You might think that the Harry Potter series are just children's books, but there's plenty of adult wisdom in them if you look more closely. Their incredible popularity means that they've obviously struck a chord with millions of children and adults alike. So what can we learn from Harry Potter about the Path of Confidence?
Warning: contains minor spoilers...
You're A Wizard
In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry learns that he's a wizard. He just didn't realize because he's been brought up as an orphan in a family of muggles (non-wizards). It's a similar situation to many other men I know who lack confidence: we were brought up in families with low self-esteem and poor communication skills, and we internalized this believing there was something wrong with us.
You're a wizard too. You just don't realize because your unique gifts weren't valued in the environment where you grew up. Once Harry enrolls in Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he's finally in the right environment to flourish and discovers that he's already famous. It's the same for you: once you realize that you're a wizard and get into the right environment, you'll flourish and your old feelings of lacking confidence will be a distant memory.
You Can Speak A Language You Aren't Aware Of
Midway through Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry discovers that he can speak directly to snakes. Always has been able to in fact, but he just didn't realist It's like when we lack confidence around women: we don't realize that we already have everything we need to flirt, be playful, and have fun around women. The hidden language of sexual attraction is built into us but often nobody has shown us how to unlock it. Once we learn how to do that we realize that it's been with us all the time.
If you've ever noticed how you come alive unexpectedly when a beautiful woman shows up unannounced, you'll know what I'm talking about. When Harry realizes that he can speak directly to snakes, he has incredible power with them. Once you realize that you can talk to any woman in a way that's fun and playful, you'll experience incredible power too. The key to unlocking this secret is Confidence with a capital C.
How To Handle Your Painful Memories
Harry runs into difficulty when he encounters creatures called Dementors who come to guard Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Dementors normally guard the terrible wizard prison of Azkaban which is said to be even worse than the prison we all create for ourselves in our minds. All wizards fear Azkaban because the Dementors trigger enormous emotional pain as they suck out your soul, so the inmates almost always go mad.
Dementors remind Harry of the pain and grief he still feels about his parent's death and every time he encounters one he is so overwhelmed that he passes out. He feels completely trapped at Hogwarts until he comes across the Marauder's Map which shows him a secret passageway to Hogsmead that allows him to bypass the Dementors completely. Harry is now more free to go where he wants, but is still paralyzed when encountering a Dementor unexpectedly on the school grounds.
Professor Lupin teaches Harry a magic spell to help him deal with the painful memories that Dementors trigger: The trick is to think of a happy memory whenever the Dementors are near. It takes time to master, but over time Harry learns to use happy memories to defeat the painful ones from his past so that he can remain conscious and function even when the Dementors are around.
Dementors are like negative thoughts in our heads that remind us of painful memories from our past, like being rejected by women we are attracted to. Finding the Marauder's Map is like learning better communication skills or pick-up artistry in order to connect with women. This can be a stepping stone towards gaining greater confidence but eventually we need to deal with our deeper issues. Emotional healing allows us to deal with the painful memories and experiences from our past that stop us feeling truly confident. Using happy memories to change our emotional state when we're triggered by a painful reminder of the past is one step towards healing emotional pain.
Women Respond To A Direct Approach
Harry and Ron face every young man's scariest experience with girls in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: asking a partner to the school ball. Hermiony gets off easy as a girl since another guy asks her, making Ron rather jealous; but she suffers because really she wanted Ron to ask her. Meanwhile Ron and Harry agonize for ages over who to ask, and how to ask them. Eventually Harry finally summons the courage to approach the girl he wants to invite, and simply says: "Would you come to the ball with me?"
"Yes", she says, much to Harry's relief. Well of course she wants to go to the ball with him; he's a wizard, and something of a champion at his school.
You're a wizard too remember and when you let your inner champion out in your interactions with women, they naturally respond to the direct approach. Too many guys believe they have to put on some fake facade and run a bunch of routines in order to make women interested in them. You just have to be willing to be vulnerable and let your inner champion out to play. It may be scary at first but when you do this, women respond positively to a direct approach.
Be Your Own Man
Harry feels jealous of his friend Ron when Ron is made a prefect at Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Although Harry doesn't like these unpleasant feelings, he can't help but compare himself to Ron and their friendship is strained for a while. Later on as they both grow more mature, Harry sees that Ron has both strengths and weaknesses; some of which complement Harry's strengths and weaknesses. Their friendship deepens as they learn to work more closely together, leaving Harry feeling greater support from Ron and Hermiony. Harry also learns about The Order of The Phoenix which he is now old enough to join and where he can be supported and mentored by adults as he learns to become a leader in his own right.
Harry also learns more about his father, who he has previously placed on a pedestal. Memories from Snape, a childhood enemy of his father, make Harry question whether he still wants to be like his father. Over time, Harry develops a more mature and well-rounded view of the father he misses so much. As he does, Harry learns to develop the personal qualities that he finds important; whether his father had them or not.
Get Yourself A Mentor
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry finds a mentor in the form of a book. The previous owner of his second-hand Advanced Potion-Making textbook has left helpful clues in margins which make the standard potions much more powerful and give him an advantage over the other students at Hogwarts. Later on, Professor Dumbledore begins to mentor Harry directly by revealing a series of memories about their enemy Lord Voldemort's past. Through a variety of teachers and mentors, Harry learns about being a wizard and gains the knowledge and experience that his own father was unable to pass on.
Mentors come in many forms. Some teach directly, others use the power of stories to convey their wisdom. We encounter some in person, while others teach through books, websites, songs, or films. A good book can condense years of wisdom on a given topic so you can master what took years for the author to learn in a matter of hours. In an ideal world your father taught you how to be a man, but in the real world your father may have been absent like Harry's, or perhaps he just didn't know what you need now. Learning everything by trial and error takes a long time. Get yourself a mentor so you can fast-track the process of learning what you missed out on from your own father.
Never Give Up On What Is Important To You
Every man needs a mission in life: something that drives you forward, that you won't give up on no matter what. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry faces his greatest challenge yet. Dark Lord Voldemort and his army of Death Eaters have taken control of the Ministry of Magic, the wizard newspapers, the prison at Azkaban, and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Evil is everywhere. Rather than returning to school where he faces certain death, Harry goes into hiding with Ron and Hermiony to complete the mission that Professor Dumbledore left for him as war breaks out between his remaining adult supporters and the Voldemort's Death Eaters.
Harry has a mission that he won't give up on. It keeps him motivated no matter how dire his circumstances appear. You need a mission too; something personally important to you that will keep you going even during hard times. Perhaps you already know what it is and have known since childhood, or maybe you need to take some time out from normal life to work out what is important to you and what you should pursue in life. Once you find it, never give up on it. Many of us avoid pursuing our dreams because we are afraid of failing. Don't fall into this trap; failure is just a necessary learning experience on the road to success. Learn to embrace failure and the lessons you learn from it. No matter what happens, stick to your guns and always work towards what is most important to you. Never give up.