“If something is meant for you, you will be notified — in the meantime just do and just be.” Sounds pretty easy right? This is what Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, shared during Siegfried’s latest My Journey® event when talking about purpose anxiety. Purpose anxiety is the idea that everyone has a secret gift, and that gift should then be monetized, and that that gift should save the world. That might sound familiar. Your subconscious may have told you this before. It’s natural to want to stand out from the crowd or be that one special person with an extremely niche talent.
What’s also natural is to panic when hearing this. Making a living and saving the world with your passion is a lot of weight to give to something you should be enjoying. It’s easy to immediately feel like a failure when hearing about someone else’s success story. In Gilbert’s latest book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, she tackles the fear that comes with wanting to be a creative person.
Creativity and fear
Being a creative person doesn’t mean you have to be an artist. You can show your creativity through simple things you enjoy such as collecting music, reading books, or going to plays. It’s all about enjoying what you’re interested in and exploring it further. But with exploration also comes the unknown, and unfamiliar experiences can spook anyone.
Gilbert explains that there is no creativity without fear, but rather they always coincide. Just the word creativity implies doing something new and unknown. As humans, we are naturally creative, but also naturally very anxious at times. Letting fear join you for the ride makes things a lot easier. “It seems to me that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes, too.”
Pushing fear away or letting it sit in the driver’s seat is where things get messy. Fear stifles creativity and stops true creative potential. There must be a balance. Invite fear along for the road trip, but don’t let it choose the music.
Curiosity and courage
When trying to balance fear and creativity, look towards curiosity. With what Gilbert calls “following the breadcrumbs of curiosity” a person can find what truly makes their heart sing. If you follow your intuition of what interests you, you’ll be sure to find some magic at the end of the trail. Try joining a Facebook group or a zoom class with your favorite hobbies to tap into the local scene of whatever you are interested in. There are always opportunities to learn more if you trust in the curiosity that has been given to you.
And with curiosity comes courage. Gilbert asks, “Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” Courage is all about doing what is best for you. The more you do it, the more naturally it will come to you. Gilbert advises her readers to stop asking for permission to live a creative life and to just do it! You can proudly define yourself as an artist, entrepreneur, or simply as a creative individual. By declaring who you are as a person, you give yourself more power to be that person.
Ideas and inspiration
Gilbert’s most memorable story talks about ideas. She explains ideas as if they have their own life. An idea has the ability to come and go from person to person, and whoever the idea is meant for, will be. These ideas, according to gilbert, are a collaboration between the universe and the given person. She tells a story of how she came up with a very specific idea for a book, and then her friend, another author, had that same idea about a year later after she had given up on it.
Have you ever seen a creative person “in the zone?” That’s where the real magic happens. To really love what you do, you have to be in love with the process. “Do whatever brings you to life, then follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” Doing so will allow you to know inspiration intimately.
Creativity, fear, curiosity, courage, ideas, and inspiration are all overused buzzwords, but understanding them is essential to living an interesting and amplified life. In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book you will get to know each of these topics personally through each of her thrilling stories. This book is perfect for anyone looking to expand their creativity in any way shape or form.