me the encouragement I needed to carry on through the treacherous path of turmoil life had laid before me.
"It's time to be a hero, Papa!" he said to me. A line from his favorite animated show PJ Masks, but the meaning was clear to me. :)
After nearly nine total years living overseas, now with a fast-growing 3-year-old who's getting to school age, after a catastrophic betrayal in business in February, and two years of continued challenges and political upheaval in Asia, my queen Jam and I finally made the decision to move our young family to the United States — which offers our son tremendous advantages.
But a move across continents, and across wildly different cultures, is no small task. We donated or gave away most of our worldly belongings to friends, packed up the absolute necessities and gave up our condo in Thailand.
I sent Christopher and his Mama to her home island in the Philippines for the summer, to visit grandmother and to put our son in summer school, while I worked on laying foundations here in California to successfully relocate the family internationally. But that's when life had even MORE unlikely setbacks in store for us…
Caught between nearby attacks by ISIS-linked militants and martial law in the Philippines on an island 7000 miles away from me, we had to hasten our plans and bring Chris and Jam here to safety in California 3 months ahead of schedule for a fresh new start.
Help us get a strong start in our new life in America & support a new family business
I am committed to building The HERO Project as a life-changing educational foundation for my son Chris and as legacy for our family and our children. A software and education startup dedicated to creating personal growth tools, hosting education-themed events, and building a MOVEMENT for those of us who are dedicated to "sorting ourselves out" in the words of Dr. Jordan Peterson, conquering our inner demons and consciously creating order out of the chaos of our lives.
"So it is in good parenting as well as in good psychotherapy. The same […] extension of ourselves is involved in listening to our children. To respond to their healthy needs we must change ourselves. Only when we are willing to undergo the suffering of such changing can we become the parents our children need us to be. And since children are constantly growing and their needs are changing, we are obliged to change and grow with them. Everyone is familiar with parents, for instance, who can deal effectively with their children until the time of adolescence, but who then become totally ineffective as parents because they are unable to change and adjust their attitudes toward their now older and different children. And, as in all other instances of love, it would be incorrect to view the suffering and changing involved in good parenting as some kind of self-sacrifice or martyrdom; to the contrary, parents have more to gain from the process than their children. Parents who are unwilling to risk the suffering of changing and growing and learning from their children are choosing a path of senility — whether they know it or not — and their children and the world will leave them far behind. Learning from their children is the best opportunity most people have to assure themselves of a meaningful old age. Sadly, most do not take this opportunity."
–Dr. M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled
Stage 1 is the creation of a community, forum, and online program for brave souls on the road to personal development. This has been my main focus for the past 6 months, synthesizing a wide variety of research and resources from the worlds of psychology, health, relationships & parenthood, entrepreneurship, and more.
Once completed, this 12-module course will offer a wide variety of lessons including:
~ How I successfully fought off depression & addiction
~ How I battled negativity, impostor syndrome, and the victim mentality
~ How I overcame debilitating sciatica and lost 25 pounds in 3 months
~ How I built a business that took me and my family around the globe for 9 years
~ Methods for striking balance and building stability in a chaotic world
~ Countless lessons learned from parenthood, educational models, and child development
~ Dozens of case studies offering paths to escape traditional employment, find meaningful work, and build your own career
After validating the idea with 70+ paying customers so far, I'm also beginning R&D on my first physical product — a unique new kind of daily planner that will walk you through the Hero's Journey process and help you revolutionize your life over the course of 1 year.
“If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”
Stage 2 - if our crowdfunding goal is successfully met, The HERO Journal will take you on a 365-day journey through developmental psychology, personal growth, and transformational learning, helping you breath life into your own mythological Hero's Journey and author your own purposeful map for the year ahead!
The unique planner will include daily inspiration, goals and activities, as well as important weekly lessons and exercises to help take you through the many stages of Campbell's Hero's Journey from beginner to expert – a self-exploratory and creative process that will prove useful for college students, writers, artists, entrepreneurs, parents, teachers, spiritual seekers, and anybody serious about following the path toward growth.
Stage 3 - I am also currently consulting for other archetypal-based businesses, and with a few partners I aim to offer a variety of web services and develop a few web applications. The long-term vision is to grow into an Agency that both offers great educational resources for kids and young adults, as well as serves business and communal needs in several locations around the world (through partners I've made along my travels).
In collaboration with our friends at Courageous Kitchen, a 501c3 charitable organization, and their platform working with youth and asylum-seeking families in Bangkok, Thailand, we aim to provide entrepreneurial training to underprivileged children and young adults, to help fund sustainable business projects and provide remote web-based work for those most in need.
By supporting the Hero Project, you will help provide my family a chance to start a new life in America, and we pray to also do a tremendous amount of good for others in the process. Not only will we be forever grateful for your support, but I'll do everything in my power to offer some value in exchange as a sincere thank-you for your generosity. See the sidebar on the right for reward levels, and visit The HERO Project website or contact me on Facebook for more details.
I'm so sorry for the slow updates, but thank goodness, with your help I've been able to finally get Chris and Jam out of the Philippines.
Flights and all forms of transport off Mindanao island were overflowing the week of the ISIS attacks in Marawi City. I wired Jam money and they managed to get an overnight boat from Mindanao to Cebu island, to relative safety.
We hired Jam's cousin (an off-duty soldier) to accompany them across the island to the port city on the northern coast, and then were able to get them and Jam's mother away from the separatist fighting and to safety, where they stayed in Cebu City for 10 days.
After this last year, with many hospital emergencies (serious bacterial infection, parasites, Chris cracked a rib, etc.), a bad betrayal by an ex business partner, and many other challenges, I'd just barely sent them with enough money to get home to the Philippines and put Chris in summer school for 2 months, when the violence and martial law broke out there. Sadly we have had a very challenging year that's left me near bankrupt, and finally decided that it's time to move to the USA to clear up our finances and start fresh.
Thankfully to YOU, your contributions and financial help from my parents, we were finally able to get an international flight home from Cebu City here to Northern California on June 8.
I'm grateful to have Jam and Chris away from ISIS linked groups and Maute separatists - attacks had happened nearby their hometown in Zamboanga:
Eventually (as often happens in the Phils) the US special forces came in to help:
Just last week, 12 Maute members were arrested in Jam's hometown Pagadian City:
Please pray for her family members who are still there.
It's been an overwhelmingly chaotic time, but thank God at least my mind is not 8000 miles away worried about the worst case scenario anymore (I have seen the most atrocious things they do to kidnapped children, I wish I could unsee). We still have a mountain of incredible challenges to overcome here in the USA, but at least we are together united as a family again and can begin to start our new life here.
Now the hard work begins, picking up the pieces after a year of tragedies, rebuilding a new business and a stronger, stable family foundation from scratch, one brick at a time.
God bless you guys, I am forever indebted for your help.
Stay tuned and I will contact you individually as we get more settled, also with updates about my HERO Project if you are interested, as a thank you for your support.
My sincere gratitude,