Elizabeth Gilbert on Redefining Creative "Genius"

I can’t think of a better way to kick off the new year than watching this TED talk by author Elizabeth Gilbert, on “Nurturing Creativity.” Eat Pray Love is simply one of my favorite books of all time, and an inspiration. And it turned out that her TED talk was, in a way, a bridge between Eat Pray Love and her upcoming book Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage (which I’m highly anticipating, or as Gilbert wryly noted, perhaps over-anticipating) as she talked about the “freakish success” that Eat Pray Love was and the external pressures that not just herself, but all creative individuals are under to to constantly pump out works of genius. In searching for a way to create a healthier distance between artists and the darker, often destructive side of creativity (“manic depression,” “overinflated egos,” etc.) Gilbert looked to history and discovered a different working theory about “genius” that is humble, yet divine.

All the things that I had enjoyed in Eat Pray Love shone through when I watched Gilbert talk – namely, her humor, her thoughtfulness, her ability to combine the personal with the profound, and her ability to move people with her words. Learning that one of Gilbert’s GQ articles provided the basis for the movie “Coyote Ugly” (per Gilbert’s TED.com profile) was an additional perk. And that she had met her (ex)husband while working at the original Coyote Ugly Saloon? Mind sufficiently blown!

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