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  • In this episode of MarieTV we do have some adult language.

  • So if you have little ones around, grab your headphones now.

  • Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business

  • and life you love.

  • If you have something inside of you that you want to bring to life, whether you want to

  • write it, you want to bake it, you want to draw it, dance it, or paint it, you are in

  • for a real treat.

  • Today were talking about what it takes to live a truly creative life and my guest

  • is really the person to show us how.

  • Elizabeth Gilbert is the number one New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love

  • and several other internationally bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction.

  • Gilbert began her career writing for Harper’s Bazaar, Spin, The New York Times Magazine,

  • and GQ, and was a 3 time finalist for the National Magazine Award.

  • The follow up memoir, Committed, became an instant number one New York Times bestseller.

  • Her latest novel, The Signature of All Things, was named a best book of 2013 by The New York

  • Times, O Magazine, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and The New Yorker.

  • Elizabeth’s latest book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, which tackles the elusive

  • mystery of creativity, is now available wherever books are sold.

  • Liz, thank you so much for taking the time to be here.

  • My pleasure, I love being here.

  • So Big Magic is your new book and, I have to tell you, it’s so genius.

  • When I got thisthis little copy below here that I actually have all flagged up and

  • it’s kind of ratty

  • Oh, I love seeing flags coming out of books.

  • Flags.

  • So, I have to tell you that I didn't want this book to be over so I slowed myself down

  • and I would savor it just like you would savor a good meal and I was so excited to have you

  • on today because it’s brilliant and I feel like it’s one of these books that I will

  • keep going back to again and again and again.

  • So I wanna start by asking you what was the big magic that inspired Big Magic?

  • What inspired you to write this?

  • Wow.

  • You know what it is?

  • It’s a response to years of being out in public talking to people who tell me about

  • the projects they want to be making and are not making, the things they want to be doing

  • and are not doing.

  • You know what I mean?

  • And often times when I’m in public I meet people who are making and doing really cool

  • things and they wanna tell me about it, but mostly it’s people who aren’t.

  • And when they come to me with their problems about creativity or their struggles with creativity

  • because they know I love to talk about creativity, I find that they always have some sort of

  • very rational, reasonable kind of material realreal world reason why theyre not

  • doing it that they can lay out as an explanation.

  • But when you start to scratch away at that, what’s underneath it is always and only

  • fear.

  • Yes.

  • Always and only fear.

  • I don't care what the excuses or the rationalization or the justification for why theyre not

  • doing the thing that’s calling to them, at the bottom of it theyre afraid.

  • Theyre afraid they don't have the talent, theyre afraid they don't have the right,

  • theyre afraid it’s already been done better, theyre afraid theyll be rejected

  • or insulted or criticized or, worse, ignored.

  • Theyre afraid there’s no point, theyre afraidyou know, they just have these,

  • like, tumbling piles of fear.

  • And I see it so much and I hear the same questions again and again that I finally just thought,

  • Well, let’s officially talk about this.”

  • