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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 March 31, 2020

                                7 Symptoms of Procrastination and How to Fight Them

                                7 Symptoms of Procrastination and How to Fight Them

                                We all do it to some degree or another; put off for tomorrow what we know should be done today. Postpone the inevitable pain for the current moment of pleasure. But we know that even if we can manage to put it out of our minds for the present, it will eventually come around and bite us on the butt and disturb our external calm demeanor.

                                Below are some of the symptoms of a procrastinator and the remedies to try.

                                1. Lack of Vision

                                Not having a clear vision for the future is one of the biggest reasons people procrastinate. If you can’t see the benefits of completing certain tasks why would you bother starting them?

                                Remedy: Have a clear picture of all that needs to be achieved and the reasons why, you are much more likely to be motivated to get going and get things done.

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                                2. Lack of Time

                                Lack of time is the most popular excuse banded about for not getting things done. But fortunately there are very few people in this world that don’t have the scope for becoming at least 10% more efficient. Being busy doesn’t equate to being efficient. Regularly when someone lacks time in their lives, it is due to poor organization skills, poor prioritization or the inability to say no.

                                Remedy: Learn to become more efficient with one’s time. This can free up many hours a week to get the more important stuff done.

                                3. Lack of Organization

                                The infamous words of Peter Druker say it clearly “Fail to Plan and Plan to Fail”. If you are disorganized and don’t keep a schedule you are likely to forget tasks and miss deadlines.

                                Remedy: Keeping a schedule will help you to track all the tasks that you have to do and ensure that tasks aren’t forgotten.

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                                4. Tiredness

                                Some will use the excuse of being too tired to get started. Many people delay and procrastinate on their home duties because they are too tired when they get home from work.

                                Remedy: Find out the reason for your tiredness. Are you eating right? Are you exercising? Not getting enough sleep? Find your reason and try to remedy it by changing your ways.

                                5. Fear

                                Fear of the outcome can be another delaying factor. Some people fear failure; they won’t be able to do the task to a good enough standard so they delay in getting started. Others — believe it or not — fear success. They may know that by completing a certain task, the outcome may lead them places they are unsure they want to go.

                                Remedy:  Become clear about the consequences of completing or not completing a task.

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                                “Clarity brings Power” –– Anthony Robins

                                6. Easily Distracted

                                In the modern age we are bombarded with technology and external stimulation that it becomes more difficult to stay focused.

                                Remedy: Turn of email notifications and only check emails at allocated times during your day. Switch off your phone and allow messages to go to voicemail. Close your office door and let people know you are not to be disturbed. Remember to stay in control of your technology and not let it control you.

                                7. Feeling Overwhelmed

                                Some tasks at hand can make us feel overwhelmed, mostly because we don’t know how to get started.

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                                Remedy: Break it down into bite sized chunks. Then break it down even more. Plan each part of the task so that you are focusing on completing the sub task rather than the overall task. This helps to feel in control and not overwhelmed. Zoom in and zoom out every now and again to make sure you are moving forward with the overall task.

                                But the best and simplest advice is to make a start on any important task. No matter how small or how insignificant in the overall picture, just get moving. In keeping with the laws of physics — “An object in motion tends to stay in motion” — you can start to get rid of procrastination by moving forward.

                                If you want to learn more about procrastination, check out What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

                                Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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