Christian Long

JK Rowling: The Fringe Benefits of Failure

In TED Talks on May 24, 2010 at 8:13 am

Extra credit reflection by EDWARD C.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

JK Rowling: The Fringe Benefits of Failure

Pt. 1:

Pt. 2:

Failure is the key to success. Rowling, like many other celebrities have had a live beneath what the media exposes. Like many unfortunate people Rowling has had her fair share of impoverishment. While raised in a poor family she found her passion in writing. Although her parents wanted her to pursue a subject in which they believed would be more profitable, she continued studying the subject of creative writing. Like her parents expected, it did not bring her any profit at her begging years of writing. In fact it left her worse off than ever. She was soon divorced and left to raise a child all by herself. But in a way this failure of success is what made her so successful in the future. Her impoverished life period exposed who her real friends where, what was of real importance, and a view of the horrors of life. Yet throughout all the disadvantages she was still alive. This led her to believe rock bottom is where she is going to start over and build a new life.

Through imagination, dedication, and a little bit of luck, Rowling is the person we know today. But she gives us more than magical books for us to get lost in. she gives us a look into the lives that are less fortunate. She gives us failure. But not a bad failure that many people despise. Instead a failure that gives us experience, something that exams can never teach us. We may not achieve failure at such levels as she had experienced at age 21, when she was borderline homeless, but we all achieve some level of failure. What we fail at is not important, rather how we react to our failure is more important. We can either groan at our failing grade or we can better our selves at the subject and improve on the next test.

In her talk Rowling has not only informed us on how important failure is to success but how fortunate we are compared to the so many people out there. She describes one of her first day jobs in a way that sent chills down my spine. She worked in a department that researched Africa. Day after day she read letters that were written hastily by underprivileged people who were being suppressed by their own government. These people were risking imprisonment just by writing these letters at the very least. Rowling describes one particular case of an African victim whose experience changed Rowling’s life forever. He had exposed his countries exploitations at a cost of losing his mother. The very scream from his mouth when he was informed that his mother was executed was a sound that no one in his or her right mind would ever forget. Yet this is just one out of many cases. There are millions more. Such examples show how our worst failures can already be some ones best success.


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