Not new, but new to me, and terrific, this is. I live in a home of Harry Potter fanatics, and it is awfully fun to see Rowling speaking at my alma mater. But more than that, it is her message which is so compelling, and aligns exactly with two of my favorite topics here: we learn best from learning from our mistakes, and we must make the cultivation of learning
Her topic: “the benefits of failure, and the crucial importance of imagination.”
Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation, in its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power to empathize with humans whose experience we have never shared.
I was most fearful, as a student, of failure.
talent and intelligence offer no certain protection from the caprice of the fates.
the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests you are not very familiar with the experience of failure.
By all standards, I was a failure. I am not going to tell you failure is fun.
failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began directing all my energy to what really mattered to me.
rock bottom became the solid foundation on what I built my new life.
failure taught me things I could never have learned any other way.
Unlike any other creature, humans can learn and understand without having experienced, they can think themselves into others peoples places.
those who choose not to empathize enable real monsters; we collude with it by our own apathy.
what we achieve inwardly will change outer reality
we do not need magic to transform our world