Genius and Creativity

I have listened to this talk by writer Elizabeth Gilbert many times.  I love her brilliant reflection on not being afraid to do the work you believe you were put here on earth to do – whether you’ve published nothing and are afraid to never succeed, or whether you’ve published a huge best seller and are afraid of never doing anything worthwhile again.

Are creativity and suffering truly linked? Why do we find it so easy to believe that artists must suffer? She examines the difference between being a genius and having a genius, and discusses the ways that creative people can get a certain distance from their work that allows them to be less afraid.

“And what I have to, sort of keep telling myself when I get really psyched out about that, is, don’t be afraid. Don’t be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance. If the divine, cockeyed genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed, for just one moment through your efforts, then “Olé!” And if not, do your dance anyhow.” (Elizabeth Gilbert, 2009)

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