On Monday evening, I attended a reading and Q & A session by author, Elizabeth Gilbert. She is a fantastic speaker, who infuses humor, intellect and insight in what she articulates. Days after listening to her, the impact of her words lingered in my head. Although some of her advise centered on pursuing the arts, her wisdom carries power for the everyday. Here is what I learned:
1. DO NOT FOLLOW YOUR PASSION EVERYDAY. FOLLOW YOUR CURIOSITY.
Elizabeth bluntly stated that it is impossible to follow your passion everyday. Instead, she encouraged others to “follow their curiosity.” This is something you can feel everyday. By turning your head, looking around and paying attention you may discover something or nothing. Pursuing curiosity is not only practical, but possible. Her final words on the subject were simple, but memorable. “Live a curious life.”
2. BRING YOUR BEST SELF TO WORK.
An audience member asked Elizabeth about her writing rituals and whether she woke up and started writing in her pajamas. She emphatically said, “No.” Her ritual: she brings her best self to work. Even as a writer, she dresses up to write or type in her office.
3. ASK YOURSELF: WHAT DID I COME TO DO ?
If you want to write, write. If you want to ________, do ___________. You have to sit through your own boredom to determine why you have entered the world and what is you want to do.
4. FEAR AND CREATIVITY ARE CONJOINED TWINS.
You have to accept that fear will accompany every project. Having a conversation with fear and accepting that it is a part of the process, alleviates the stress of trying to wish it away. This advice applies to any kind of life uncertainty or change. Fear is an underlying element and understanding that it is a part of the road trip might help the angst of challenges that may come in any pursuit.
5. YOU DON’T NEED A PERMISSION SLIP FROM ANYONE.
Elizabeth states that she came from a family where people tended not to ask permission to pursue their interests. If you want to write, you don’t need approval from others to pursue your artistic endeavor. If you wait for permission from your mother or husband or sister, it may never come. So what or who are you waiting for?