The Fringe Benefits of Failure


I highly recommend that you carve out a few minutes today and read, watch or listen to J.K. Rowling deliver the following commencement address at Harvard. Link (via BoingBoing)


“I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”

“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. …Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. …Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned….


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