David M. Benett—Lumos/Getty Images
July 29, 2016 4:16 PM EDT

From businessmen in first class to first graders reading by flashlight, there was a time not too long ago when J.K. Rowling, who turns 51 on Sunday, had everyone and their mother devouring the stories about a wizarding world she dreamed up on the back of diner napkins.

She’s responsible for many of literature’s most beloved characters, and she’s inspired a generation to become lifelong readers, with many still returning to her words for inspiration. Let’s celebrate the birthday of the author who made our Muggle lives a little more magical with 10 of her best quotes:

1. On the future: We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better. (via ‘The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination‘)

2. On self: “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” (Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

3. On failure: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.” (via ‘The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination‘)

4. On values: “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” (Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

5. On advice to her younger self: “So given a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two.” (via ‘The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination‘)

6. On happiness: “If someone asked for my recipe for happiness, step one would be finding out what you love doing most in the world and step two would be finding someone to pay you to do it.” (via Amazon)

7. On outlook: “The world is full of wonderful things you haven’t seen yet. Don’t ever give up on the chance of seeing them.” (via Twitter)

8. On life: “Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the Fates.” (via ‘The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination‘)

9. On courage: “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” (Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

10. On depression: “I have never been remotely ashamed of having been depressed. Never. What’s to be ashamed of? I went through a really rough time and I am quite proud that I got out of that.” (via USA Today)

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