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15 Important Lessons the Harry Potter Series Has Taught Me

15 Important Lessons the Harry Potter Series Has Taught Me

Although the books about Harry Potter are technically a series for children, they explorer many different grown-up themes. From dealing with loss, to standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, the Harry Potter series is a thoughtful and poignant one. Whether you fancy yourself a Gryffindor or a Slytherin, a human or a house elf, these 15 lessons from Harry Potter will have you pondering your approach to life.

We are only human.

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    “Dumbledore says people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right.” –Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

    Much of the conflict in the Harry Potter series centers around greed and ego. The only way to overcome these problems is to see ourselves as fallible, and accept that sometimes we are wrong. The Harry Potter series consistently reminds us to look at our own faults before tearing down others.  

    You can move on from loss.

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      “The things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end—if not always in the way we expect.” – Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

      Another theme in the Harry Potter series is unexpected loss. Growing from tragedy and moving on is something we all have to learn to do. Ultimately, we recover from loss by growing in unexpected ways, which happens a number of times across the series.

      Love is irreplaceable.

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        “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

        Love is the closest thing to magic that we have, so in the Harry Potter universe, it’s only fitting that love has special powers too. A recurring theme we could all emulate more, Harry Potter teaches us that love is the best solution.

        You can overcome fear.

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          “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

          The Harry Potter series attacks head-on our desire as humans to insulate ourselves from the world. While pretending something doesn’t exist is comforting, ignorance of what challenges us only causes more problems. The Harry Potter series periodically reminds readers that fear of a problem is much worse than the actual problem.

          Death is inevitable.

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            “To the well-organized mind, death is merely the next great adventure.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

            Another theme explored in the Harry Potter series is death. While Harry Potter starts the series ridden with tragedy, he grows to understand that fearing death only takes away our ability to enjoy life.

            Courage is complex.

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              “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

              Where most adventure tales involve standing up to powerful villains, the Harry Potter series doesn’t shy away from the challenges of standing up to your friends. At the end of the first book, when nerdy Neville challenges the cool kids to try and save their lives, he requires just as much courage as those of us standing up to evil. It is important to remember that all kinds of courage are required to be a good person in life.

              We can make our choices.

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                “It is our choices that tell us who we really are, far more than our abilities.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

                Harry Potter is a character whose life is marred by attention and speculation. However, Harry learns that regardless of the abilities he’s born with, the decisions he makes are far more critical for the future. This is a recurring theme that shows all of us we can become what we choose.

                Respect makes a difference.

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                  “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” – Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

                  The Harry potter series is full of inequality between those of different species and backgrounds. Despite the attention that surrounds Harry, however, he refuses to treat anyone like less than a friend. The lesson that everyone deserves respect is a powerful and poignant one.

                  Question authority.

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                    “I have no reason to believe that your views are anything other than bilge, Dumbledore. The dementors remain in place in Azkaban and are doing everything we ask them to.” – Cornelius Fudge, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

                    Throughout the series, powerful institutions are sabotaged to benefit those doing evil. Because the leader of the Ministry of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, won’t admit he’s lost control, many characters end up suffering. A powerful lesson for everyone, learning to question authority is a crucial lesson for muggle and wizard alike.

                    Understanding others is valuable.

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                      “Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

                      With such a complex society, the Harry Potter series parallels many struggles we face in the real world. When Harry is forced to increase his understanding to reach his goals, it’s a reminder that knowledge is power, and empathy is critical.

                      Apathy is toxic.

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                        “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

                        Never shying away from caring for others, master wizard Albus Dumbledore is quick to prompt Harry, and each of us, that indifference is the real enemy of good. Spurring Harry to act on behalf of others reminds all of us to care more about the people in our lives.

                        Loss does not define us.

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                          “You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself plainly when you have need of him.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

                          Another way the Harry Potter series tackles loss is by emphasizing Harry’s memories of those around him who have passed. By learning to treasure our memories of deceased loved ones, we can feel less like we’ve lost someone dear, and more appreciative of the time we had with them.

                          Hope can never be extinguished.

