My introduction to The Hobbit and all things J.R.R. Tolkien was due to my dad being tired of reading me Dr. Seuss (I’m pretty sure 25 years later he can still recite Green Eggs and Ham from memory) and pulled out what is still to this day, my favorite novel.
So with today being being the 81st anniversary of the book’s publication and tomorrow being Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday, let’s talk hobbits.
Poor Bilbo, minding his on business, enjoying his hobbies of food and books when some strange bearded man forces him out of his cozy hobbit hole and on to an adventure….
Things do not really look up from there for a while for a while; Thorin went out of his was to find problems with him, he’s out of his element, away from home and trying to get the hang of his new job. All this poor guy want is to sit by his fire place and have a cup of tea.
Wait,Wait,Wait…. wrong movie starring Martin Freeman…… Here we go:
Our darling halfling protagonist does not quit, he does not return home, the dwarves don’t get told to go screw themselves, and he continues to save Thorin and company from sticky situations.
Bilbo uses his size, stealth, keen eyesight, whit, and luck (not to mention a magic ring…) to be the best burglar he can.
Stuck in the dark with a creature that wants to eat him? Accept its challenge to a game of riddle.
Party in prison? Sneak the out in barrels.
Caught by a dragon? Flatter him until he finds its weakness.
In the end our hobbit is a hero, an unlikely adventurer whisked away from his home who survived relying on his talents and standing resilient in the face of whatever came his way.
Its like this for us sometimes too. We are pushed out of our comfort zone, and feel like we’re in over our heads. We have to dive head first into a new job or new class and this means working with new people. Sometimes those people are going to be like Gandalf and see the best in you, pushing you to learn and grow. Other times, those people are going to be like Thorin, doubting you and criticizing you for not being just like them.
How do we deal with this situation? When we get ripped from our comfort zone by a well meaning person only to be faced daily with someone who thinks you are worthless?
Be like Bilbo, prove them wrong. Let your skills shine through, show the team what you can do. Those abilities that make you different from everyone in the group? They’re your strengths! Your creativity, your writing skills, being a good listener, your organization skills, or even experiences you have had in the past are things that only you can contribute to the group and you might end up saving the day.
It might not be something they wright into stories and songs, but that insanely large collection of gel pens or your PowerPoint skills may be just what was needed to finish a project. You may not get the happy ending Bilbo got, where your haters become your friends, but you will have thrived outside your comfort zone, ready to take on the next challenge.
What will you do when Gandalf come to your home with 13 uninvited guests? Do you ignore the challenge and pretend it was a bad dream? Or do you rush down the road on an adventure to let your skills shine?
I will leave you with something fun:
Check out Jonathan Young’s cover of Misty Mountains:
Hopefully it gives you the same chills Bilbo got in the book, and sets you on the right path for your next adventure.