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The stories we live have a profound impact on the way we view ourselves, the people around us and the world at large. A new paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that living a “Hero’s Journey” may be the key to a life filled to the brim with meaning. The best part? You don’t need to live an inherently exciting life to be a hero.

Researchers Benjamin Rogers, Michael Christian and Kurt Gray of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, co-authors of the paper, explain how the idea of the Hero’s Journey is rooted in ancient tales like those of Beowulf and Gilgamesh and are still prevalent in contemporary pop culture, from the plotlines of Star Wars to the Marvel movies.