On this beautiful rainy morning, as we eagerly await the the SSC results for 2011, I would like to share with my precious daughter and everybody to whom these results matter, a few excerpts from the following:
J.K. Rowling, author of the best-selling Harry Potter book series, delivered her Commencement Address, "The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and The Importance of Imagination," at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association on 5th June 2008.
'I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that could never pay a mortgage, or secure a pension'.
'Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above rubies'.
'You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. 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'.
'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 that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared'.
'Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the Fates'.
'As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters'.
'If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better. 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'.
'Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality'.
'The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned'.
I am unable to quote this speech in its entirety for obvious reasons, but I recommend to google it and read. Its relevant for today's youth as well as the ones graduated many moons ago.
Don't be surprised if you find me walking funnily now, just a few hours before the results, as my fingers and toes are crossed.