We can’t actually be the great man himself, but we’ve certainly picked up a few life tips from the old Hogwarts headmaster. So, at the very least, we can be 90% like him. Tops.
Don’t fight fire with fire
If there was one thing Albus Dumbledore was known for more than his love of sherbet lemons, it was his calm temper. The man just had tranquillity oozing out of his pores. This isn’t to say that he was never angry – we all remember the fury of Dumbledore – but when he was, it with entirely within reason.
He seized the table on which the silver instrument had stood and threw that, too. It broke apart on the floor and the legs rolled in different directions. ‘You do care,’ said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Whenever someone would fly into a rage in front of Dumbledore, he would never react in the same way – that would just be fighting fire with fire, which doesn't get anyone anywhere. And it’s an attitude we should all adopt. There are ways to resolve disagreements without resorting to anger and Dumbledore’s canny ability to defuse a situation is a lesson for us all.
Don’t be afraid to speak from the heart
One of the best things about Dumbledore – and it’s a long list – was his willingness to talk candidly about matters that meant a lot to him, including a lot of his personal history. That ability to spill your guts when it’s appropriate is refreshing. It means there is little room for dishonesty and it’s the most mature way to approach a situation.
‘The truth.’ Dumbledore sighed. ‘It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution. However, I shall answer your questions unless I have a very good reason not to, in which case I beg you’ll forgive me. I shall not, of course, lie.’
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Learn how to turn negatives into positives
Death changes everyone and for so many it’s something that sends you on a downward spiral – but not Dumbledore. When he was in his youth he lost both his parents and his younger sister, Ariana. He was initially depressed at having to care for orphaned Ariana, as he’d had plans for the future, which had since been derailed; and when Ariana died he blamed himself.
All those closest to Albus – and I count myself one of that lucky number – agree that Ariana’s death and Albus’s feeling of personal responsibility for it (though, of course, he was guiltless) left their mark upon him forever more. I returned home to find a young man who had experienced a much older person’s suffering. Albus was more reserved than before, and much less light-hearted.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Anyone would be seriously broken-hearted after going through what Dumbledore had gone through at a young age, but where was this Dumbledore in the man we knew? The twinkly-eyed, playful headmaster who genuinely cared for his students and had an enviable attitude to life?
Dumbledore taught us to make sure we take what life throws at us and turn it into something positive. This doesn’t mean you should ignore tragedy, but Dumbledore showed that it shouldn’t dictate your future.
It’s a message Dumbledore imparted to his friends and students before he died and, when he did, it was something Harry had to take on board despite how hard his headmaster’s passing was. It’s important to remember the living as they were and don’t allow their death to cloud your mind, or to stop you living your best life.
Eat more sherbet lemons
Well, this one’s just obvious. Dumbledore was well known for his love of the bitter confectionary and had all-round excellent taste in other sweets too. The greatest wizard of all time being a cheeky ol’ sweet-tooth is just too perfect. Maybe he was high on sugar for the entirety of Harry’s adventures. And maybe we should be too.
‘Would you care for a sherbet lemon?’ ‘A what?’ ‘A sherbet lemon. They’re a kind of Muggle sweet I’m rather fond of.’
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Humility was something Albus Dumbledore had running through his veins. Despite being the greatest wizard of his time, he certainly didn’t let it get to his head and was never condescending or belittling to others. This absence of arrogance is inspirational and a trait worth taking on because if Dumbledore, an extraordinary wizard and doer of so much good, wasn’t at all cocky, then what’s anyone else’s excuse?
‘But you think you’re right?’ said Harry. ‘Naturally I do, but as I have already proven to you, I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being – forgive me – rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger.’
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince