In my humble opinion, “half” of Gandalf’s lines in the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey can be summarized by three words: Fight! Run! Aauugh!

Fight! Run! Aauugh!

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan. Throw the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey into the mix and I’m in a warm, happy place. But my kids and I agree that Gandalf seems to vacillate between grandiose musing—”Perhaps he gives me courage”—and guttural one-offs that become almost comedic once you notice how common they are. They seem to be “go to” lines Peter Jackson uses when he isn’t sure what else to shove in. Ian McKellen dishes ’em out better than anyone else on earth, its true, but…

Run!

Fight!

Aauugh!

So predictable. Gotta do better, Peter.

But wait: What are the “go to” lines I use more often than I should? Or what about you? What ‘broken record’ replies do you play when you shrink from courage or commitment? What are your lame excuses? I’ll bet they sound like mine:

  • “I’ll get to it later.”
  • “I’m too tired.”
  • “That’s someone else’s job.”

Over and over. Right?

Maybe we can go even deeper. You know—peel back the layers of this “Run, fight, aauugh!” thing. Because when you think about it, they ound an awful lot like fight, flight, or melt down. Which are all gut reactions. Instinctual.

Fight!

When you’re criticised, do you get angry and defensive? Or maybe even go on the offensive?

Run!

Or do you withdraw? Turn inward? Take the blame? Retreat? Clam up?

Aauugh!

Or do you just shut down, wilt, short out, freeze up and become paralyzed by confusion?

Hmmm.

Impulses and instincts are important, God-given parts of our humanity. When captured by Goblins or facing down Orcs, definitely fight. If there are too many to fight, run. Or go catatonic. But when faced with a real life laced with high stakes, your instinct needs a friend. Your fight needs wisdom. Your flight needs courage. Your aaugh needs a clear head. Reactions must be put aside in favour of responses. Choices must temper impulses.

Sometimes Gandalf needs to count to ten.

Or pray.

When I think about the times in my life when I’ve been most disappointed with my reactions, I can almost always trace it to pulling a Gandalf: Fight! Run! Aauugh!

What about you? Comment, like, share, #1, and pin away!