Patronus Problems

Harry saving himself with the Patronus charm. Harry saving himself with the Patronus charm.

(Bear with me: this is a bespoke Harry Potter reference)

In Harry Potter Prisoner of Azkaban, one of the core storylines is a moment when Harry believes that his late father has somehow returned to save him with a patronus charm. Throughout the story Harry struggles to grapple with the complexity and power required to carry out the patronus charm, and comes to marvel at the power he had to save Harry. He later travels back in time to that very moment, waiting for his dad to appear but ultimately realizes it’s him that must save himself. All of this time waiting for someone else to save him but ultimately he had that power within him to save himself.

Patronus problems are ones where you are expecting someone else to solve a problem for you—often this is an entirely reasonable expectation, but this expectation is wrong and it is best to muster the power to solve it yourself.

I’ve found this to be a surprisingly useful line of thinking for both personal and professional cases.

Instead of waiting for someone else to solve the problem—as much as you think it makes sense—just run ahead and do it yourself even if you’re not sure you can. In web3 land this could mean building a frontend or tool on your protocol that you thought the community should build. Within a company it may mean proactively pushing ahead on an area of a project that another team would be expected to do. In a community it might mean holding a dinner or event to create the space to discuss a certain issue or theme.

Whatever it is, maybe you can solve the problem after all, even though you think you can't.

❍ 2022 jacob