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Life Lessons from Harry Potter

Learning from Harry Potter

Many people hear the story of JK Rowling, the now famous author of the Harry Potter books, and wonder how anyone ever gets to be so successful.

A single mother with an infant, she sat for hours writing a book that she was convinced would change her life. Did Rowling have wealthy parents or a supportive circle of friends? On the contrary, she was on welfare and often had to write in a local cafe with her baby in a carriage beside her...because her welfare check didn't leave enough money to pay the electric bill.

Despite these hardships, or maybe because of them, Rowling persisted and finished writing her book... Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

When it was done, the first three publishers she approached wouldn't talk to her. Rejected but holding onto hope, she went to another publisher who saw the potential and accepted the manuscript for publication. The book was published and picked up in America where it was published as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, a movie deal was made...

The rest is history.

JK Rowling is now one of the wealthiest women in the world because she managed to believe in herself and persist in following her dreams when it seemed impossible for them to come true. In the darkest hours of her life she gave birth to Harry Potter, a young boy who struggles against dark forces, but never gives in and always succeeds in the end.

What motivates a person to continue through such hardship? This article by John Watson may provide some answers...

Motivation By Daily Applause

One of our most powerful psychological needs is the craving to be appreciated by our fellow humans. Often the quickest way to receive the applause we desire is to keep working hard without it. Those who work hard on their own in private usually end up receiving applause in public. Just the thought of this future applause can provide powerful motivation.

In the film Topsy Turvy, about the relationship and work of the comic opera geniuses Gilbert and Sullivan, Gilbert's wife tells him how she would have loved to be an actress. She had noticed how an actress often receives rapturous applause from an audience after each performance. She exclaims to Gilbert, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if ordinary people gave themselves a round of applause at the end of the day."

Probably, this is why many of us dream of being a great speaker or actor on stage receiving a standing ovation. Applause is a powerful motivator. We all work hard when other people are watching. The runner speeds up as he or she approaches the crowds near the end of the race. Even if he or she is amongst the tailenders a sudden burst of energy will manifest itself. The footballer plays out of his skin in front of a big crowd.

However, anyone who can work hard without an audience will usually end up receiving applause from an audience. Whatever you do in secret whether good or bad frequently becomes public. The man who does sit ups in private looks good in public. The man who does not do sit ups may look obese in public. The woman who takes care of her money in private can drive an expensive car in public. The woman who wastes her money in private may end up cadging lifts from her friends. The writer who can write for a year or so on her own produces a blockbuster like Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and then is surrounded by admiring audiences wherever she goes.

In the meantime, let us praise ourselves and those around us who live a great day and then receive no applause.

About the Author...
John Watson

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