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20 Life Lessons I Learned from Harry Potter

20 Life Lessons I Learned from Harry Potter

For Millennials like myself, Harry Potter wasn’t just a book series; it was everything. When Harry Potter enrolled as a first year student at Hogwarts, many of us were starting school for the first time too. The end of the book/movie series even finished around our high school or college graduation. We grew up with Harry Potter, and his story developed with ours.

So it comes as no surprise that there are several life lessons the majority of our generation learned from the series along the way. After all, Harry Potter wasn’t exactly the “chosen one” when it came to being a model student. Here are 20 life lessons we learned from Harry Potter over the course of the series and our adolescent lives.

1. We can’t change our past, but we can change our future

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    Despite the inconsistencies that Hermione’s time turner created for the novel’s plot (because why save only Buckbeak when they could save Lily and James Potter too, am I right?), the above still rings true. Our past shapes us as people, but it doesn’t have to shape the course of our lives. While it can be said that all the series’ characters are prime examples of this, the most obvious of all is Harry, who lost his parents as a baby and as a result had to live with his retched uncle, aunt, and cousin afterward. And yet, this all changed his life for the better by him choosing to attend Hogwarts. The rest is magical history.

    2. Sometimes we have to face our fears to get what we want

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      As much as we’d all like to stay in the comfort of our bubble, sometimes life requires us to pop it for our own good. In Ron’s case, “following the spiders” meant finding the answer to rescuing Hermione from her stunned state in the second novel, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”. In Harry’s case, learning to use his patronus meant protecting himself and others from the soul-sucking power of the Dementor’s kiss. In our case…well, we just have to get through an average day to make it to bed by the end.

      3. Money can’t buy happiness

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        You know what people say – money isn’t everything. And it’s not, but it’s hard when you’re a young kid unlocking a vault full of galleons to not think it is. And let’s be real, seeing Harry practically rolling in money like Scrooge McDuck probably sparked the inner gold-digger in all of us. That is, of course, until we realized the Mirror of Erised didn’t show him a landmine of coins, but rather the reason for his inherited wealth – his deceased parents. Still, think that trolley full of pumpkin pasties were a fair trade for a family? Yeah, didn’t think so.

        4. We are never truly alone

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          All of us are subject to the feeling of loneliness, but are we ever truly alone? While seemingly on his own most of the time, Harry Potter always had the support of his friends and guardians, showing us that there’s no such thing as ever being truly alone. The best example of this in the series for me was when Harry wasn’t receiving any letters from his friends all summer, feeling neglected and rejected by them, only to find out Dobby had been hiding them from him the entire time. The next scene that followed, with Ron and the Weasley twins rescuing him in their flying car, was just the cherry on top of the surrounded-by-support sundae.

          5. Friends will get you out of trouble, but best friends will get in trouble with you

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            Sure, a friend will help you out of a predicament (like Lupin did when Snape caught Harry with the Marauder’s Map), but a true best friend will be right there in the thick of it. Any time Harry found himself in a troubling situation, Ron and Hermione faced it with him. I mean, think about it. Can you imagine facing a whomping willow, three-headed dog, and life-size lethal chess set without your best friends? My guess is no.

            6. Sometimes we have to face our own battles alone

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              As much as it helped to have his friends through every obstacle, Harry always ended up confronting his challenger alone and for good reason. We can’t rely on our friends or family to somehow save us from our own problems every time. We have to learn to fight our own battles at some point, whether it’s dealing with the petty jealousy of a friend when you’re unknowingly entered in a contest, or defeating a massive basilisk in the demented water park of your school’s basement. No one said it’d be easy, but Harry Potter proved it’d be worth it.

              7. Animals are sometimes (and often) better company

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                I don’t think any of us needed the Harry Potter series to learn this life truth, but somehow seeing Harry happily flying over the Hogwart’s lake with Buckbeak and stroking Hedwig’s head after a hard day made this lesson 10 times more relatable.

                8. Confidence is not the same thing as bravery

                Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart

                  While Gryffindor was known for producing the bravest of the Hogwart’s bunch, Ravenclaw was known for producing an imitation hero, and his name was Professor Lockhart. More than anyone in the novels, Gildroy Lockhart proved to us that bravery comes from within and cannot be confused with its egotistical cousin, confidence. And look where all that “bravery” got him – a faulty memory, a worthless book deal, and the boot from Hogwarts.

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                  9. You should never let anyone get the best of you

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                    We may not have realized it as children, but Malfoy’s slandering of Muggles, especially Hermione, was an evident example of the prominence of racially-charged bullying. Hermione’s “non-magical blood” made her an enemy in the eyes of the “pure-blood” Slytherins (tell me that’s not a reference to racism). However, Hermione showed us how we shouldn’t be defined by what we are, but rather who we are. And she certainly succeeded in doing so when she punched Malfoy in the third novel. You go, Hermione.

