The famous Hogwarts Sorting Hat is something we watched in action on our screens growing up. And if you’re a book lover, you read about, in absolute awe, how something as mundane as a hat could pinpoint your personality to decide how successful you could become. So, what if I told you that you could activate a real-life Sorting Hat in our world? And that we find ourselves displaying our ‘house colors’ on a daily basis through how we react to the obstacles and opportunities thrown our way.
The real life Sorting Hat represents an individual’s desire and ability to maintain a state of self-actualization in their lives. Similarly to American psychologist Abraham Maslow, my belief is that we are all born with innate ambition and a hunger for happiness. The different ‘colors’ of the Sorting Hat, therefore, represent the accumulation of certain traits in ourselves that determine how willing we are to keep the heart of this ambition alive. They act as a benchmark for us to introspectively accept and understand which chapter on our journeys towards seeking out success we are currently on.
But before I decipher the colors of the Sorting Hat , there are a few rules that must be understood before we integrate it into our lives.
1. Our world’s Sorting Hat is indecisive—it finds itself swapping ‘colors’ at every new chapter.
2. You may remove the Sorting Hat at any time if you have felt like you have reached your definition of success and contentment in this life.
3. Most importantly, Sorting Hats are loyal and will be deceptive to other sets of eyes other than their owner’s. Therefore, never compare your color to another person’s—their Sorting Hat may never present you their full picture or true color.
Now let’s begin.
The very first color we wear on our heads for the first few chapters of our life happens to be red. It symbolises the herd mentality and sorts through the individuals who realize their instincts to escape this color bracket. But it is often also a color that symbolizes community, as it is about embracing trends and popular culture that appeal to the masses. The color red also happens to become most people’s final stop in life, as this is where they may find contentment and the absence of the need to want more. If you find yourself in this position, it is not a bad thing at all! you simply were blessed with the ability to embrace life’s pre-programmed routes, which will reward you with a life filled with cliched triumphs and struggles. Don’t worry, it just means that you have an extensive library of rom coms and sitcoms to turn to in times of need! Hollywood feeds off of your everyday life; you are the one in the driver’s seat here, so make your life-changing decisions into a trend and watch all 500 versions of it play out on your screen. Now that’s what I call alternate realities!
For those of us that start questioning the structures in place when we find ourselves in the color red, you may wake up to find that your Sorting Hat has all of a sudden made itself yellow! Yellow, you will find, will be the color you bear the most amount of times. It represents the stage of self-discovery and enlightenment. Those of us that start ‘wearing’ the color yellow are often seen as curious and controversial. It is because we embrace our need
to redefine what everyone else believes. We feel an urge to ensure that our friendships and love life are forged from challenging the instructionals placed onto us by society. We find that in order for us to find a support system and our passions, the only way forward is to start thinking about our identities and their intersectionality. To create our own definitions of ‘luxury’ and ‘happiness’. The color yellow is about building the foundation blocks for our future attempts at creating careers that are deemed too far-fetched or unstable.
Since our childhoods, we have all daydreamed of a catalogue of careers and ideals that over time gets disintegrated and eroded away by doubts and fears placed onto us. However, this projection of worry and snarkiness from others is an integral part of the journey forward to attaining the next colors. It is only in this process can you test your resilience and develop traits essential to finding success. It is here that we need to shift our perspectives to understand that it foreshadows a power differential between groups of people later on in life. And your ability to thrive under such pressurized and monotonous conditions will always give you the courage to jump closer to your goals.
Our first acts of solidarity will be what activates the next color and chapter in our journeys toward success. The first time we speak up for ourselves or respectfully tell someone they are wrong about us will be forever stained in the color green—a color that symbolises integrity and self-esteem. If you know what needs to be done in order to achieve what you most desire, then you have all the tools you need to begin. That, you will find, is the main mentality coursing through our minds at this stage. When our Sorting Hats surprise us by choosing the color green to represent a certain chapter in our lives, we know it’s because somewhere in between we have become confident in the knowledge and skill set we’ve built internally. We know we are wearing the color green when we feel empowered to swoon
over our passions to others without shame, even if the enthusiasm is never reciprocated. We befriend fear and rejection and thank them for fueling our adrenaline and grit. We keep our heads high and know how to toss aside judgement and doubt.
Mainstream life goals become secondary, we seek advice from our carefully curated support system and thrive after every setback by making humility our default setting. It gives us the motivation to start again till we finally run full speed towards an open door, ready to hug on to that opportunity tightly. But be warned, at green you will find the most mental challenges. Green reveals your priorities and forces you to think about what you are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve your definition of success. It is here that most people may find themselves content by living at the starting line of their dream life. It is indeed the sweetest spot of them all, as the opportunity we land presents us with stability and the possibility to do what we love every day. It makes compromise a sensible and sustainable option. Here is where most of us retire our Sorting Hats.
So, how do we know when we’ve mastered success and have graduated all levels of the Sorting Hat? In our world, the Sorting Hat’s purpose is to measure someone’s ability to achieve a state of self-actualization. Success will always be subjective; the goal is to remove the concept away from material spoils, titles, and travels. Rather, success is about understanding how we can sustain working at our full potential, even for little tasks and actions we take in our everyday lives. Self-actualization requires us to be conscious of our weaknesses and limitations; it requires that we seek comfort and growth in the negatives in order to conclude what our invaluable strengths are.
When this is achieved we proudly wear the color blue at the peak of our lifetimes. We showcase to our loved ones that success and happiness comes when you are aware of your boundaries and can articulate what you want from others in your social and professional career in exchange for your refined skills. However, self-actualization also means we are constantly teaching ourselves and adapting to further ensure our strengths remain useful. It accepts the constant changing of the Sorting Hat, swiftly moving from yellow to green to blue, never underestimating the importance of being at each stage.
To believe that one person can forever remain on the color blue proves that that person has never attained it in the first place. In order to live life successfully, the goal is to never have a fixed definition of the concept in the first place. It means to embrace ideologies with no strings attached. As mentioned in Buddha’s core teachings, “The root of suffering is attachment.” We were not born with a brief to discover the cure for cancer or become a great leader; those successful in doing so have triumph because of their skill in just choosing to live to their fullest potential. Our job is to merely exist, but exist in maddening ways that make others question how one can live with such content and happiness. So much so that it makes the world’s definition of success seem utterly foolish.