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Elizabeth Gilbert on Jackhammers and Hummingbirds and Creative Life

Elizabeth Gilbert

“Follow your bliss.” Joseph Campbell

That kind of advice continues to be part of what many coaches teach to realize success and fulfillment in life.

But does “Find your passion” work for everyone?

In an interview for Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday, writer Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this pursuit.

The caption for the video notes:

“Eat, Pray, Love is a memoir of Elizabeth Gilbert’s yearlong quest around the world, searching for her true self. It is her hero’s journey, a narrative pattern identified by author Joseph Campbell, who said that the protagonists in so many of our stories and myths follow the same steps to complete their journeys.

“One step in the hero’s journey is to answer the call. If you’re ready to find your calling, get ready, Elizabeth says. “It is not a day at the beach. … Expect to be challenged.”

Video: Elizabeth Gilbert on Finding Your Passion, SuperSoul Sunday, Oprah Winfrey Network.

But in a more recent SuperSoul Sunday presentation, she talks about coming to realize there are two kinds of people: ‘Jackhammers’ like herself who find and follow a distinct life passion, and ‘Hummingbirds’ who follow a very different course.

The video is: “Writer Elizabeth Gilbert: Flight of the Hummingbird – The Curiosity Driven Life” – and the caption says: “Elizabeth takes us on a curious flight explaining why sometimes not having a passion can lead to an even more fulfilling life.”

Here is an audio excerpt:

Gilbert’s description of ‘Hummingbirds’ sounds like essentially what Barbara Sher identifies as ‘Scanners’ and Emilie Wapnick as ‘Multipotentialites.’

Here are a couple of my related articles:

Are you a scanner personality? Maybe all you need is a good enough job. – Barbara Sher writes about and leads retreats for Scanners – “also known as renaissance men and women, eclectic experts, happy amateurs and delighted dilettantes.”

Interested In So Many Things: Creative and Multitalented  – Creative people are complex and multitalented. Along with the benefits of many abilities and passions, there are challenges in realizing so many interests. In her TED Talk, writer and entrepreneur Emilie Wapnick says: “I’m someone who’s never been able to answer the question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ See, the problem wasn’t that I didn’t have any interests — it’s that I had too many.”

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Dorothy Parker“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” Dorothy Parker

Elizabeth Gilbert thinks this is “One of the greatest quotes on creativity ever…”

She continues in a post of hers on the topic of passion versus curiosity: “I am a big advocate for the pursuit of curiosity.

“We are constantly being told to pursue our passions in life, but there are times when passion is a TALL ORDER, and really hard to reach…”

Gilbert adds, “For me, a lifetime devoted to creativity is nothing but a scavenger hunt — where each successive clue is another tiny little hit of curiosity. Pick each one up, unfold it, see where it leads you next.”

Read more in my post Be More Creative: Follow Curiosity, Don’t Worry So Much About Passion.

Book: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.

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Here is a brief intro video about her online Creativity Workshop

In a Facebook post, Elizabeth Gilbert comments about her online class:

“Acumen is a not-for-profit online school for social change, working to support people who are tackling problems of poverty and injustice around the world.

“My Creativity Workshop is part of a new series of master classes built with amazing thought leaders like Seth Godin, and it also serves as a fundraiser for +Acumen.”

Learn more at the course site:
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Creativity Workshop

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Elizabeth Gilbert on Jackhammers and Hummingbirds and Creative Life

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2016). Elizabeth Gilbert on Jackhammers and Hummingbirds and Creative Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 18, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/creative-mind/2015/11/elizabeth-gilbert-on-jackhammers-and-hummingbirds-and-creative-life/

 

Last updated: 18 Apr 2016
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