How To Move Forward In Life, Even When We’re Anxious Or Afraid
I made a vow to myself when I was 16 that I would be a writer. I never said I’d be great, or even successful, but writing revealed something within me that I couldn’t access in any other way.
For seven years I got nothing but rejection letters. I persisted because I had a passion for something that would allow me to do more than just pay bills and die. Isn’t that the way you want to feel, too? I believe there’s something within us all that makes us want to follow our curiosity wherever it takes us.
We all follow a path and these little breadcrumbs of curiosity drop in front of us, tempting us to change our lives — or to at least think about things differently.
Too many times we ignore our own curiosity and fail to fully participate in our own lives. We let our fear overcome our curiosity and our creativity.
I define creative living as any life defined more by curiosity than by fear. Every day we come upon a fork in the road. One way leads to opportunity and the other way leads to fear, which keeps us from opportunity.
You can choose to walk down the path of opportunity and open your life to endless possibilities or turn down the road of fear and avoid everything.
I say this as someone who’s inherently a very frightened person. I’m nervous, high strung, anxious and sensitive. But here’s the key — I’m just one percent more curious about the world than I am afraid of it. And that one percent has made all the difference.
Curiosity is the key to Growing Bolder. If you can push past the fear and make a decision to pursue your curiosity and creativity, the world will open up to you.
Before you know it, you’ll be actively co-creating your life instead of simply shuffling through in a puddle of despair, shrugging your shoulders and accepting whatever happens around you from day to day.
The road to fear leads to despair and the belief that tomorrow is going to be exactly the same as today. That belief is a lie, because we live in a world that’s in constant change. You must emerge from fear and despair. Ask yourself what you can do to actively and willingly participate in the changes that are going on around you. Don’t settle for simply being a witness to your own life. Take control. Give in to your curiosity. The result will be Big Magic.
Elizabeth Gilbert is an author, essayist, short-story writer, and novelist. She became an international sensation with the 2006 publication of her memoir Eat Pray Love, which chronicled her year-long journey of self-discovery across the world following her life-shattering divorce. Her 2015 book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear encourages readers to explore, develop and release the creativity that is within us all. In Big Magic, Gilbert explains the magical qualities of creativity and how to harness it in your own life, even if you think you don’t have a creative bone in your body. She talked to Growing Bolder about the life-changing power of obstacles and curiosity, reflecting on overcoming life’s hardships and discovering how to see these moments as transforming events.
Find information on Gilbert’s Big Magic — Creative Living Beyond Fear Tour and other events at ElizabethGilbert.com
This article is featured in the September 2022 issue of The Growing Bolder Digital Digest.