Author J.K. Rowling has made a pretty fortune spinning out stories about a boy wizard called Harry Potter. She spoke to Harvard University students this week on the lessons she has learnt from her personal journey from poverty to wealthy stardom.
Rowling said that life had taught her two important things—the unexpected benefits of failure and the importance of imagination. Failure can focus the mind, she said. “So, why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential.”
And what about imagination? It is “not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore, the fount of all invention and innovation...it is (also) the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.”
We wonder where India stands as a nation in terms of its tolerance of failure and celebration of imagination. The evidence from public and corporate life is not too good. It’ll need more than Harry Potter to change this.