J.K Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, spoke to the graduating class of Harvard in June 2008. She didn’t talk about success. She talked about failures. Her own in particular. I absolutely love her quote.
“You might never fail on the scale I did,” Rowling told that privileged audience. “But 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.
She should know. The author didn’t magically become richer than the Queen of England overnight. Penniless, recently divorced, and raising a child on her own, she wrote the first Harry Potter book on an old manual typewriter.
Twelve publishers rejected the manuscript! A year later she was given the green light by Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury, who agreed to publish the book but insisted she get a day job cause there was no money in children’s books.
What if she stopped at the first rejection? The fifth? Or the tenth?
The measure of success can be shown by how many times someone keeps going despite hearing only no.