• Use The Lord of the Rings to navigate your fight-or-flight instinct.
Many characters in The Lord of the Rings resist 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 to learn from its courageous characters. They have much to teach us.
  • The Lord of the Rings often becomes for us a book of self-discovery. And it’s wonderful when it does!
When you enter a challenging time, you sometimes discover there’s more to you than thought. You discover courage and bravery you didn’t know you possessed.
 
Think of Frodo.
 
Sam.
 
Pippin.
 
And Merry.
 
If you wish to become more courageous, read The Lord of the Rings to learn from Tolkien’s characters.
  • The Lord of the Rings can help you become who you are meant to be.
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.
 
The Ring does provide temporary advantages (i.e., invisibility). But it also changes the wearer little-by-little, making him less of a person or hobbit than he was before. He becomes a mere outline of what he used to be. The result is that wearing the Ring destroys the best of what he (Frodo) is or could be.
 
So, what is a hobbit or man or wizard to do to avoid becoming his or her worst self? Answer: Listen to those who are wiser than you are. Wisdom is a path to a good and healthy life, even if it isn’t always the easiest.
 
Psychologist Carol S. Dweck knows what she’s talking about (author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success). Dweck says the “growth mindset” is far superior to the “fear mindset.” The “growth mindset” is what enables Frodo, Sam, Arwen, Aragorn, Eowyn, and Gandalf to continue on the quest. The “fear mindset” is what defines Denethor and Grima Wormtongue. But those who have a “growth mindset” approach tough challenges to learn and grow from them. But those who live from the “fear mindset” spend a lot of time wondering when everything will begin to go wrong.
 
As you read The Lord of the Rings afresh, or even for the first time, read it with the “growth mindset.” You’ll surprise yourself at how your perspective on tough challenges changes.