How bad do you want it? Lesson from J K Rowling Author of Harry Potter

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Do you want success more than party; more than football; more than sleep?
Are you willing to give up relationships and activities that are holding you back?
Any area of your life where you want success isn’t going to happen overnight. But when you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, you’ll succeed.

  Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.
–          Benjamin Franklin

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The primary difference between successful people and failing people is how they handle fear and rejection.
–          Rich Dad

How bad do you want it

J K Rowling, a single mother, who once considered suicide, submitted her first Harry Potter novel to twelve publishing houses, all of which rejected the manuscript. A year later she was finally given the green light by an editor, because his twelve years old daughter thought the first chapter was interesting. But the editor advised Rowling to get a day job, because she had little chance of making money from children’s books.

Five years later Rowling became a multi-millionaire. Today, the Harry Potter series have sold over 400 million copies; setting the records as the fastest-selling books in history. Forbes named Rowling as the first person to become a U.S. dollar billionaire by writing books, and the 1,140th richest person in the world (2011).

In her words, “I just thought I want to write so I wrote the book. What was the worst that could happen? It could get turned down by every publisher in Britain. Big deal”

When Success happens

From her story, WHEN do you think J K Rowling became successful? Most people will say “when she received her first big cheque”. But I dare to say that she became successful the moment she resolved that nothing will stop her from writing and getting her book published.

The rest were events that her success attitude attracted.

An aspiring law student wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln for advice. Lincoln was an accomplished lawyer in his time without spending a total of one year in school; he was a self thought lawyer. Here was his reply to this aspiring lawyer.

“If you so resolutely determine to make a lawyer of yourself, then more than half of the job has already been done… Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing”

Lincoln wanted this young man to understand that his success is not determined by external response or by people’s perception of success but largely by his own determination – hunger – to succeed, no matter what.

Each time we talk about success, the first thing that pops into the head of most people is fancy cars, big houses and exotic vacations. These are good things we all want to have. But I like this definition of success by Earl Nightingale.

“Success is a progressive realisation of a worthy ideal”

What this means is that success is not ‘an event’ rather ‘a way of life’. He went on to explain that if you want to become a prosperous salesman and you are daily taking steps towards that goal and doing a job of it, you are a success. Money, fame happens when you become successful; not the other way round.

The problem is that most people go about it the wrong way. Rather than try to understand the underlying principle, they complain and hate people who they perceive as successful.

You’ve got to be hungry

Imagine if you have not eaten for three whole days. You are in a state even you cannot explain. What would you be doing by now? It’s very unlikely you’ll be reading this message right now. Your number one priority will be to satisfy your hunger. If you are in a school setting, your nose will be more sensitive than usual, as you drop by the rooms of other students to see who has something to satisfy your hunger.

That is how hungry you should be for success.


  • Ikenna Odinaka C. is a Writer, Career Development Professional, Entrepreneur, Educator and Investor. He is the founder of, and He has also co-founded other businesses in Education, technology and media industry. He is passionate about the future of work, entrepreneurship and helping young people explore opportunities to develop their financial capability. You can read his best content on and watch his insightful videos on YouTube

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