I was talking to a young person who didn’t do as well on an exam as they wished when someone else in the conversation remembered a quote from J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books. In her 2008 commencement address at Harvard she spoke about failure and how it helped her. Here is a part of that great speech,
“Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.
The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”