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Rowling’s Fringe Benefits of Failure

The fringe benefits of failure has always been a source of inspiration, hope and belief that if you want something to work out and are ready to give in all you got, then it will eventually work out for sure.

But times have changed since the last time I read the essay. I find her as mystical as her characters that my generation grew up with, the writer of the brilliant series of ‘Harry Potter’, J K Rowling. I say the times have changes because the last time I read it, I was at a 9-to-5 job, frustrated out of the tasteless work I was doing, and completely oblivious to the fact that things were about to get better. I guess, we’re always oblivious. I’m sure, things ahead will work out for the best if I’m honest towards my work.

Back then when I read this beautiful lecture that Rowling gave at Harvard, it made me feel so weak. Not because, I couldn’t do what she’s done, but I was looking at myself, and I knew what I had to do but lacked the courage to take a step forward.

I always felt that when I found my calling, the one I was sent here to do, I would give away everything else and jump into the unknown to find it. Here, I was, knowing photography is what I wanted to do and learn the art, but I couldn’t let go of my work and go do it! That was not a very comfortable phase in my life.

Not that I couldn’t get things done where in was working, I was in fact doing a really good job, but every morning when I woke up, the question stared my face every time. I kept asking myself what’s the purpose of all this. Now, don’t misunderstand me for a fool who take risks that are way beyond human comprehension. I was determined that I would make a change and for the same, there had to be a plan.

Now, the funny thing about a plan is, it’s execution. More often than not, what seems like a brilliant plan up in your mind, often comes short outside it. So, there were changes, improvisations and above all, the one thing that always kills joy, the wait!

Being patient is not my thing. Getting-panic-attacks-out-of-excitement-and-fear, that’s more like it!

But then, things slowly started to fall in their place and one fine day I was all assured that I should quit the 9-to-5, and do something to move towards the final destination. Now, the funny thing about this is, is that I still don’t know what the final destination is, but I guess that’s just the part of the journey.

I can’t tell the difference between a weekday and the weekend anymore. It’s either a time when I’m working, or when I’m not, so it’s funny, weird and complicated, all at the same time!

I hope years and years later, I’ll look at this and smile, be proud if the fact that I tried. Success, or not, this will surely be a journey to remember. And success, and/or failure is again, relative if you ask me. Ask me? Yeah, please do.

Give the essay a read here or play this YouTube video from the graduation ceremony.

There are indeed many benefits of failure. I’m not sure if I’ll have the fortune or misfortune of finding every single one of ’em, but I’m sure every single one would teach me things that I’ve not known before and would make every moment a little more special. There are indeed so many fringe benefits of failure.

I end this from an excerpt from her speech which I often read, “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.”

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