Wisdom//

J.K. Rowling Says 1 Decision Separates People Who Achieve Success From Those Who Only Dream

According to 'Harry Potter' author J.K. Rowling, it's a simple decision that makes all the difference.

audioundwerbung/Getty Images
audioundwerbung/Getty Images

Before she “became” J.K. Rowling, Joanne Rowling was an unemployed single mother. She applied for welfare benefits to help take care of her 1-year-old daughter. She was clinically depressed and occasionally contemplated suicide.  

In her own words, she considered herself to be “poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.”

Rowling later looked back on that time in her life and said she was “the biggest failure I knew.”

During that same time frame, though, she finally finished her first novel. She submitted it to publishers. Twelve rejected it. The thirteenth publisher took a chance on her.

Just like she had taken a chance on herself.

And now over 500 million copies of J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series have been sold, making it the all-time bestselling book series. On its own, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has sold more than 120 million copies. The Harry Potter movies currently are the highest-grossing film series ever.

And J.K. Rowling is the first author to earn more than $1 billion. This year alone she earned an estimated $54 million from books, movies, theme parks, and stage productions.

What decision did she make that changed her life? According to Rowling

“I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other 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.

“I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter, and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

Whenever you read a story about successful people, and it’s easy to think they possess some intangible something — talent, ideas, skills, creativity, etc. — that you do not.

But that’s almost never the case. While it’s easy to look back on a path to success and assume that every vision was clear, every plan was perfect, every step was executed flawlessly, and tremendous success was a foregone conclusion… it wasn’t.

Success is never assured. Only when you look back does it appear that way.

If you’re willing to work hard, persevere, and take a chance on yourself, who you are is more than enough. Even if you’re on the extreme downside of advantage. Even if you feel you have nothing going for you. You no longer have to wait — to be accepted, to be promoted, to be selected, to somehow be “discovered.” 

Not anymore.

Access is nearly unlimited; you can connect with almost anyone through social media. You can start your own business. Publish your own work. Distribute your own music. Create your own products. Attract your own funding.

You can do almost anything you want — and you don’t need to wait for someone else to discover your talents.

The only thing holding you back is you… and your willingness to try.

And while you may not become the next J.K. Rowling, that’s okay. 

You can be the first you.

You should be the first you.

Originally published on Inc.

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Self-actualization, J. K. Rowling style

by Raisa Reyes
Community//

How J.K. Rowling Can Magically Make Anti-Semitism Go Away

by Josia Nakash
Community//

5 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE AFTER A FAILURE

by Gideon A Obonugo

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.