                    10. There’s always some mysterious force working in our favor (or to our disadvantage)

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                      This kind of goes along the same lines as the “you’re never alone” lesson, but speaks to the surprise element of our sly support system. While Harry didn’t know it throughout the course of the series, Snape was always on the side of Dumbledore in protecting Harry from Voldemort, despite Harry’s continuous distrust in him. On the flip side, Harry trusted Mad-Eye Moody in the fourth novel and ended up in a graveyard with the reinvented Voldemort to be nearly killed. So if you think about it, the Harry Potter series destroyed our trust in everyone.

                      11. You should never go anywhere alone without telling or bringing someone

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                        This life lesson was beaten into our brains when we were kids, but still applies to us adults. If we learned anything from Hermione discovering a psychotic troll in the girl’s bathroom while alone, it’s that we should always tell someone where we’re going or bring a buddy with us. Girls, this is a warning – never let your friends go to the bathroom in a bar alone. You never know what other kind of troll is going to be lurking nearby.

                        12. There’s more to others than meet the eye

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                          Often times we unintentionally judge others based on their appearance, but sometimes our assessments aren’t accurate. A great example of this in the Harry Potter series was the character of Sirius Black. For the majority of the third novel, all of us, including Harry, thought he was some crazy, traitorous murderer with a bone to pick with the Potter boy. Then J.K. Rowling did a 180 and turned him into the caring, cool godfather trying to avenge Harry’s parents. Talk about a plot twist.

                          13. Adolescent dances are terrible

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                            Do I need to say more? After watching Ron pine after Hermione, Hermione cry over Ron, and Harry sit alone like every uninterested young boy after his date angrily left him to go dance, I think we could all say the movie scene brought back a lot of bad memories. Those dances should just be banned all together, right Umbridge?

                            14. Being invisible isn’t as great as we think it’d be

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                              As great as the superpower may seem for every introvert and grumpy cat-like person, invisibility isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, it’s pretty awesome that Harry gets to move around unnoticed and avoid unwanted attention, but the costs sometimes come more than the rewards. Take for instance when Harry’s roaming around Hogsmeade in his invisibility cloak. He’s all happy, licking a lollipop, and then all of a sudden – boom. He overhears the rumor that Sirius betrayed his his parents. In the next moment, Harry’s crying in the snow and shouting, “He was their friend!” Yeah, I think I’d rather have the gift of cooking delicious Harry Potter meals instead.

                              15. Ultimate power must be used with caution

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                                If there’s anything we’ve learned from Harry Potter, it’s that power is a great and terrible thing. When it’s used for good, power has the ability to change the world for the better. When it’s used for evil though, power has the ability to destroy it. Aside from Voldemort, the best example the novels give us of the detrimental nature of ultimate power is the creation of the elder wand. Wizards have to kill its master to own it, friends kill each other to own it…it’s just all around a machine of destruction. However, I will say the elder wand would make a fantastic travel companion. Accio best vacation ever? I think so.

                                16. With age comes wisdom

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                                  Of all the quotes I’ve accumulated in Word documents, notebooks, and Pinterest over the years, the majority of them come from the Harry Potter series – and most of those were spoken by none other than Dumbledore himself. Whenever Harry found himself in a tough situation, we could always rely on Dumbledore to give brilliant advice or offer a wise suggestion. After all, the man had lived for over a century. It’s not too far-fetched to say he’d learned a couple things or two in his lifetime.

                                  17. With age comes attractiveness (or unattractiveness)

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                                    I’m not the first to say it, but I think I speak for us all when I say Neville pleasantly surprised everyone by the end of the movie series. Talk about a transformation! It just goes to show us that attractiveness can develop over time, and the same goes for unattractiveness. Not to name names, but a certain Gryffindor cutie didn’t quite turn out the way I’d hoped he would.

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                                    18. The power of love is stronger than the power of hatred

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                                      The phrase “kill them with kindness” applies here. We can’t possibly win over everyone, but Harry Potter showed us that we can triumph in our relationships with loved ones. Even with Voldemort’s constant death threats, Harry Potter always had a support system of family and friends to help him along the way. And in the end, that made all the difference.

                                      19. Sometimes our enemies turn out to be our friends in disguise

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                                        Have you ever known someone you couldn’t stand, only to find out they were actually a pretty decent, bearable person? The question’s rhetorical, but it’s true – our original assumptions of others are often not as spot on as we think. In Harry Potter’s life, this seemed to be especially relevant. From Snape to Sirius, to even Dobby, Harry was proven wrong time and time again by his initial judgments. Then again, when you’ve got an entire band of evil misfits against you, it’s safe to say you’d be a little weary of people too.

