• Use The Lord of the Rings to Fight through our Fight or Flight Instinct

The Lord of the Rings shows characters who fight through their flight instincts to fight for courage. If Hobbits, who are of meager stature and abilities can fight through fear, we can as well.

So, read through The Lord of the Rings again with the intention of learning from these marvelous creatures. We have much to learn from them.

  • The Lord of the Rings often becomes for us, quite unexpectedly, a book of self-discovery. And it’s wonderful when it does!

When you become aware of a harrowing bigger-than-life quest, you sometimes find there is much more to you than you’ve ever imagined. You suddenly discover that there’s often latent courage and bravery buried deep within you which you never imagined you possessed.

Just think of Frodo.

Think of Sam.

Pippin.

And Merry.

Who knows? You’re likely to find it’s latent in you. You just may not know it yet. Maybe, if you wish to discover if it’s within you, read The Lord of the Rings with eyes that are carefully looking for flashes of you in Tolkien’s characters. Believe me, those flashes are there. You just have not discovered them yet.

  • The Lord of the Rings Can Help You Become Who You Were Meant to Be. Seriously.

In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo soon learns that when someone puts on the Ring, it begins to enslave the wearer. And with the wearing of the Ring, the wearer loses more of him- or herself. For Frodo, that meant becoming less of a hobbit than he was before. Not. Good. At. All.

While the Ring temporarily provides advantages, it slowly perverts the wearer internally, making him less of a person or hobbit than he was previously. He becomes a mere outline of what he originally was. The result is that wearing the Ring destroys the best of what he (Frodo) was meant to be.

So what is a hobbit or man or wizard to do in order to avoid becoming his or her worst self? Answer: Listen to the old wisdom of those who know substantially more than you do. Wisdom, as those with deep years of hard-earned humility know, is the path of a good and healthy life, even if it isn’t always the easiest–even if it’s an intensely hard life—but it often promises to become a life, which in the end becomes a life which everything sad becomes untrue.

Psychologist Carol S. Dweck knows what she’s talking about (renowned author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success). The “growth mindset” is far superior to the “fear mindset.” The former is what enables Frodo, Sam, Arwen, Aragorn, Eowyn, and Gandalf to continue on the quest. The latter is what defines Denethor and Grima Wormtongue. But those who have a ‘growth mindset,’ approach tough situations and challenges in order to learn and grow from them. On the other hand, those who live from the “fear mindset” spend considerable time wondering when the clock will finally strike midnight, at which point things go south.

As you read The Lord of the Rings afresh, or maybe even for the first time, read with the “growth mindset.” You’ll be surprised at how your perspective changes. Forgive me as I share a quotation from the movies, “The man who can wield the power of this sword can summon to him an army more deadly than any that walks this earth. Put aside the ranger. Become who you were born to be.” In other words, summon the “growth mindset.”