3 min read

How to Use the "Expecto Patronum" Spell from Harry Potter in Real Life

I found a way to create real life magic!

I've been reading a book for my day job titled Engineering Management for the Rest of Us, in which the author, Sarah Drasner, quoted another book titled The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. The quote is as follows:

"Students who were told to think about the happiest day of their lives right before taking a standardized math test outperformed their peers. And people who expressed more positive emotions while negotiating business deals did so more efficiently and successfully than those who were more neutral or negative."

This advice given to students to think about the happiest day of their lives reminded me of the Expecto Patronum spell in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. In the book there are creatures known as Dementors who feed on your happiness and hope, and lyeave you with nothing but your worst memories. The Expecto Patronum spell is used to repel Dementors, and it's fueled by thinking of strong, happy memories.

Before reading Shawn Achor's quote, I had never thought there might be a real world application of the Expecto Patronum spell. However, thinking of positive, happy memories can provide a huge boost to our morale and well-being when we're stressed or depressed.

We tend to focus on the negative experiences we have in our lives, which can leave us feeling down. Infusing ourselves with positive energy by reliving our best memories can lift us up and help us perform much better than we would otherwise. Next time you're facing a difficult task, or are down and depressed by something, try recalling a positive experience you've had in the past. Your mood will almost instantly improve.

If you're having difficulties thinking of happy memories, I suggest starting a Gratitude Log as a way of building up happy memories for future need. Simply write down something you're grateful for at the beginning or end of each day. I've been doing this for a couple of years inside my Bullet Journal, and whenever I need a pick me up, I can open to my previous Gratitude Logs and be reminded of all the good things I've experienced. It's like using a magic spell in real life!

Do you keep a Gratitude Log? If so, has it helped you stay positive in times of difficulty? Please share with me by sending an email to brennan@creadevlabs.com, or if you're viewing this on the website please share in the comments section below.


Things I'm working on to improve my productivity and personal knowledge management practices

I sometimes have philosophical questions come to mind that I'd liked to ponder and do some deep thinking about. I write them down in my Bullet Journal with the intention to get back to them later. As often happens, though, as soon as I turn to the next page, the question gets lost. As a way of preventing this from happening, I decided to try something new and create a note in Obsidian with the title being the question, then the body of the note being where I record my thoughts on it. This will also give me the benefit of being able to create backlinks to other notes the question may relate to.

What I'm Reading / Watching / Listening to:

Resources and ideas from others to explore

Article: A Single Creative Project Can Change the Trajectory of Your Life
This article by Tiago Forte outlines a number of projects and experiences that led him to his career of teaching others how to live more productive lives. I really enjoyed seeing the various building blocks that helped him to become the type of person he is today. I'd like to do something like this for myself in a future post on CreaDev Labs.

Video: The Power of Setting Intentions
Ryder Carroll, the creator of the Bullet Journal, has a series of videos covering the definitions of and differences between resolutions, goals, plans, and intentions. I've really enjoyed this series as it has provided clarification around these terms and made it easier to see how we can put them to work for us.

PS: I made some updates to my Productivity System Diagram which reflect the simplified usage of a few of my productivity tools.

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Questions or comments?

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