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                            “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” –  Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Alkaban

                            Throughout the course of the series, Harry Potter faces some truly troubling challenges. Despite the evil and darkness he fights, Harry is never willing to give up or grow jaded. This is a powerful reminder that each of us has the power to make the world a little brighter, regardless of our circumstances.

                            Life wasted is worse than death

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                              “Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

                              In chastising Voldemort, Dumbledore reminds all of us that worse than death is a life wasted. Though Voldemort seeks immortality throughout the books, what ultimately defeats him is the rest of the characters’ refusal to waste their lives in fear and suffering.

                              Age is just a number.

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                                “Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

                                Another incredible lesson from the Harry Potter series is that age is no barrier to what you can accomplish. Despite their youth, Harry, Ron, and Hermione conquer some of the most dangerous forces in their world. On the other hand, however, aging wizards like Dumbledore still remain powerful and capable. Emphasizing once again that choices define who you are, the Harry Potter series shows people of all ages limited only by their motivation and imagination.

                                Featured photo credit: Harry Potter/Halle Stoutzenberger via flickr.com

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                                Alicia Prince

                                A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                                Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                                26 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

                                26 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

                                If you pay attention to your everyday life careful enough, you’ll know that you can learn from everything and everyone you come across. Our life is basically full of useful lessons that we should learn.

                                Here are 26 useful things to learn that Abhishek A. Singh shared on Quora. Let’s see how these life theories would lead you to live a different life.

                                1. Primacy and recency: People mostly remember the first and last things that occurred, barely the middle.

                                When scheduling an interview, ask the employer the time slots they do interviews and try to be the first or the last.

                                2. If you work in a bar or in customer service of any kind, put a mirror behind you at the counter.

                                In this way, angry customers who approach you will have to see themselves in the mirror behind you and the chance of them behaving irrationally will be lowered significantly.

                                3. Once you make a sales pitch, don’t say anything else.

                                This works in sales, but it can also be applied in other ways.

                                My previous boss was training me and just gave me pointers. I was working at a gym trying to sell memberships. He told me that once I got all the small talk out of the way and presented the prices, the first person to talk would lose.

                                It didn’t seem like a big deal but it actually worked. Often there were long periods of awkward silence as the person tried to come up with some excuses, but usually they bought.

                                4. If you ask someone a question and they only partially answer, just wait.

                                If you stay silent and keep eye contact, they will usually continue to talk.

                                5. Chew gum when you’re approaching a situation that would make you nervous, like public speaking or bungee jumping.

                                When we eat, our brain tell ourselves, “I would not be eating if I were danger. So I’m not in danger.” This has helped me to stay calm.

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                                6. People will always remember how you made them feel, not what you said.

                                Also, most people like talking about themselves; so ask lots of questions about them.

                                7. When you’re learning something new, teach it to a friend. Let them ask you questions about it.

                                If you’re able to teach something well, you will be sure that you’ve understood it very well.

                                8. If you get yourself to be really happy and excited to see other people, they will react the same to you.

                                It doesn’t always happen the first time, but it will definitely happen the next time.

                                9. The physical effects of stress — breathing rate and heart rate — are almost identical to the physical effects of courage.

                                When you’re feeling stressed in any situations, immediately reframe it : Your body is getting ready to be courageous, you are NOT stressed.

                                10. Pay attention to people’s feet.

                                If you approach two people in the middle of a conversation, and they only turn their torsos and not their feet, they don’t want you to join in the conversation.

                                Similarly, if you are in a conversation with a coworker who you think is paying attention to you and their torso is turned towards you but their feet are facing in another direction, they want the conversation to end.

                                11. Confidence is more important than knowledge.

                                Don’t be intimidated by anyone, everyone is playing a role and wearing a mask.

                                12. If you pretend to be something for long enough, you will eventually become it.

                                Fake it till you make it. Period.

                                13. Not to be creepy, but if you want to stare at someone unashamedly, look directly past them and wait for them to try and meet your eyes.

                                When they fail to do that, they’ll look around (usually nervously for a second) they won’t look at you again for some time. This is your chance to straight up stare at this person for at least 45 seconds.

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                                And as suggested by Brian Stutzman:

                                If you’re staring at someone and get caught, DON’T turn your head or your body to look away, because that just confirms that you were staring.

                                Just move your EYEBALLS off the person. Unlike turning your head, it’s instantaneous. And the person will think you were just looking at something behind them and that they were mistaken for thinking you were staring. Do it confidently, and ignore any reaction from the person, and you can sell it every single time.

                                After a second, you can even look back at them with a “Why are you staring at me?” look on your face to really cement the deal!

                                14. Build a network.

                                Become the information source, and let the information be yours. Even grabbing a beer with a former colleague once a year will keep you in the loop at the old office.

                                Former coworkers might have gotten a new position in that office you always wanted to work in, great! Go to them for a beer, and ask about the office. It’s all about connections and information.

                                15. If you are angry at the person in front of you driving like a grandmother…

                                Pretend it is your grandmother, it will significantly reduce your road rage.

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                                  16. Stand up straight.

                                  No slouching, hands out of pockets, and head held up high. It’s not just a cliche — you literally feel better and people around you feel more confident in you.

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                                  17. Avoid saying “I think,” and “I believe” unless absolutely necessary.

                                  These are phrases that do not evoke confidence, and will literally do you no good.

                                  18. When feeling anxious, clean up your home or work space.

                                  You will feel happier and more accomplished than before.

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                                    19. Always buy the first pitcher or round of drinks.

                                    You’d be surprised how long you could drink on the phrase “I bought the first one.”

                                    20. Going into an interview… be interested in your interviewers.

                                    If you focus on learning about them, you’ll seem to be more interesting and dynamic. (Again, people love to talk about themselves.)

                                    21. Pay attention parents! Always give your kid a choice that makes them think they are in control.

                                    For instance, when I want my son to put his shoes on I will say ,”do you want to put your star wars shoes on or your shark shoes on?”

                                    Pro-tip: In some cases, this works on adults.

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                                      22. Your action affects your attitude more than your attitude affects your action.

                                      As my former teacher said “You can jump and dance FOR joy, but you can also jump and dance yourself joyful.”

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                                      23. When a group of people laugh, people will instinctively look at the person they feel closest to in that group.

                                      Notice who you look at and who look at you when you laugh with a group of people!

                                      24. If you want to build rapport or gain someone’s trust quickly, match their body posture and position.

                                      If someone is sitting with her legs crossed, cross your legs. If they’re leaning away from you, lean away from them. If they’re leaning towards you, lean towards them.

                                      Mirroring and matching body position is a subconscious way to tell if someone trusts you or is comfortable with you. If you’re sitting with your arms crossed and you notice someone else is sitting with her arms crossed, that is a good indicator that you have/are successfully built/building rapport with that person.

                                      25. The Benjamin Franklin Effect (suggested by Matt Miller)

                                      I find the basis of the Benjamin Franklin effect is very useful and extends far beyond pencil borrowing. This knowledge is useful in the world of flirting too.

                                      Asking a girl in your class if you can borrow a pencil or her notes or to explain the homework will make her more likely to like you than if you let her borrow your stuff or are the one to help her. Even just asking a girl to buy you drinks (facetiously) leaves a much bigger impression than offering to or actually buying a girl a drink.

                                      The best part is it kills 3 birds with one stone: you get the advantages of the favor itself, the person subconsciously likes you more, and it makes them more open to future favors and conversation.

                                      26. Handle panic and anxiety behaviors by tapping fingers (Suggested by Jade Barbee)

                                      When you’re feeling stressed, worried or angry, tap each finger tip while thinking (or speaking quietly) a few specific words about what is bothering you. Repeat the same words while tapping each of your 10 fingers, including thumbs.

                                      For example, tap while saying, “I’m so angry with her…” Doing so will likely take the charge out of the feeling and return you to a more resourceful (better feeling) state of being. It’s called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or “tapping,” and it is useful in many life situations – emotional sadness, physical pain, food cravings, traumatic memories…

                                      Featured photo credit: Nicole Wolf via unsplash.com

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