                                        20. Magic exists, even for us Muggles

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                                          It’s cheesy, I know, but there’s a certain magic we all experience at some point or another in our lives. While it might not be in the form of witchcraft, the magic we come across can be found in the people, places, and things around us. There’s magic in travelling, writing, reading, music, friendship, love, you name it; and it’s often found where it’s sought.

                                          So for those of us who began and ended our childhood with Harry Potter, fear not. The magic lives on, just in a different way.

                                          Featured photo credit: Never enough time to read…/Kayleigh Nelson via flic.kr

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                                          Last Updated on October 18, 2018

                                          50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Prepare You For Any Challenges In Life

                                          50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Prepare You For Any Challenges In Life

                                          Life is filled with highs and lows —happiness and struggles that will test your resilience and integrity, push you to overcome challenges and leave you with lessons that will make you even stronger on your way up.

                                          It’s the way you feel and think about yourself, including your expectations and beliefs about what is possible to you, greatly determines everything that happens to you.

                                          It all starts with your thoughts. When you change your thoughts, you transform the quality of your life. (Right, Nancy’s story is a typical example!)

                                          Below is a list of the best motivational quotes to inspire you to start your day with a blast:

                                          Quotes for self-assurance

                                          1. Don’t downgrade your dream just to fit your reality, upgrade your conviction to match your destiny.

                                            2. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.

                                              3. You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.

                                                4. The man who has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others

                                                  5. You attract what you are, not what you want. If you want great, then be great.

                                                    6. It’s not who you are that holds you behind, it’s who you think your are not.

                                                      Quotes about positivity

                                                      7. Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right.

                                                        8. You should never regret anything in life. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it is experience.

                                                          9. Falling down is an accident, staying down is a choice.

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                                                            10. If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.

                                                              11. Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.

                                                                12. Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for great.

                                                                  13. Remember that life’s greatest lessons are usually learned from worst times and from the worst mistakes.

                                                                    Quotes for work and success

                                                                    14. Don’t talk, just act. Don’t say, just show. Don’t promise, just prove.

                                                                      15. Never stop doing great just because someone doesn’t give you credit.

                                                                        16. Discipline is doing what needs to be done, even if you don’t want to.

                                                                          17. Work while they sleep. Learn while they party. Save while they spend. Live like they dream.

                                                                            18. The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire, not things we fear.

                                                                              19. Never apologize for having high standards, people who really want to be in your life will rise to meet them.

                                                                                20. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

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                                                                                  21. Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it, time will pass anyway.

                                                                                    22. Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the exact same place next year as you are today.

                                                                                      23. A hill is just another opportunity to leave your competition behind.

                                                                                        24. Don’t quit. You’re already in pain. You’re already hurt. Get a reward from it.

                                                                                          25. Hustle until you no longer need to introduce yourself.

                                                                                            26. You didn’t come this far only to come this far.

                                                                                              27. Be selective in your battles for sometimes peace is better than being right.

                                                                                                28 If we keep doing what we are doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting.

                                                                                                  29. You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them.

                                                                                                    30. Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.

                                                                                                      31. The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.

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                                                                                                        32. If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.

                                                                                                          33. If you can’t handle stress, you won’t manage success.

                                                                                                            34. Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams.

                                                                                                              35. Don’t mistake silence for weakness. Smart people don’t plan big moves out loud.

                                                                                                                36. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

                                                                                                                  37. Obsessed is the word the lazy use to describe dedicated.

                                                                                                                    38. You become who you spend your time with.

                                                                                                                      39. Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods.

                                                                                                                        40. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

                                                                                                                          41. If you don’t build your dreams, someone else will hire you to build theirs.

                                                                                                                            42. Between stimulus and response is our greatest power –the freedom to choose.

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                                                                                                                              43. What comes easy won’t last, what lasts won’t come easy.

                                                                                                                                44. Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.

                                                                                                                                  45. Work until your idols become your rivals.

                                                                                                                                    Quotes about money

                                                                                                                                    46. Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune.

                                                                                                                                      47. I create new enemies every day, it’s called business.

                                                                                                                                        48. When you have a Million Dollar vision, don’t surround yourself with 1 cent minds.

                                                                                                                                          49. You can’t get rich thinking poor.

                                                                                                                                            50. Doing what is comfortable is rarely profitable.

                                                                                                                                              51. If you can count your money, work harder.

                                                                                                                                                If you find yourself feeling lost and frustrated, it’s never too late to change things up. Check out this guide:

                                                                                                                                                How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

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