Motivational Speech on Success: J.K. Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech in 2008

“As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters”

Motivational speech on success by J.K. Rowling during the commencement of Harvard’s students in 2008 told us about why failures can give us more ammunition to succeed in our life and how we can make our life better by also helping what we can to those who are in need of it.

Personally, I always admire J.K. Rowling for her personality and determination and those characteristics are well illustrated in this speech of her. It is one of the most famous commencement speeches which give us positive perspective about our life and our world. When she gave something to think about for the Harvard graduates years ago, she spoke about life wisdom which is important for every person’s life.

One of the main theme in the motivational speech on success brought by her is about failure. J.K. Rowling says about how we should never fear of failure and embrace ourselves facing it. It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might not have lived at all which by detault is failure itself. What is the most important when we face failure is that we learned our lesson from it and get back up to continue again. We might fail multiple times but as long as we find our determination to get up again and always work towards our goal, then nothing can stop us to achieve the result that we want.

The other theme of the speech is about how we should learn to help others in need. We might have a life in which we have all the good things and it is important that we share some of it to those who are less fortunate than us so that they can also feel some happiness and be relieved from some of their burden. J.K. Rowling tells us a story in the speech about the time when she worked at Amnesty International's headquarters in London and she felt moved by the sufferings of the victims from a country with totalitarian regimes. She feels that what the staffs in the Amnesty International's headquarters do everyday is very important because they try to help those victims, those people who probably they have not met before. It is a very important sign of the goodness of human nature and I think it is very important that we always show those kind of empathy too in our everyday life to help making the world becoming a better place for those who suffer.

Read also: Motivational Speech on Success: Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

The message in her motivational speech on success, in short summary, was that we should not put blame of our failures to anyone but ourselves, and the most important part from those failures is what the lesson which we can extract and apply to our lives from those failures. Failures can teach us so many things in which we can make the base of to accelerate ourselves to the success we defined in our life. In this speech, she also gave encouragement to us to help the others as much as we can because what we do to those who are in need of help will determine what meaning that we give to our world and how much positive impact our life is to those who are around us. Life is better if we realize that success is personal responsibility and when we succeed, we should never forget to help others so we can make the world a much better place to live in for everyone, without exception.

You can view the text and video of the speech in full here.

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