These words have been taken from J.K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement address, a speech dedicated to discussing the virtues of failure. J.K. Rowling summed-up the worst period of her life in these simple words and then, credited the very same period of her life for the success she eventually achieved.
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Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Stephen King, Abraham Lincoln are just a few of the many famous people who turned failures into stepping stones to success. Then there are all those who may not have made it to the list of world’s richest or achieved what you and I may define as success but have demonstrated incredible strength by rising out of the ashes of constantly disappointed hopes. People who despite extremely difficult beginnings, through sheer grit and determination, built a better life for themselves and their loved ones.
You see, rock bottom is actually a very friendly place to be but only in hindsight. When first confronting failure, we all have very similar reactions – disbelief, denial, frustration, and worst of all, self-pity. It’s only as we rebuild our life that we realise that the failures we faced made us stronger and wiser. Unfortunately, not everyone makes it out of the miasma of hopelessness and misery that engulfs you when you fail at something built on the foundations of hope and faith.
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Last year, I decided to work on my own childhood dream of writing a book. Now, I grew up reading books by authors like Ayn Rand, Thomas Hardy, Alexander Dumas, Stephen King, Arthur Conan Doyle which means that everything I write reads like garbage to me. It’s been almost a year since I started working on my book, but I have nothing to show for it.
Initially, I felt such frustration when the words on the screen failed to match the vision inside my head. Then, as I kept going without any tangible progress, I went from disbelief to fear that I was never going to be able to create a physical copy of any of the many books I have written inside my head since I was an inquisitive, precocious 5-year-old. I would have given up except, this is not my first showdown with fear, disappointment, or even blind panic, and I happen to know that a victory is all the more sweeter when won after a long, hard struggle. I shifted some of my focus to other ventures and the rest of it on improving my writing skills and maintaining my faith in myself.