Long before the evolution of computers and mobile gadgets in my life, books were the only source of imagination to me, and the very first book that I picked to read was J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. There are several life lessons that Tolkien introduces in this book series like friendship, empathy, emotions, care, courage and responsibility. However, one of such lessons that I always found in this series through which I can resonate with myself and my classroom is the importance of ‘stepping out from our comfort zone’. In LORs, there are characters about happy people named hobbits who live peaceful lives in the Shire. The main character Frodo Baggins is one of them, and he loves the comfort of his routine. He bases his entire life around that comfort zone. However, Frodo doesn’t know that he is about to embark on a journey that changes everything in his life, for which he might’ve not been ready at first.
How Frodo’s Tale Has Anything to Do with The Lives We Are Living Right Now?
In the book, Frodo lives a happy and pleasant life in the Shire with his uncle Bilbo. On the eve of Bilbo’s birthday party, he inherited the One Ring from his uncle Bilbo and the responsibility to take it to Rivendell. Frodo’s journey later took a turn when he was given a task to destroy the Ring by casting it into Crack of Doom in Mordor.
In Frodo’s case, the time was right to step outside his comfort zone, but is that the case for the rest of us? I believe, Yes. There are many occasions in my classroom where I tried to let my students leave their comfort zone to participate and learn. Sometimes it works too but what I learn from my teaching journey is, like Frodo, to let the student decide whether they want to leave or stay in their comfort zone. Only then they will feel responsible for their decisions and fully participate and personalise the lessons, just like Frodo when he chooses to continue the quest alone.
How Would I Know That My Purpose And Motifs Are Right?
Frodo has never been to any adventure, but he always praises his uncle Bilbo who introduces him to Elvish languages and the tales of adventures he went on when he was young. These stories always spark the curiosity in Frodo that there is more to life and the world than just being an ordinary Hobbit living in The Shire. This tells us that before stepping into a challenging situation outside his comfort zone, Frodo makes sure that the reason behind his journey has some benefits. He knew why his decision to go on that quest was right for him, his Shire and the rest of humanity.
Similarly, ask these questions before leaving your comfort zones:
- Will this benefit me professionally?
- Will it help me achieve my personal goals?
- Why now? Why this? And why me?
Having a clear sense of purpose will help you say yes to the inevitable challenges you encounter when you step out from your comfort zone, which may take considerable energy and effort. Whether it’s delivering bad news, speaking in public, learning to say no to others, or whatever situation it is for you that makes you achieve your personal and professional goals.
In the book and the movie LORs, I believe that Frodo Baggins could answer these questions: the timing was right, his purpose was clear, and he had what it took to give it a go. But once he embarked upon his adventure, he realised he was capable of more than he had imagined.