I’m reading all the Harry Potter books again. No, I’m not in school, nor do I have a kid to connect with through this series. I’m like many twenty-somethings out there, fascinated as kids by J.K. Rowling’s magical world and still hoping that one day we’ll receive our Hogwarts letter.
And so it happens, I got mine. This Christmas, T. handed my Hogwarts letter and sorted me in Hufflepuff.
(Why Hufflepuff? Because although I still think of Griffindor as the coolest house and secretly love Slytherin’s astuteness, Hufflepuff represents virtues I’ve always hoped I’d have – T. says I do but whatever, he loves me, so he can’t really be trusted :)) )
Like I said, he played the Sorting Hat while filling my school trunk with seven HP volumes in special edition (hardcover, yellow and black with the badger house animal; btw, did you know badgers are in the same family as wolverines?? That makes me cool, right? Right?).
Anyway, as I was nearing the end of book three, I got to the point where Harry conjures up the Patronus to protect Sirius and himself from Dementors, near the lake. Hermione is surprised by his magical skills and Harry doesn’t have other explanation for them but the fact that he “knew he could do it”:
And just like that, it occurred to me the hidden meaning of that sentence. That, many times, the thing that gets in the way of reaching our full potential is our own disbelief in ourselves.
If we had the power to know the future and turn back time, like Harry and Hermione did, we wouldn’t doubt ourselves. We’d go for it because we did it before, like Harry said. Once you know you can do something because you’ve done it before, the chance of failure born from the fear of the unknown disappears.
I tried my hand at it recently. I had to give a convincing speech and my nerves were getting the better of me. My heart was pounding, my mouth was dry and I was trying to memorize the words while visualizing all the commentaries and questions my words would prompt.
Seconds before the official event, I remembered that passage and tried to visualize myself at the end of it, later in the day or tomorrow. How relieved I’d be, how well the whole thing would have gone, how easy everything actually had been… and I felt my body relax. I knew I could do it because I’d visualized myself having done it already.
Yes, this was a trick I played on my mind and therefore, I wasn’t 100% stress-free but it really helped.
Wouldn’t it be great if more young people would learn to do this too? Instead of focusing on the difficulty of a task, on the fear of the unknown, instead of thinking they aren’t ready for it or good enough to do it, just believe they’ve done it?
Imagine yourself saying the right thing at the right moment, handling that project as your boss would, believe in yourself as you would if you could see the future where you’ve done it already and then come back to me. Tell me if that certainty, that faith, didn’t do its magic 🙂