What can be said about The Lord of the Rings trilogy that hasn’t already been said? It’s easily one of the greatest literary achievements of our time and one hell of an underdog story (which I love). Sure it’s fun to lose yourself for an afternoon in Tolkien’s Middle-earth, but have you ever considered taking a few lessons from these imaginary characters and applying them to your own life?
You can learn at lot more from Frodo and the Fellowship (wow that sounds like a really crappy tribute band) than you might realize.
I’m going to teach you how to use the Lord of the Rings to help you get sh** done in your life, whether it’s losing weight, getting a new job, winning a competition, starting a side business, and more.
Let’s do this.
While trying to destroy the One Ring, Frodo ran into orcs, giant spiders, ring-wraiths, traveled thousands of miles, and almost died approximately a million times. Through all of this adversity, he managed to keep his eye on the prize and eventually save all of Middle-earth.
Oh, and he did it barefoot.
What’s your “One Ring” – Is it something like “lose fifty pounds?” Maybe it’s “run a marathon,” or “pack on fifteen pounds of muscle.” Whatever your goal is, find a way to take one step towards that goal every single day. Frodo always knew exactly where he needed to go (Mordor) and exactly what he needed to do (throw the Ring into the fires of Mount Doom), so all of his steps and goals were in that direction. Once you’ve decided where to go and what to do, it’s much easier creating a plan to actually get there.
Now, as for the kind of steps you take – I don’t care if they’re “What About Bob” baby-steps or massive hops, skips, and jumps – just find a way to make a little bit of progress. If you backtrack or get lost, find the path and keep going.
One step at a time my friend, my one step at a time.
As Sam and Frodo were making their way beyond the Shire, Sam stopped moving at one point and declared, “If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.” For somebody that’s never been outside of his comfort zone, this must have been terrifying. He later found out that he’d have to go all the freaking way to Mordor to protect Frodo. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sam was wearing diapers under that tunic because he was so scared. Doesn’t matter. You know what DOES matter?
He did it.
You might have never run a 5k before. You might have never been in a gym before, or lifted weights, or taken a yoga class. Hell, maybe you’ve never asked out a girl before. Whatever it is, everything outside of your “Shire” will scare you – that’s part of life. Until you step outside of your comfort zone, unless you push yourself harder than you pushed yesterday, nothing will change. There’s nothing wrong with staying safe, but I’d like you to challenge yourself whenever possible – you’d be amazed what will come of it. Small victories over small fears can help build momentum towards bigger challenges.
And momentum is a damn powerful thing.
Frodo had Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, his three hobbit buddies, and Boromir (booo!) to accompany him on his quest to destroy the ring. They protected him, motivated him, listened to him, inspired him, befriended him, told him when he was wrong, and even let him go do his own thing when necessary. Without this crew, there is no way in hell Frodo survives more than ten minutes.
Who’s in your fellowship? Do you have friends to confide in, parents to hold you accountable, a wife who will ask you how your training is going? Find a way to get positive people around you who will make you a better person. I have been fortunate enough to have a great circle of friends, and I owe a lot of my success and happiness to having them around.
Now, what if you don’t have a great group of immediate friends who are supporting you in your quest? Thankfully, the internet is here to help your ass out. I’ve met some AMAZING people through this website, dozens of other bloggers and hundreds of other readers who are helping each other improve their lives from half-way around the globe.
You keep me accountable, you motivate me, you even pick me up when I miss a workout. It’s fascinating and a great thing to be a part of, and I encourage you to find people to help you do the same. Start a free blog, tell your co-workers about your goals, email me and let me know how I can help. We’re all in this together, and we’re more powerful as a group than any of us could be alone.
While traveling through the desolate and dangerous Mines of Moria, Frodo started complaining about his situation to Gandalf, talking about how he wished the Ring and this crazy quest had never fallen into his lap. Gandalf came back with a line that will stick with me forever:
“So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”
And THAT’S why Gandalf is the man. No matter your age, no matter your appearance, no matter your genetic history, no matter your current predicament, you have to remember that your hand has already been dealt. You can’t cry over spilled milk, you can’t complain about the past, you can’t worry about what happened five minutes ago. You can only control what to do from this moment – right now – onward.
Draw a line in the sand today and tell yourself that from now on you’re going to be a different person. You can’t control what’s already happened, but you sure as hell can control what’s going to happen from now on. You’ve been given the opportunity to live a life on this planet to the best of your ability. In the grand scheme of the universe, that’s pretty freaking awesome.
Make the most of it.
You’ve got your quest laid out in front of you, you’ve got a good fellowship of friends to support you, and you’re willing to push yourself further than you’ve been. Now it’s time to take action. No matter how daunting your quest might appear, find a way to take one step closer.
Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow. Do what you can with the time that has been given to you today.
Also, by the time you read this, I’ll already be out to sea on Cayamo, so my email responses will be severely delayed for the next few weeks until I get all caught up!
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photo: Dan Taylor