There are so many ways to perceive success these days, especially with social media.
How many views did a blog post or article get?
How many likes?
How many shares?
Then, when a book is published there is a whole other hierarchy of acclaim beyond actual sales.
Who blurbed it?
Who reviewed it? Good reviews? Bad reviews?
How many people showed up for the reading?
What’s its ranking on amazon?
After the astounding success of “Eat,Pray, Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert found herself catapulted into a foreign yet familiar place. The breadth and depth of this success was new, but the feelings it brought were familiar, reminding her of the broke diner waitress she used to be who’d collected rejections for 6 years.
In this brief yet inspiring new TED Talk, Gilbert reflects on the similarities between great success and great failure and how to navigate the disorienting, choppy waters of both.
Gilbert never fails to inspire and motivate me. I’ve watched her talk on creativity many, many times. I’ve printed out her thoughts on writing. Her words of wisdom really feel wise to me. Wisdom born out of her hard work, her struggles with success and failure, her efforts to survive both, to allow her creativity to survive both.
She comes at writing in a very mindful way—with reverence and devotion.
She is mindful of the games our minds play.
She is mindful of success.
Mindful of failure.
Mindful that creativity requires care and attention.
Mindful that it’s about the work. About showing up to the work.
Creativity seems to be both unbearably fragile and staggeringly strong and she honors that. She makes me want to honor that in myself.
She inspires me to show up to my work. To the page. To the unknown.
She inspires me to write out of sheer devotion to the art and craft.
She reassures me that this devotion will keep me “safe from the random hurricaines of outcome” and that safety is what allows me to keep showing up, pouring my words onto the page, sending them out into the world.
It allows me to let them go, succeeding or failing, while I continue to write.
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Editor: Renée Picard