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A rather weird advice

“Forget passion… Follow your curiosity.” Elizabeth Gilbert

I would love to share with you one of the greatest quotes on creativity ever. I stumbled upon it while reading Elizabeth Gilbert´s book The Big Magic and it really stuck with me. A simple thought, but groundbreaking, and, at the same time, a quirky and surely uncommon advice. “I’m going to say something really weird and it’s going to surprise you.  I’m going to speak out for a second against passion,” said Elizabeth Gilbert on the Oprah Show after a lifetime of pursuing something she absolutely loved (writing), publishing a New York Times best seller “Eat Pray Love” and travelling across the world.

"Not every person
is born to accomplish
something huge.
And not everyone
would want to."

Quite a counter-intuitive thing to hear. But what does it mean and why is this piece of advice truly liberating? The thing is we spend a lot of our life hearing and reading about the importance of following one’s passion. It is truly a great advice… that is if you have a passion that is clear and obvious.

There are people who feel called towards something from early on, be it composing, painting, sports, animals etc. They pursue their calling and become experts on it. They dedicate their life to their passion. These are the truly lucky once. But what if you don’t have an easily identifiable passion? In that case, the advice of “following your passion” can leave one extremely frustrated.

“Sometimes it feels cruel and all it does is make you feel even worse and more left out, because you’re like, ‘I would if I knew what it was!’”

Gilbert says. “If you’re in that position right now... forget about passion.” Instead, she suggests following something much simpler and closer at hand - your curiosity. Passion is rare, it is not unlike a one-nightstand – it’s brief, hot and burns out.

Besides, you cannot access that every day. Instead of trying to find something that is overwhelmingly important or big, like passion, mission, calling - try to pursue whatever interests you at the moment. See where your curiosity leads you – architecture, psychology books, maybe learning to program or throw clay. Dive into it.

Curiosity might lead you to your passion. Or it might not.

And the beautiful thing is that it doesn’t matter. But it will do one important thing - lift that weigh off your heart. Not every person is born to accomplish something huge. And not everyone would want to. And certainly no one needs it to achieve success, satisfaction or happiness. The little things in life are oftentimes truly great. 

“You might get nothing out of it at all except a beautiful, long life where all you did was follow your gorgeous curiosity. And that should be enough too.”

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