How do you justify continuing to walk down a particular path with little or no indication that it will lead anywhere? At what point do you abandon your commitment to that endeavour and pursue something else? Do you simply proceed on blind faith, change your approach, or give up altogether?
To help answer these questions, we’ll take a look at a real-life example of author J.K. Rowling.
When J.K. Rowling was 29 years old, she considered herself to be the biggest failure. She was an unemployed single mother with no money, and had a mountain of unpaid bills. Her marriage had recently fallen apart and to top it all off, her mother had just passed away. Soon after that, Rowling was diagnosed with clinical depression and even contemplated suicide.
Instead of giving up, she pursued her passion for writing as a way of coping. Her big idea was to write a story about a boy wizard named Harry Potter using emotions and experiences from her life.
At a Harvard commencement speech in 2008, J.K. Rowling said,
“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. So rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
Imagine being in Rowling’s position at 29. It wouldn’t be obvious how your life would turn out. In fact, if someone told you that you would become one of the wealthiest and most successful authors of all time, you probably wouldn’t have believed them. Now take a look at your life, it can’t be much worse than Rowling’s life at 29. In fact, I’m willing to bet it is much better. Anytime you are feeling discouraged or want to give up, remember a few lessons from Rowling’s life:
1.) Never give up
2.) Always believe in yourself
3.) Your negatives can be turned into positives
So, sometimes things can go horribly wrong before they go right.
In the movie Flight of the Phoenix there is a line that I like a lot. It pertains to this topic of pursuing your dreams. The line is,
“I think a man only needs one thing in life. He just needs someone to love. If you can’t give him that, then give him something to hope for. And if you can’t give him that, just give him something to do.”
So even if you never become rich and successful at the things you love to do, there is still a reason to do it. You do it because it gives you something to do.
Article by Edward Mullen
Host of The Edward Mullen Podcast