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Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling
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“I have one last hope for you, which is something that I already had at 21. The friends with whom I sat on graduation day have been my friends for life. They are my children’s godparents, the people to whom I’ve been able to turn in times of trouble, friends who have been kind enough not to sue me when I’ve used their names for Death Eaters. At our graduation we were bound by enormous affection, by our shared experience of a time that could never come again, and, of course, by the knowledge that we held certain photographic evidence that would be exceptionally valuable if any of us ran for Prime Minister.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
I wish you all very good lives.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“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.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“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.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“Unlike any other creature on this planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced. They can think themselves into other peoples’ places. Of course, this is a power like my brand of fictional magic that is morally neutral. One might use such a power to manipulate or control, just as much as to understand or sympathize. And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or peer inside cages. They can close their hearts and minds to any suffering that does not touch them personally. They can refuse to know. I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think that they have any fewer nightmares than I do.”
JK Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“I can not remember telling my parents that I was studying classics, they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of all the subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard-put to name one less useful in Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys of an executive bathroom. Now I would like to make it clear in parenthesis, that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an expiry date for blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction. The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. What is more, I can not criticize my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor. And I quite agree with them, that it is not an ennobling experience. Poverty, entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression, It means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is something by which to pride yourself, but poverty itself, is romanticized only by fools. But I feared at your age was not poverty, but failure... Now, I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted, and well educated, that you have never known heartbreak, hardship, or heartache. Talent and intelligence, never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the fates... ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“Unlike any other creature on this planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“One of the many things I learned at the end of that Classics corridor down which I ventured at the age of 18, in search of something I could not then define, was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. That is an astonishing statement and yet proven a thousand times every day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people’s lives simply by existing.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone's total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people's lives simply by existing.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“I think the willfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because 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. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“I would like to make it clear, in parenthesis, that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an expiration date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“Choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the willfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid. What is more, those who choose not to empathize enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it through our own apathy.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“I shall never forget the African torture victim, a young man no older than I was at the time, who had become mentally ill after all he had endured in his homeland. He trembled uncontrollably as he spoke into a video camera about the brutality inflicted upon him. He was a foot taller than I was, and seemed as fragile as a child. I was given the job of escorting him back to the Underground Station afterwards, and this man whose life had been shattered by cruelty took my hand with exquisite courtesy, and wished me future happiness.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“Now you might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I personally will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. 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.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“One of the many things I learned at the end of that Classics corridor, down which I ventured at the age of eighteen in search of something I could not then define, was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: 'What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality'.
That is an astonishing statement, and yet proven a thousand times every day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people's lives simply by existing.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“What is more, those who choose not to empathize enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it through our own apathy.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“Delivering a commencement address is a great responsibility, or so I thought until I cast my mind back to my own graduation. The commencement speaker that day was the distinguished British philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock. Reflecting on her speech has helped me enormously in writing this one, because it turns out that I can't remember a single word she said. This liberating discovery enables me to proceed without any fear that I might inadvertently influence you to abandon promising careers in business, the law, or politics for the giddy delights of becoming a gay wizard.

You see? If all you remember in years to come is the 'gay wizard' joke, I've come out ahead of Baroness Mary Warnock. Achievable goals: the first step to self-improvement.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive,”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“The great majority of you belong to the world's only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way behind your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“...those who choose not to empathize enable real monsters.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“Život je jako příběh: nezáleží na tom, jak je dlouhý, ale jak je dobrý. Přeji vám všem předobrý život.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
“K přeměně světa není zapotřebí kouzel. Veškerou potřebnou sílu neseme v sobě: je to síla lepší představivosti.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination

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