One path on an uncommon journey

Sunday, January 6, 2013

An unexpected journey (four things you should learn from Bilbo Baggins)

Every year when my good friend, Greg Black, asks me what books I would take with me if I was stranded on an island, the answer remains the same, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. if you haven't read them, you should. If your kids haven't, convince them to. If they are too young, read it to them. there are no 'spoilers' here, read on.

While watching The Hobbit I was inspired to write this blog. Bilbo Baggins is the main character and
his experiences change, surprise and inspire himself and others. There are many lessons throughout the book/movie, but I'll highlight four.

1. Get out of your comfort zone. Bilbo is visited by Gandalf, who invites him on an 'adventure.' Bilbo finally accepts, running out of his house with few items.

The first step is the most important. You can't begin with out it. Do something different, that you may not be comfortable with. You can learn,  you'll get some experience and, what the heck, you may even enjoy it.

I'm doing it as we speak. For the first time in, um, ever, I do not have a 'traditional' job and am hoping to never have one again. I do not know what it's like to be an entrepreneur, it is new, frightening and scary. But, I am trying to reinvent myself at 55 and loving it so far.

2. Be compassionate. Bilbo has several chances to kill one of the unfortunate villains, Gollum, but never does so. He sees some of himself in the unfortunate creature and chooses to spare him.

Cut people a break, they are not so different. You never know what is going on in their lives, what goes on behind closed doors. There very well may be a reason they act the way they are/do. And, they aren't so different than you sometimes.

While we are on the subject of you, here's an idea - cut yourself a break. Try and be a bit less critical of yourself. At times we are rougher on ourselves and family than others, so go ahead and give you and your family a little leeway.

3. Do what is right, regardless of the consequences or the immediate outcome. Bilbo has many chances to take the easy way out, to quit or to run and he always does the right thing. At any risk.

“It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there will be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”Mohatma Ghandi (One of my favorite quotes.)

I can't say any more than that, do the right thing.

4. Let courage rule - leap! Bilbo, and a dozen others, are watching Thorin being beaten mercilessly when he lets courage rule. The smallest, meekest, least experienced jumps and the others follow.

Now, I am not saying look before you leap, but sometimes you just have to. You will probably surprise yourself. What you can do is only limited by you. Believe in yourself, take a chance! Go ahead---LEAP!

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