5 Life lessons learned from Harry Potter

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 Azkaban

Getting ready for the final installment, or should I say the last half of the final installment of the Harry Potter franchise, my wife and I have taken to watching the others in the series to get up to speed. In being terribly honest, I should disclose that my wife is looking more forward to seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 more than I am.

Nevertheless, there is a charm and magic (pun intended) to the Harry Potter stories that are not only very creative but also exceptionally poignant about life. And this is what I want to write about today. The lessons I’ve learned about living an authentic life as learned from Harry Potter.

Lesson 1:
It doesn’t matter how small you are, you can still do big things. Watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone or Sorcerer’s Stone if you’re across the pond, you watch a young (11 year old) Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter. And even as a young man of 21 as I write this he is still small in stature from what I can gather from IMDB where his height is listed at 5’5″.

Harry Potter is small but accomplishes big things in his world including (at least my guess) the final triumphant defeat of his arch nemesis the Dark Lord Voldemort. The first lesson learned about life is that small people can accomplish great acts.

Lesson 2:
Life is a journey and not a destination. With this comes many ups and downs, hills and dales. Harry Potter was injured as a baby and lived with unkind foster parents, his uncle and aunt. In fact a litany of Harry’s injuries and insults that he endures would take up a book just by itself.

I always had the feeling that Harry throughout his schooling at Hogwarts was enjoying the journey and not so much worried about the destination. And at the end of the day, he got through it didn’t he?

Lesson 3:
Sometimes our most difficult tasks and struggles are internal. Could it be that throughout the Harry Potter stories as Harry fights and learns about the Dark Lord, that he is in fact fighting his own darkness? Could the Dark Lord not be synonymous with Harry’s very own inner demons? I think so.

Very often our own biggest struggles are within and not external. Tempted by the dark powers Harry doesn’t give in and at the end finds out that the power of light is much stronger, richer and eternal.

Lesson 4:
You don’t need much to live an authentic and rich life. In fact Harry only has 2 really good friends in the series and plenty of enemies. Yet through all of that, it’s only the 2 good friends he needs to keep to the true path and find the support and companionship he needs.

If you only have 1 good friend that you can count, your life is blessed. And if that 1 good friend that you have is you, then that is enough. The body and the mind are all excellent companions to the soul and he who can be a friend to himself is a valued friend to anyone.

Lesson 5:
Courage is the key to the kingdom. As Severus Snape says in the first episode “fame isn’t everything” when talking to Harry, and in fact it is a fame that Harry never asked for but perhaps turns out to be rather a bit of a handicap.

If you’re quite familiar with the Harry Potter stories then you know that Harry isn’t the most talented student at Hogwarts, nor is the most intelligent or the most capable. But what Harry does have that most of the others lack is courage. And it is courage that saves him more than once and courage that helps him triumph against great odds.

Courage my dear friends will make up for any deficit or liability that you might experience. Courage is enough to lead a deeply rewarding and rich life. A life lived lightly.