What We Can Learn from J.K. Rowling’s Turbulent Life

Embracing and overcoming the challenges of life leads to success, of which J.K. Rowling is the living proof. But she’s not the only one…

In my book, Love Your Obstacles, I wrote:

“… life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% of what you do with it.”

This refers to your ability to make choices and deal with the obstacles that life throws at you. Having lost my parents at a very young age, I realised that early on in my life.

Despite overpowering grief, I accepted the fact that my parents were gone. More importantly, I understood that it was time to regroup and fight to become the best version of myself. And that was when I decided to make school my priority.

As the years went by, I had to face more challenges. But knowing what I’ve overcome only made me more powerful and capable of tackling anything.

And in many ways, everything J.K. Rowling went through reminded me of my path to success. I’d like to share her story and teachings with you.

From Welfare to One of the Most Famous Authors in the World

Rowling was 25 when her mother died, way before she became a renowned author. At the time, she was working at Amnesty International as a secretary. It was there that she developed the story for the Harry Potter series.

But the office work didn’t fit her.

Longing for something else, Rowling relocated to Portugal where she taught English. She got married there and had her daughter, though the marriage didn’t last.

Through it all, Rowling kept writing. By the time she returned to England, she had a suitcase full of stories for the Harry Potter series.

Rowling didn’t have a job when she got back home and had to go on welfare as a result. She kept up with her writing at a local cafe, usually with her baby by her side.

The first Harry Potter book came out in 1997. In the meantime, Rowling battled depression and more than a few rejections of her manuscript.

Two years after publication, the book was a certified smash hit. All the awards and public acclaim followed.

That empowered Rowling to find ways to help those in a similar situation. She became a beacon of inspiration for many women pursuing their dreams.

What lessons can you learn from Rowling? Let’s see.

The Lessons

#1 – “Poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.”

Some people believe poverty is somehow linked to spirituality.

That’s hogwash, perhaps half-truth at best.

At Rowling’s lowest point in life, she could have become despondent. But she didn’t.

For a change, how about romanticising a life of abundance and wealth instead? Just be careful, as wealth by itself means little if you don’t have a clear sense of purpose in your life.

It’s essential to understand how to bring forth your talents in a way that benefits others. It will make you more satisfied and grateful for what you have when you know that you’re making a meaningful impact on the planet.

#2 – “The moment you’re old enough to take the wheel, the responsibility lies with you.”

Blaming others for your own failure will lead you nowhere.

Assigning blame is natural and doesn’t make you less intelligent or less capable of doing great things. But as an intelligent person, you should know when it’s time to take the reins and steer your life in the right direction.

You’re the person in charge of where and how you move in life.

Your starting position could be worse than somebody else’s. You may not be getting sufficient support from your family and friends. But none of that really matters.

Take Rowling’s advice and understand that you’re driving now. You’re in control and have the strength to pursue whatever most important to you.

Soon enough, you’ll be surprised to see how far along you’ve moved towards your dreams. When that happens, keep holding on to the wheel and don’t let go of it.

#3 – “I began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.”

This lesson of Rowling’s ties back to knowing your goals and purpose. So take a step back and think carefully about what matters most to you.

As you do that, you want to be honest and make sure you aren’t pretending to be someone else. It’s not the end of the world if it turns out that you’re trying to succeed in someone else’s shoes.

As long you come to realise that in time, it will help you find what’s truly most important to you.

You can then focus all your time, energy, and talent on pursuing that.

Going back to Rowling’s life, she knew that finishing her book was most important. So she got everything else out of the way and worked fervently on her book.

The rest is, as they say, history.

#4 – “Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the fates.”

You are smart and in possession of a university degree… That’s great, but all the knowledge and wits in the world won’t completely guard you against the unpredictability of life.

The point is that your life isn’t the same as your qualifications.

While qualifications may give you the upper hand, it won’t always be sunshine and roses.

Whenever you run into a challenge, accept it and find the best way to overcome it. That’s just how life works – for you, Rowling, and everybody else in the world.

Rather than giving up, you can choose to keep moving and do everything in your power to achieve your life goals.

Arm Your Magic Wand

There’s so much that you can achieve in life as long as you don’t wallow in life’s challenges.

Yes, sometimes it can get real tough. You may feel as if someone suddenly pulled a rug out from under you. What do you do then?

You spring back to your feet, look around, and move on.

Now, that might sound like wishful thinking, but not exactly.

Remember that you’re the one on the wheel. The knowledge that you’re responsible for your own success is so empowering.

It pushes you to use all your talents and knowhow to reach your goals. It can even transcend your personal success.

As a person who knows what matters most and how to get it, you’ll be inspiring others to do the same. Your own strength may just drive their motivation to be the best they can be.

Pursuing your dreams and goals is a journey that you don’t have to navigate alone. Get in touch and see how I can be of help.