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Boggarts


In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, JK Rowling introduces us to a creature called the Boggart. Nobody know what it looks like because it is a shape-shifter that assumes the shape of whatever frightens the person looking at it the most.

While the Boggart is a fictional creature in the magical world of Harry Potter, we all have our own real life Boggarts. Steven Pressfield calls it by the name of Resistance.

When we set out to do original work, work that needs us to put ourselves out there and say to the world, 'Come and look at what I have to say', our worst fears begin to take shape in our brains and paralyze us, preventing us from taking action and shipping our art.

What if nobody likes what I share?
What if I make a fool of myself?
What if everybody laughs at me? 
What if everyone finds out I'm not as good as they think I am?

Boggarts.

Fortunately, what it takes to banish a Boggart is a simple spell. As Professor Lupin so elegantly explains, "Think of what frightens you the most and turn it into something funny, and then say 'Riddikulus!'" This is captured in a nice scene in the movie when each student turns their Boggart into something funny.

We can take the same simple approach and turn our worst fears into humour. This is what stand-up comedians do for a living. Every single one of them makes fun of themselves and their fears in front of hundreds of people. And that convinces the brain that it is nothing to be feared.

Overcoming the Resistance is simple if we embrace the fact that our worst fears, even if they come true, will hardly make a difference to us. Sure, we might make fools of ourselves. And sure, nobody might like what we share. But, that is just a feedback loop telling us where we can improve and get better.

If we are afraid of facing the Boggart, we are going to be 100x more afraid when the real thing happens. But, when we banish our Boggarts, we are in a much better place to deal with the situation when the real thing that scares us manifests.

Take out your wands and banish your Boggarts.

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