Fear, Failure & Imagination

What if your deepest fears come true? What if you fail? What happens then? What happens next?

What is one thing that can save you when your sanity suffers a blow from too much of reality and the world?

This time, I’ll first let you do more listening and watching before reading lots of words.

The following is the speech J.K. Rowling delivered atย Harvard University Commencement on June 5, 2008. Now, it doesn’t matter if you are a Harry Potter fan or not. Because this speech is not about the series but about herself as a human failing and surviving in the real world. I find it extremely relevant to us, youths and grown-ups alike, especially in this age where we have learned to fear failure and scorn imagination.

It is my great honor to share with you this speech.

Please enjoy! =)

So many things she said ring so many bells.

First, about fear and failure. I have learned, in the years that I have lived, that it’s better to list out your fears, acknowledge and face them, rather than running away from them. Because if you do the latter, you’ll end up running away from them your entire life, and one day, they will get you, still. And if your fears come true and you fail, be glad. After the blow, if you don’t die, you will begin to see that since your fears have been realized, you have nothing left to be afraid of. In other words, you become fearless. Dangerous realization, but a realization that will free up all the boundaries you have built in your life. I have failed and had my fears came true, and after that, I was overwhelmedย by the powerful realization and the invincible feeling that ran through my senses.

Failure gives courage. Failure gives power. Failure gives wisdom.

Why are we afraid of failing in the first place really! =)

Second, imagination. For some of us, imagination = day-dreaming = dreams = uselessness. Live in the world, be real. Honestly, I used to find it hard sometimes to defend the power of imagination in such a practical world. Here, J.K. Rowling puts it nicely into an explanation. Imagination is the mental and emotional power, without either of which we would not be fully humans. How can we invent things without imagining? Empathy.ย How can we appreciate differences between you and me without being able to stand in each other’s shoes?

How can we love without understanding each other?

Have your fears handy. When they inevitably tap on your shoulder, welcome them. Let them fail you. Emerge stronger, wiser, and invincible. Even if you are to fail again, you are no longer scared. And most importantly, imagine, no limit bounds you.


13th December 2011


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