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smokerings of my mind..

JK Rowling’s Harvard commencement speech 2008

After Steve Jobs commencement speech at Stanford in 2005, it is the speech that JK Rowling gave at Harvard recently that impressed me a lot. My key take-aways were: importance/benefits of failure, imagination and hope. The gist of what she spoke is well represented in the word-cloud below –

Some immensely powerful statements made by her –

“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive.” [as the saying goes – that which does not kills makes you stronger]

“…And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

“…failure meant a stripping away of the inessential.” [failure just rips apart all the clutter… and then all you see is what really matters]

“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.”

Some other good ones…

“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.”

“Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it.”

I read long time back, and now I believe, that when you really look for answers, they just come to you.. I read this speech early this month and liked it.. and that was it. Yesterday, I was just browsing the reader on my iphone and hit this speech again – and there it was.. in my face.. hitting right on at things that were bothering me for a while.. well, not exactly answering my questions, but offering a perspective with which to re-look at things.. 🙂

PS: I made the above ‘word-cloud’ using this cool tool Wordle.

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June 16, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment