It’s easy to think that success comes with luck—and it does, to a degree.

Some of the most famous films, books, art pieces are not the best in history, but they landed just right in their time and had enough quality to endure.

The classic example of “lucky” success is J.K. Rowling, author of the popular Harry Potter series. In 2004 Forbes reported she had a net worth of $1 billion, making her the most successful author of all time.

Most of us have probably heard her success story: British woman on food stamps receives inspiration on a train and pens one of the most successful books of all time.

And it’s no wonder we’ve all heard it: it’s marketable, it’s moving, and it’s a real-life rags-to-riches story.

What I want to dive into here today is the fact that her success was also the result of two things: passion and persistence.


Rowling wanted to be a writer ever since she’d heard there was such a thing (according to this video). It was a dream that was in her—a passion locked up in her soul that had to emerge.

When she was only four, before she could read, she copied down a story out of a book, just copying each letter. She remembers physically enjoying the process of writing, even though she at that time didn’t even know what she was writing.

She never wanted to be anything but a writer, she says later in that same video.

At age six Rowling wrote a little book about a rabbit with measles. Common thing for a little kid to do—I’ve done similar things myself, writing boring little stories about going to NASCAR races and eating all the snacks I wanted.

But the next bit is remarkable.

When Rowling’s mother praised her for her little rabbit story, the six-year-old replied “Well get it published then.” (

She was willing to dream big—absurd, even. She knew what she wanted—to be a professional writer—and even from a young age, and she knew what it took to get there—write a book and “get it published.”

Do you know what you want? Do you know the dream in you that must come out?

It’ll take guts to pursue it, but I think that you can make it happen.

Rowling knew what she

wanted and knew what

it took to get there.


In the early 90s, Rowling was married to an abusive man in Portugal. They had a daughter together.

When she left Portugal and her husband behind, Rowling had little money or family support. Her sister had been recently married so Rowling didn’t want to burden her by staying at her place.

Rowling applied for government assistance and rented a mouse-infested flat, caring for her young daughter while drafting Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Despite being very poor, Rowling said that her situation freed her to focus on writing.

Many in her situation would put the dream aside and start focusing on bettering their lives: finding a good job, getting daycare for their kid, etc.

Rowling knew you don’t have to have a lot of time or money to pursue your dream—you just need persistence.

The key is getting down to business and doing something now, not waiting till things get better.

By working on your dream even when you don’t have much, eventually, your hard work will pay off.

Rowling’s sure did.

After help from generous people and some job changes, Rowling got her book picked up by a literary agent, who shopped it to twelve publishers; all of whom rejected the manuscript.

Finally the book was bought by Bloomsbury Press and did very well, evolving into a seven-book series and eight-movie franchise and making J.K. Rowling the wealthiest author in the world (according to The Scotsman).


Rowling succeeded because she was willing to put in the work to make her dream a reality. While her success is partly due to luck as with every success, the principles of passion plus persistence are essential to living out a sustainable dream.

You have a dream, and it’s to make money doing what you love.

Like Rowling, if you give yourself to passion with hard-working persistence, you’ll make your dream a reality.

What’s your dream? What’s something you could do this week to take a step toward it?

Ready to kindle your fantastic destiny?

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