“Very Good Lives” by J.K. Rowling is the on-paper form of her famous commencement speech at Harvard in 2008.

The famous author talks about some of the most important questions one has when they are at a turning point in their lives. 

Here are some quotes from “Very Good Lives”:

– The world the live in is not the same as in the books; we do not require magic to change it. All the power that is required to transform it is already within us.

– Life, in general, is similar to a story- it doesn’t matter how long it is, what truly matters is how good it is.

– The stage in which I reached rock bottom became the strong foundation on which I re-erected my life.

– When my greatest fear was behind me and I was still alive, it was as if I was given freedom. I still had a beautiful daughter, a good old typewriter and a great idea.

– Some degree of failure in life is unavoidable.

– It is absolutely impossible to have lived life and not to have failed at something unless you lived with such caution that you didn’t really live at all, and in that case, you would have failed at truly lining by default.

– You will never realize your true potential and the real strength of your relations until both have been tested by trying times.

– You cannot always put the blame on your parents for setting you on the wrong path. Once you are old enough to be able to think for yourself, you become responsible for yourself.

– When I was your age, about to graduate, my greatest was not poverty but failure.

– A life of poverty is a life of fear, stress, and hardship; it comes with a thousand meaningless humiliations.

– Poverty is romanticized only by the fools.

– One’s intelligence and skill cannot fully shield them from the whimsy moods of fate.

– When I failed continuously, it was like letting go of the inessential illusions. I stopped pretending that I was anyone than what I truly was,

– In a way, humans are unique because unlike the other creatures we share the planet with, human beings can understand and learn from other’s experiences; they don’t need to go through it themselves.

– The things we achieve within our inner selves have the power to change reality on the outside.

– You can touch many people’s lives by simply being yourself and existing.

– There are some people who don’t put their imagination to use at all. They sit comfortably with they have experienced and lived and never wonder what it would have been like if they had been in different circumstances.

– The truth of life is that it is complicated, difficult, and beyond the complete control of an individual. The one who accepts this with humility will be able to survive its changing waves.

– The knowledge you gain by overcoming adversity is painfully won and is worth much more than any degree or qualification you can earn.

– If you come out of your setbacks wiser and stronger in mind, then you be assured that you have learned the very important art of surviving.

– I believe that the people who choose not to use their imagination are more likely to be haunted by monsters. Often, they are the ones who are more afraid.

– In the end, it comes upon us to decide what we put into the category of failure. But more often the world is quite eager to thrust its criteria upon us.

– Imagination, in its most transformative capacity, enables us to envision us in the shoes of others whose lives we have not experienced and empathise with them.

– Imagination is the foundation of all human innovation and invention; it is the unique ability of the mind to conjure things that do not exist already.

– Even if one has never committed an evil act themselves, they inevitably attach themselves with evil through their apathy and ignorance to the plight of others.

– People who consciously choose not to be affected by the hardships of others are the ones who enable true monsters.

– Choosing to restrict your mind and living within narrow galleries is a type of agoraphobia of the mind and it brings with it its own kind of terrors.

– Your power to vote, to protest, to question the government on its inconsistencies, all these have huge impacts beyond your own homeland. This power is both your privilege and your burden. Exercise it wisely.       

– The very first step towards self improvement is to set yourself achievable goals; sky high expectations will only bring you misery.

– All of us have the power to imagine better, to make the world a better place with our imagination.

– Some people simply refuse to see inside cages and close their ears to screams, they shut their heart towards any pain and suffering that is not theirs. They very easily refuse to know and acknowledge.

– I will defend the value of bedtime stories till the end of my life. 

– If I had become successful early in life and chosen a different path, I might never found the courage and determination to succeed in the one area I actually believed I belonged to.

– When I failed, I realized what I truly was and this enabled me to put all my energy into the work that mattered to me and I was passionate about.

– Don’t assume that if you are young, well educated and gifted, that you will never experience hardships, heartbreak or adversity. These are inevitable parts of life and cannot be avoided.

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