11 Life Lessons From JK Rowling
So you didn’t have a perfect childhood? Sorry for your loss. What a great excuse you may have for not going all the way to make your dreams come true.
Warning: today your excuses may be gone forever, no matter what your life looks like. After reading these golden nuggets of life delivered by JK Rowling to a graduating class at Harvard, you will be in on her life secrets. These mini lessons take you from any excuse to the life of your dreams. Read at your own risk. By the end of this post, you will have no reason left to stuff your big and little dreams under the mattress.
A lightning idea struck Jo, and she became a billionaire author. Are you ready to enter your magical life? Here are some of her life philosophies that you too can take on.
1. “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
Here is how JK perceived her rock bottom:
“I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short lived marriage had imploded and I was a jobless alone parent and as poor as it was possible to be in Britain without being homeless.”
You too can build up from your own rock bottom, laying a foundation for your dreams and goals, no matter where you are at in this very moment.
2. “Failure gave me an inner security that I have never had by passing examinations.”
Does inner security comes from a job, money, getting an A? The perfect spouse or relationship?
Not according to Jo. Her inner security came from failure.
“Failure meant the stripping away of the inessential.”
What can you strip away? What is inessential in your life? What will be left? What’s left is only what’s important to you along with inner security that you are choosing only a path that is right for you.
3. “Poverty itself is romanticized only by fools. It means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships.”
Some people associate poverty with spirituality. Or they think that it’s romantic to be writhing in hunger and cold, scratching out your craft anyway, digging deep.
Jo disagrees. Why romanticize humiliation and hardships?
“I cannot criticize my parents for hoping I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves and I have since been poor. And I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience.”
It may be time for you to romanticize wealth and abundance, and look forward to bringing your gifts to this world, while satiated, with some extra money in the bank. Now that is ennobling.
4. “Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the fates.”
So you have a college education or know you’re smart. That’s great, but as far as the fates, well as Jo says,
“Your qualifications are not your life.”
There’s no room for self-judgment here—life is what it is for all of us. Do what you can to get what you want. Keep on keeping on, and don’t give up.
5. “The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”
If you’re blaming someone else for you not finding your own dream and bringing it to life, grab the wheel; you’re old enough to drive.
“I do not blame my parents…there is an expiry date for blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction. I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I had suspected.”
You have what it takes, so take it. The minute you stop blaming, you can start steering.
6. “We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to have Harry or Hermione’s magic wand? Or to go into a wand shop and browse?
If Jo tells you that you have magic and power inside yourself, then you do. Believe it, allow it to surface and get ready for a wild ride.
7. “The crucial importance of imagination.”
Did you think imagination is to be left for the kids? Maybe you’re just a big kid after all.
“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not and therefore the fount of all invention…we have the power to imagine better.”
“It is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we never shared.”
Go ahead and daydream. Let your imagination run where it may and imagine a better life, a better world. You have Jo’s permission.
8. “The first story I finished was when I was six years old.”
Our childhoods have lots of clues. What were you doing when you were six? What toy did you want? What did you play with?
If you can’t remember, take a trip to the virtual toy store and see what you want to play with and play. It may lead to what you really want to be doing.
9. “I began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.”
What work matters to you?
“I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was.”
What might you be pretending to be? What box are you in? Climb on out.
10. “Harry Potter gave me back self-respect. Harry gave me a job to do that I loved more than anything else.”
Do what you love and what you are meant to do and the self-respect will follow.
11. “It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default.”
Failure is good. It means you are out in the ring, not in the nosebleed section, watching other people battle it out.
“There was a point where I really felt I had ‘penniless divorcee lone parent’ tattooed on my head.”
“What I feared most; failure. I was the biggest failure I knew.”
What do you think you have tattooed on your forehead? Too old to start? Young and inexperienced? Too poor? Too scared?
Time to pour the concrete and lay the foundation for greater things.
Here is a bonus life lesson:
“I don’t think about who the audience is for my books.”
Expectations of others can rule our lives if we let them. IF we let them.
“I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself and what those closest to me expected of me.”
Take a break from wondering how to create your career based on what others want. If you do what helps you, with the gifts you have, you will do as Jo did.
So there you have it. Life on JK Rowling’s terms.
“I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized. And I was still alive and I still had a daughter whom I adored and I had an old typewriter and a big idea.”
Go ahead. Set yourself free. Your failures can be your stepping stones to greatness. This one life you have is yours to live. Do what you love and want to do—that’s where the magic is. Believe in yourself.
Light yourself up and dig deep for the magic inside you. It’s there, and it’s in all of us. Harry leads the way!
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