Right vs. Easy – A Lesson From Harry Potter

“We’re in a time when we must choose between what is right and what is easy.  And remember, Harry, whatever happens, you’re never alone.”

Wise words to Harry Potter by Dumbledore, the head wizard at Hogwarts School of Magic.

Recently, I had the opportunity to see “Harry Potter, The Goblet of Fire” at an IMAX theatre.  For a country bumpkin like me, who rarely watches TV let alone visit a theatre, this was a fantastic experience to be immersed in a brilliant work of art.

By a mysterious event, young Harry is entered into an extremely treacherous competition against older and more experienced wizards.  The challenges are far beyond the abilities of which Harry thinks he is capable.

Time and time again, Harry overcomes the dangers, fears, battles, and spells through his determination, kinship, and love.  He was continually challenged to do what was right in his heart, rather than to do what was easy, and naturally, he was victorious in the competition.  And consequently, the movie ended with a clever segue for another sequel.

The other attendees vacated the theatre within minutes and I sat there, all alone, reflecting and pondering the lesson for me.   The credits rolled for almost ten minutes, accompanied by an enchanting musical composition.

Where in life do I take the easy, quick, or convenient way, rather than to do what is right in my heart?

When honest with myself, I see that it happens more than I care to admit.

It seems that we are continually in positions that require us to make choices.  Some are almost automatic and others require more thought or ‘being-ness’.

When I think about my life, there were many times that I made easy or convenient choices, which allowed me to stay small and mediocre.  Actually, when I made a habit of these choices, I found that life sucked.  I felt empty, alone, and even negative.  And often I ended up having to re-do what I had done, or found myself eating a lot of ‘crow’ to mend relationships that I had damaged.

Yet, when I am mindful of what is occurring and make ‘right’ choices that require me to stretch beyond that which I think I am capable, cognisant of enhancing my relationships with others, I feel inspired, invigorated, positive, and heartful.

These are the moments that help me to feel victorious in life.  I don’t mean that I win at the expense of others. It does mean that I have encouraged myself to make decisions to enlarge my comfort zone to a new bigger level.  I have swallowed my pride and asked others for their support, and have willingly supported others on their journey.  These are the moments that give me a ‘buzz’ and allow me to feel that I am on a good path.

What about you?

As you approach your daily challenging choices, take a moment to stop and ‘be’ on your options for a moment.  Use your body as a barometer to make the choice to ‘go’ or ‘no-go’.  Use this process:

•    Think about one option and the possible consequences.

•    What do you feel in your body?  Do you feel: a knot in your stomach; tightness in your back, shoulders or legs; jittery-ness; heart pounding?

•    Is this feeling a ‘not right’ feeling, or an uneasy ‘this may be tough’ feeling that will force you to stretch?

•    How will this option and the consequences affect others – build trust and rapport, or tear it down?

•    What and who can you ask for support?

Then use the same process for additional options.

As I practice this, I usually sense one option as ‘the right’ choice – not necessarily easy, but one which forces me to go beyond my current level of competence and confidence. And I feel motivated because of how it will affect my life and the lives of those I love and care for.

I have a hunch that if you are honest with yourself, you have experienced the sick, gut-wrenching feeling when you make the ‘easy, life sucks’ choice.

It takes courage to make the ‘right’ choice.  As Albert Einstein said, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

Rise above mediocrity and complacency, listen to your body, and choose what is ‘right’.  Accept ownership for your choices and results, and keep in mind that you are not alone.  Others feel honoured to help you, just as you feel honoured to help them.

You don’t need a Harry Potter magic wand.  And just like in Harry’s world, love is the bright clean light that cannot be masked by darkness.