Originally published at: https://blog.12min.com/j-k-rowling-harvard-commencement-speech-summary/
Harvard University Commencement 2008
J.K Rowling talks about things she wishes someone told her, back when she was a graduate.
About J. K. RowlingK. Rowling is a bestselling novelist and a philanthropist, author of the Harry Potter series.
"J.K. Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech Summary"There is no person on Earth that does not know about J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter books.
Most of the people that have heard of her know the tough life she had before she got her big break. Her rags to riches story serve as an inspiration for many people.
Knowing that J. K. Rowling succeeded to transform from a single mom on the verge of bankruptcy to one of the wealthiest authors on the planet, gives her words complete credibility.
When invited to give a commencement speech to Harvard graduates, she felt a huge responsibility to prepare a piece which would deliver words of wisdom that could guide the promising young generation.
So, she decided to convey the lessons she learned the hard way, and advice she wished someone had given her when she was a graduate.
She came up with two core lessons: appreciate the value of failing and recognize the importance of imagination.
K. Rowling had studied modern languages and classics. While she was studying, she was not worried because she always did well on the exams, but as soon as she graduated, she started feeling fear that she will face failure.
Everyone knew that her choice of education was not offering too many opportunities, and seven years later, this notion was reinforced by Rowling’s life.
She was a single, unemployed divorcee living almost below the poverty line.
However, the realization of her worse fear - freed her.
She had just hit rock bottom, and there was no place to go but up.
So, she gave up control of her life and decided to pursue the only thing that mattered: writing.
Another thing that she considers important is imagination, and moreover – recognizing its power.
One of her jobs after she finished college was in Amnesty International, where she was surrounded by stories of victims and torture and refugees.
This made her perceive human evil, and at the same time, human kindness.
People can empathize with others if they employ their imaginations and understand what those others are going through.
And yet, many choose to stay blind to the unhappiness.
According to Rowling, when you decide to do nothing for a situation, you allow it to continue.
Hence, every human being is responsible for recognizing and developing his imagination, to create a better world.
Key Lessons from “J.K. Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech”1. Fearing the Future 2. Failure is Not Forever 3. Develop Your Imagination
Fearing the FutureAs soon as Rowling graduated, she started feeling fear that she will face failure.
Seven years later, the realization of her worse fear - freed her.
Failure is Not ForeverK. Rowling succeeded to transform from a single mom on the verge of bankruptcy to one of the wealthiest authors on the planet. Her rags to riches story proves to everyone that life can be turned around.
Develop Your ImaginationPeople can empathize with others if they employ their imaginations and understand what those others are going through.
Every human being is responsible for recognizing and developing his imagination, to create a better world.
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“J.K. Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech” Quotes[bctt tweet="Some failure in life is inevitable." username="get12min"]
[bctt tweet=“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.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“Personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a checklist of acquisition or achievement.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“Your qualifications are not your life.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation; it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.” username=“get12min”]