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Confessions of a Realistic Pollyanna

Here's to failure

The headline kind of shook me. JK Rowling, the famous author of the Harry Potter series, whose books have sold in the 100's of millions, said that she was the biggest failure she knew. You see life was not always easy for her. Her marriage ended very quickly. She was left with a child. She was poor. She was in danger of losing her house. She struggled each and every day and there seemed to be no way of getting out of her troubles.

In the midst of that situation, it would have been easy for her to give up. Life is too hard. She might have thought that she would always be poor. She might have thought that she would never be able to provide for her daughter. She might have thought that she would always be a nobody. She might have thought that failure would always rule her life. But in the midst of all of these troubles, Rowling decided that she would write a book. And Harry Potter was born. Soon she was one of the richest women in England. From her trials and tribulations, Rowling found her voice.

From her story, I am not naive enough to think that failure is wonderful thing. It's not. Failing is hard. Broken relationships effect us deeply. Poverty is not fun. And no, just because we try hard does not mean that we are going to be a success. Not every story has a fairy tale ending where everyone lives happily ever after. Unfortunately stories like Rowling's are the rare exception. Sometimes it is next to impossible to find the silver lining in the clouds.

But what is true from JK Rowling's story is that it is up to us if we let our failings dictate who we are and what we will become. Now some people are just born lucky. They have a silver spoon in their mouth from the day they are born. Other people though are born unlucky. They face hardships, they struggle for food, for shelter, for education and for their rights. If you are beset by many failings and hardships, you can give up. You can consider yourself a failure. And that is not good. As soon as you consider yourself a failure, you are bound to be a failure. As soon as you give up hope, there is no chance that things will change for the good.

Rather, when one is faced with setback after setback, one can try to move forward. One can dream. One can hope. Such optimistic thinking rarely produces life changing results. It is hard to change one's circumstances. Stories like Rowling's demonstrate that it is possible to re-direct one's life course. Not all who struggle and fail will win the lottery, write a best selling novel, discover the next best must have gadget, be discovered at a drug store and become a Hollywood star. But if we face each day with a positive attitude, no matter what, there is a chance that things will improve. As long as we don't let failures define who we are, failing can be a wonderful thing. Blessings.

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