Tuesday, June 10, 2008

she's no vitamin c, but who is?

Boingboing posted a link today to JK Rowling's commencement speech at Harvard, and call me a nerd or a softie or whatever, but I think it's absolutely fantastic, easily one of the best I've seen/heard.

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 already been realised, 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.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. 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 fail by default.

Yeah, it sounds kind of like a downer, but trust, it's not. Also, I really enjoy speeches which make mention of "gay wizards". Natch. Anyway, you can read, watch, or listen to the whole thing here.

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