Courtesy, Lisa Poole/AP.

Courtesy, Lisa Poole/AP.

As a writer, which is a difficult profession in the best of times, I’ve had my small successes and bigger failures (or, to be positive, goals that haven’t yet come to fruition). Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, I have a strong sense of perseverance, and so I carry on.

J.K. Rowling gave an uplifting speech at Harvard’s Commencement about handling failure in life, which I want to show you.  These three “Lessons” resonated most with me.

Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

Those who choose not to empathise enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy.

The last two lessons are the reasons I continue on my path of writing, and I know I’m not alone in this.  Click here for J.K. Rowling’s 10 lessons and commencement address to see what resonates in you.