When someone says the word “quest,” what do you think of?
- Frodo’s journey to Mount Doom?
- Caspian’s seafaring voyage to locate the seven princes?
- A tale of grand adventure that takes a character far from the familiar, comfortable territory of home and throws him into a wide, dangerous world?
Quests are most common to fantasy stories, but they can bleed over into other genres. It’s also a mistake to assume that a quest is an ancient thing, unable to have any significance in our time. There’s always some obstacle to overcome, some injustice to battle, some great deed to accomplish.
Imagine, if you will, what a traditional quest would look like if uprooted from the pages of fantasy and planted in a modern setting. Replace the typical fantasy trimmings of knights, castles, dragons, and fair maidens with modern accessories, emphases, sensibilities, and technology.
How would a quest function? Here’s a brief glimpse into the makings of a modern quest.
“Dylan, you need to take a look at this.” Dylan’s life coach handed him an iPad.
“What is it?” Dylan asked as he and Lucas settled at the large cherry table in the conference room, cups of freshly purchased Starbucks steaming at their elbows.
“The strategic plan we talked about.” Lucas wore a tan cashmere sweater, and his short brown hair stood stiffly at attention thanks to what was, judging by the potent aroma, an overdose of hair gel.
Dylan tapped a button to open the document. “Remind me why I’m doing this.”
“As your life coach, I found it necessary to expand your horizons, push you out of your routine, and spur you to do something amazing.” Lucas pulled out his carved pipe, which he always carried but never smoked, and tapped the screen.
“It’s short,” Dylan said.
“Merely an outline. Go ahead. Read it.” Lucas sipped his Latte Machiatto and raised an eyebrow.
Dylan sighed—he’d rather be researching the latest Xbox offering—and scanned the document.
A Strategy to Accomplish Great Things
Change is necessary in today’s political and social arenas. It always has been, but the current sociopolitical landscape places special demands on anyone wishing to be an influencer. For that reason, I present an outline of what I’d like to term a modern quest—one that, hearkening back to quests of lore and legend, leads to a great journey and acclaimed accomplishments.
The goal in this quest, as commonly found in history, is simple, yet challenging and profound. Raise five million dollars for cancer research in thirty days.
- Develop a presence on social media, particularly by creating YouTube videos and actively promoting your undertaking on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…and everywhere else important
- Run a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising one million dollars in the first week
- Create snappy quote graphics to share and inspire
- Ride across the country on a bicycle to raise awareness and ask for funds
- Locate strategic partners who can aid you on your journey
- Start a blog for the purpose of chronicling the cross-country trip
- Put in place an email marketing campaign to garner followers
- Donate 10k of your personal money to stimulate initial attention
- Manufacture T-shirts, hoodies, and bracelets for people to buy, each with a saying related to the project
- Secure television, radio, and podcast interviews
- Come up with a list of catchy hashtags and phrases to generate online buzz
- Partner with significant music artists who will publicly support your cause
These plans will allow you, like the knights-errant of old, to defeat the proverbial dragon and make the world a better place.
“Well?” Lucas folded his arms.
“Huh,” Dylan said.
“By the way, it doesn’t actually matter what you think. You have your plan in hand. It’s time to hit the road running. We start tomorrow.”
Dylan nearly choked on his sip of White Chocolate Mocha. “So soon?”
“YOLO,” Lucas said with a wink. “No time like the present.”
As they exited the room, Lucas said, “In case it wasn’t clear, I’ll be there to guide you. But don’t let that become a crutch, because like it or not, you won’t always have that luxury. You need to be prepared for anything.”
Dylan frowned. This was going to require a lot of time and effort. Thinking back to the books he’d read, he suddenly had a new appreciation for anyone who had undertaken a quest.
And, pipe notwithstanding, Lucas was certainly no Gandalf.
Oh well, Dylan told himself. If a hobbit without any shoes or a cell phone could complete a grueling journey, why can’t I?
What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.