Take Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice. Follow your curiosity instead!
Have you ever felt frustrated when well-intentioned people advised you to just follow your passion? I have. The problem with this advice is that you may not know what your passion is!
Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours considering myriad possibilities of what my true passion might be. I’d brainstorm lots of options, but I carried this strategy so far, it actually backfired! It left me feeling overwhelmed, confused and stuck about what to do next.
If only I had a bone-deep certainty of the path I was meant to follow….
Author Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic) has known from childhood that she was born to be a writer. The drive to get her words and stories into the world has been her lifelong passion.
What an inspiring message to share with others, she thought. So Elizabeth went on the speaking circuit, believing she was performing a public service by urging people to follow their passion.
Until someone told her she wasn’t.
One night after delivering a talk in Australia, Elizabeth decided to check her Facebook page. She was shocked by a comment written there by a woman who’d attended her talk. Here is a slightly paraphrased summary of the message:
Because of what you said up there on stage last night, I’ve never felt worse about myself than I feel at this moment. You spent the last 2 hours telling me to follow my passion. I DON’T have one! You just made me feel like the biggest loser in the world.
Bravo to Elizabeth Gilbert for being brave enough to take in this feedback with an open mind.
She was willing to question her assumptions and realized, hers was not the only way. In a subsequent talk, she reflected that there are two kinds of people. Jackhammers like her who have an overwhelming passion and pursue it relentlessly. And hummingbirds, who follow their curiosity and fly from place to place, building rich and complex lives while cross-pollinating the world.
Hear the story in her words – it’s worth the 2 minutes to listen.
Don’t Chase Your Passion and Maybe You’ll Find It (2 minutes):
Flight of the Hummingbird – The Curiosity Driven Life (28 minutes):
If you know with certainty what your passion is, congratulations! But if, like me and many other women I’ve spoken with, your flight has taken hummingbird twists and turns that have sometimes left you wondering where you were headed, take Elizabeth’s advice:
Follow your curiosity. It just might lead you to your passion.
As the saying goes, not all who wander are lost. Your road may be a winding one, but think of all the experiences and adventures you’ll have!