In J K Rowling’s commencement speech to Harvard University, she talked about her life, her friendships, failure, success and imagination. Her speech is one of the most viewed on the university’s website. The speech was entitled, ‘The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination’.
The speech has since been used in an inspiring book (Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination).
Below are 10 quotes taken from the speech to inspire and motivate you.
On Being Who You Are
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.
On Knowing Yourself
You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity.
On Taking Responsibility
There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.
On Living Life
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.
Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.
On The Importance of Friendship
The friends with whom I sat on graduation day have been my friends for life. They are my children’s godparents, the people to whom I’ve been able to turn in times of trouble, people who have been kind enough not to sue me when I took their names for Death Eaters.
On Having The Power Inside Us
We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.
The fears that 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.
On Failure and On Friendships
Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.
Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation.
Click here to view the speech in full.
Thank you to Harvard University and The Blair Partnership for their permission to use the above.