If you watch enough commencement speeches, if you gather the collective wisdom of people who "have made it" in life, you start to see a trend. The key to life isn't being smarter than the rest, though that doesn't hurt. The key is resilience -- your ability to deal with inevitable failures, learn from your mistakes, dust yourself off emotionally, physically or financially, and then move forward. It's easier said than done, but essential. J.K. Rowling, who went from homelessness to writing Harry Potter, delivered that message at Harvard several years ago. Now Oprah Winfrey, who emerged from the Jim Crow South to become America's most enduring TV personality, returns to Harvard to tell students her version of that story:
There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction. Now, when you're down there in the hole, it looks like failure. ... Give yourself time to mourn what you think you may have lost, but then here's the key: Learn from every mistake because every experience, encounter and particularly your mistakes are there to teach you and force you into being more who you are. And then figure out what is the next right move. And the key to life is to develop an internal moral, emotional GPS that can tell you which way to go.
For more insights into constructively managing failure, you can visit these talks below:
via Harvard Gazette