Follow Your Bliss? or Follow Your Blisters?

Follow your bliss
— Joseph Campbell

When Joseph Campbell advised us to follow your bliss, he later realized it was often misinterpreted to mean that we should pursue our pleasure. He reportedly then said he should have said, “Follow your blisters.”

The truth is, no path worth pursuing is all bliss; with bliss comes blisters. You must be willing to take the blisters on head first. Chasing pleasure does not lead to fulfillment.

There is no better metaphor in the bliss/blister conversation than long-distance running. I think we can all agree that bliss is non-existent at mile 20 of a marathon, or when you get up at 5 am to run, or skip drinks with friends on Saturday night because you have to wake up early to train.

It’s comfortable to sleep late. It’s easy to skip workouts; it’s fun to put pleasure first. Following your bliss is very different than following your blisters towards bliss.

What brings ultimate bliss is the achievement of a difficult task, reaping the benefits of months (or years) of work, sacrifice, and commitment to a goal.

If a runner only chased bliss, they probably wouldn’t make it past the first week of training. You have to decide if the blisters are worth the bliss. Maybe marathon training isn’t for you, but whatever goals you are pursuing, accept that bliss comes with blisters.

follow your blisters towards bliss


  1. Choose your blisters wisely. What is your reason why? Why is it important to you? Write it down. Read it over every day. Never forget your real purpose.

  2. Choose your blisters doesn’t mean to follow pain without purpose. Decide what you want, and go after it despite the blisters. If you are miserable in pursuit of a goal, reevaluate the goal.

  3. When things feel hard, remember that’s it’s supposed to be hard. If it looks easy for others, it’s because they have more experience or knowledge on the subject. Keep going.

  4. Go into it knowing that, metaphorically, blisters are part of the process. Expect and embrace them.

  5. Understand that the hard choices you make today likely won’t have an immediate benefit. The big payoff of goal achievement will take time.

  6. Learn to love the process. Build daily and weekly habits that bring you closer to your goals. Small steps over time lead to tremendous results, but you have to put in the time.

  7. Success is not linear. Expect two steps forward and one step back, then maybe another step back. The ups and downs are part of the process.

  8. Be flexible in your goals. Goals may change. Don’t get caught in the trap of chasing goals that aren’t meaningful anymore.

  9. Be flexible in your approach. If plan A is not working, there are 25 other letters in the alphabet. Track results and course correct as needed. There is no failure, only learning towards your goals.

  10. Consistency is the key to success. Laser sharp focus on your goals with consistent action is the recipe for success.

What bliss are you chasing, and what blisters are you willing to endure to get there? I’d love to know.

Follow your blisters towards bliss. Save to your favorite motivational Pinterest board to share.

Follow your blisters towards bliss. Save to your favorite motivational Pinterest board to share.

Questions? I’d love to help.

Coach Lea

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