Have I ever mentioned how much I admire J. K. Rowling? Really. There are people in this world I cheer for; people whose success I do not envy; people whose wealth and happiness is entirely deserved–all because those people are fundamentally good: not perfect, not smug, self-righteous, or holier-than-thou, just good; men and women who understand that our lives are full of wonderful possibilities and potential, but who also understand that our success in living those lives depends on two things: our willingness to accept responsibility for our own actions, and our acknowledgement that, for good and ill, what we do in this life is connected to the other lives around us. Rowling is one of those people I cheer for, a woman I support with my whole heart. Her 2008 Commencement address at Harvard is a work of compassionate genius, a distillation of everything she’s learned over many, many years of complete failure and astounding success.
If you wish to be successful, if you wish to be happy, if you wish to live a good life, then read these words, and let them guide you the rest of your way.