J. K. Rowling on Courage

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, from here and here

This comes from Rowling’s commencement address at Harvard University in 2008. She doesn’t specifically mention courage, but it’s unavoidable when you read her statement carefully. In life, she says, we fail, or we default. Every time we fail, we have the choice again: get up and fail again, or stay down and default.

Getting up instead of defaulting, risking another failure, takes courage. But if we fail enough, if we try enough, eventually we will find success. And even if we don’t–we didn’t go down by default.

Most of us can’t be J. K. Rowling. But we can be our best selves. The courage to fail again and again and get back up again and again is a critical quality for anyone who wants to attain that lofty goal.

I've been a soldier, a dreamer, a working stiff, a leader. A husband, father, example (good and otherwise), and now a survivor. I write about courage, because courage is what enables us to accomplish the impossible. If you draw breath, I love you. If you love in whatever way seems best to you and want others to love in whatever way seems best to them, I am your ally. If you believe someone is less than you because they do not love the way you do, I oppose you. If you see someone as a threat to be abused or destroyed merely because they do not look like you, or love like you, or worship like you, I am your enemy. I am a joyful and courageous man. And I stand with you who love.