J.K. Rowling, Harvard Commencement, Benefits of Failure

At 21 J.K. Rowling’s biggest fear was failure.

Seven years later she was the biggest failure she knew. Her marriage had failed, and she was a single parent and so poor that she was all but homeless.

But she was alive and had a daughter she adored, a typewriter, and a big idea.

Some failure in life is inevitable,” Rowling says. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you failed by default.”

Once you survive failure, “the knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are ever after secure in your ability to survive,” Rowling says.

Given a time-turner, Rowling would tell her 21 year old self that “personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a checklist of acquisition or achievement.” And that “life is difficult and complicated and beyond anyone’s total control. And the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes [life’s ups and downs].”

When something feels like it is over, when you feel like you have failed, look at the possibilities. Failure is self defined; you create your own definition of what it is to have failed. Life is as you see it, your attitude. A positive spirit is invaluable.

You have not failed if you have truly tried and if you have the power to imagine something better for yourself and the fortitude to go for it.




About Faye Lynn

Barefoot and Breathless is a contemporary romance, chick-lit, women's fiction novel about a single mother looking for love, dealing with her son's growing independence, overcoming a past abusive relationship, trying to stay true to her morals, and teaching in a public at-risk school. It's a light, fun read with a writing style of Rachel Gibson meets Janet Evanovich. Like the heroine in Barefoot and Breathless, I'm a teacher, yogi, and single mother. I hope you enjoy reading my posts, and I look forward to reading your comments. Carpe Diem, Faye Lynn
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