Today wanted to have a little fun. I was rewatching the classic 80’s film the NeverEnding Story. You know the one with Falkor the Luckdragon. Well, I noticed in the movie there are some interesting lessons that can be learned from Atreyu. The scene I am thinking of is when he is at Engywook’s house and the gnome is explaining how to get to the Southern oracle. He explains that Atreyu will have a set of tests. They are the Gate of Worth and the Magic mirror gate. Both gates have a certain challenge that our hero Atreyu has to overcome. Then and only then he is able to speak to the Southern Oracle and find out how he is supposed to heal Fantasia.
I then was looking to see if the book had specific names for these gates. I discovered that there are actually three gates that Atreyu has to cross. Then I liked how all three of the gates fit in nicely with the big challenges every man must face when he is walking his path. That is what I want to talk about today.
The Three gates
There are three gates in the NeverEnding Story. Those gates are The Great Riddle gate, the Magic Mirror Gate, and the No Key Gate. Each gate has its own unique and perilous challenge to the person seeking answers. These gates are similar to the different challenges a person who is working on themselves must face. Now I don’t know if the author Michael Ende had these personal challenges in mind when he wrote about them but I did see a striking similarity with what most people face.
The Great Riddle Gate
This first gate in the movie is the one with the two huge sphinxes. They have their eyes closed and Atreyu watches as a knight who acts sure of himself right up to the gate and destroyed as he tried to cross the gate. Engywook explains that the sphinxes are able to see into a man’s heart and anybody who doesn’t think they are worthy will is killed. In the book, it is a little different and fits with your life challenges even better. The books state that the person who is not worthy is stuck and has to answer all of the world’s riddles before he can continue. This is practically impossible to do and most people end up dying of old age before they can answer all of the world’s riddles. Therefore, you can see it is a little less dramatic than being blown up as in the movie.
So the key is how much confidence and self-worth is, do you believe in yourself? You have to be bold and sure of yourself when you go to attempt anything new. If you don’t think, you are able to achieve the new challenge in your life you are frozen in fear and are always questioning your motives. You are questioning whether you are actually even able to complete the task at hand. Many men are never even able to start their journey because they don’t think they are actually able to do what they want to set out to do. So are you able to cross the first gate? You are already ahead of most of the pack if you are can cross this gate.
The Magic Mirror Gate
Once Atreyu is past the first gate, he is faced with a more challenging gate, the magic mirror gate. This gate is supposedly driven men mad as they approach the gate as these strong brave men and they are shown to be sniveling cowards. Honest men are shown to be lying cheats. So when Atreyu approaches the gate he sees Sabastian sitting and reading a book. Atreyu doesn’t find this intimidating just a bit odd and proceeds with his quest.
This mirror, or a semblance of it, shows up many times in stories. Luke in the cave on Dagobah, fights with himself. This is often the biggest challenger for entrepreneurs or anybody wanting to make a big shift in their life. They have to learn to get out of their own way and that they are true to how they really are. Through the work of striving towards our goal, we struggle with our whys and finding out if, we really can get to our objective. Many times, we hit a wall and we can proceed because our egos or mindset keeps us from really achieving the solution.
The No Key Gate
In the movie, there is no mention of the No Key gate but in the book, this is a door that is made of a material that does the opposite of what you want. The challenge is then how do you go through a door that will remain closed if you want to enter it and will open if you don’t want to enter it. In the book, this last gate plagues Atreyu. He doesn’t understand how he is supposed to get through a door that will remain shut if you want to go through it. Well, he loses his memory when he passes through the Magic Mirror gate, so he doesn’t care to enter the door which in turn causes the door to open.
This screams out our inherent battle with worry. We worry and obsess about “what ifs”. Way before we even have to actually make this problem an issue. Mark Twain famously said…
I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happenedMark Twain
We worry about stuff that doesn’t matter in the great scheme of things. We worry about should we get a business license or how many times should I write a blog. Which is important but not important at the time of just starting. You have 3 customers and you’re obsessing over how to hire somebody. WE have so much that we worry about yet the vast majority is out of our control that you don’t need to apply brainpower to it until it happens. Recognize that you may have to deal with that issue down the road but at this second, it isn’t going to affect you.
We all have different challenges but these three gates are all standing between you and your southern oracle, or your quest for knowledge. Therefore, you have all the tools and weapon you need to face each adversary in turn yet it take inward reflection and a steady mind which we all have. So don’t beat yourself up with how to get past them till you are faced with them and understand the purpose of your quest and you will reach that oracle and be able to step up to the next level.