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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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                                Last Updated on September 17, 2018

                                How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                                How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

                                Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

                                Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

                                All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

                                Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

                                How bad really is multitasking?

                                It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

                                Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

                                This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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                                We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

                                So what to do about it?

                                Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

                                Now, forget about how to multitask!

                                Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

                                1. Get enough rest

                                When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

                                This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

                                When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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                                2. Plan your day

                                When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

                                When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

                                Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

                                3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

                                I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

                                I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

                                Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

                                4. When at your desk, do work

                                We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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                                Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

                                5. Learn to say no

                                Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

                                Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

                                By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

                                6. Turn off notifications on your computer

                                For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

                                Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

                                7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

                                Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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                                You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

                                The bottom line

                                Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

                                Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

                                Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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