MADmusings: inspiring freedom, adventure and excellence… in Madrid & beyond!

Time to crack on with another classic speech. A few weeks ago we looked at Jim Carrey and Steve Jobs (top dinner guests?!) and their respective commencement speeches, along with various TED Talks.

Today we delve in to the thoughts of a very unsuccessful lady, who calls herself a writer. Something about wizards, I’m told 😉

Ok, she’s HUGE! Not in physical stature of course, but in her writing successes. A book and film series based around a lad by the name of Harry Potter which has done reasonably well. In the process, J.K. Rowling has gone from broke to billionaire.

Let’s have a little look and see what she has to say for herself, from Harvard 2008:

Wow, turns out writers can give great speeches! 😉

Now, I’ve never read the books that have made her famous (and rich) or seen the movies… not really my cup of tea, but, you can’t argue with what she and the HP franchise has achieved.

She was essentially down and out, depressed, no money and all those beautiful things… but she had an idea, got moving and absolutely smashed it! We can all learn a thing or 2 here… not necessarily to reach the same dizzying heights, but to at least get with the program and produce something and have a little piece of the pie.

The 2 central tenets of the speech are failure and imagination. Rowling covers all that, but just to re-iterate, anyone with any modicum of success has failed numerous times. In fact, the more the merrier, and they are generally nothing more than learning experiences.

When taking a bit of stick for taking such a long time inventing the light bulb, Thomas Edison was asked how he felt about his 10,000 ‘failures’. His response: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.

Most people on a mission don’t care too much for failure as they are so clear about what they are chasing and are getting closer with each setback. And as cheesy as it sounds, you have never actually failed until you quit. If you’re still in the game, then it’s not over by a long shot.

This is how scientific breakthroughs occur – a hypothesis is tested, there are multiple failed attempts, after which the process is tweaked until eventually the desired conclusion is reached. Not only that, but other discoveries are made in the process which weren’t even part of the initial studies.

As for imagination, let that run wild! Let creativity be nurtured and never allow it to be repressed… whatever age you might be. Whether it be wacky wizards or something less fanciful, imagination is the key to the kingdom.

So, our friend J.K. (Rowling, not Jamiroquai) has done alright. Kept the wolf from the door and sent it back to the 3 little pigs… and educated at the University of Exeter no less 😉

Here’s to not living cautiously!

~ Adam

“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 have failed by default” ~ JK Rowling

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