J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement

The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination

I love watching Tedx talks and commencement speeches, why? They are the best story telling we have today. The hopeful journeys we learn about, issues facing our world, caring and understanding brilliant people give back in an amazing way.

This is an except of two points J.K. Rowling spoke of in this Harvard speach. (these are copyrighted by J.K. Rowling and shared from the Harvard website)

“On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called ‘real life’, I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.”

“So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”


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