“Next to the tall kid with the red hair.”
“Wearing the glasses?”
“Did you see his face?”
“Did you see his scar?”
Whispers followed Harry from the moment he left his dormitory…
“Ah, yes,” he [Snape] said softly, “Harry Potter. Our new—celebrity.”
“What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?”
… “I don’t know, sir,” said Harry.
Snape’s lips curled into a sneer.
“Tut, tut—fame clearly isn’t everything.”
From his first day of Hogwarts, Harry has to manage expectations placed on him by strangers and their subsequent disappointment that he’s not what they thought he was. Most of us will never have to deal with the same level of pressure Harry faced, but we’ll have some. Our mother wants us to be the brightest in the class. Our dad wants us to go all pro. Our friends want us to never let them down. We want to be a famous Quidditch player with a house that looks like Hogwarts, a husband that looks like Cedric, and three perfect redheaded children.
The problem is that what is expected is often not what comes to pass. Not everyone makes it to the Super Bowl, not everyone sells 400 million copies of their children’s novel, not everyone wins an Oscar. And that is okay! The problem arises when our happiness is dependent on meeting these expectations. Eventually, disappointment will catch up to us and crash over us like a tidal wave. Living our life aimed at achieving man-made expectations blinds us to the things that really matter and will bring us true joy—saving lives, loving people, extending kindness, being generous, helping someone in need – all the things Harry did for others. All the things that made him truly special. All the things that helped him overcome the pressure of expectation.
Harry took his focus off of himself and placed it on doing all he could for others. He didn’t set expectations for his abilities. He used his abilities to do the greatest good he could. Through focusing on helping others he discovered the greatest power—love—and achieved more than anyone could have hoped or imagined.
Challenge: Use your abilities to wield the greatest power, as Harry did, not to meet man-made expectations. Harry used Parseltongue to rescue Ginny, he ignored popularity to befriend Luna and Neville, and he used his sock and quick thinking to free Dobby. He used what he already had and was capable of to do the unexpected.
If you want to become Harry Potter, you’ve got to be more that what is expected – you have to be unexpected.
Share with us how you are going to use your abilities in unexpected ways to wield the greatest power in the discussion section or with #MNBHP (MuggleNet Becoming Harry Potter) on Twitter.
Next Week: “Becoming Harry Potter: Sticking Up for Neville”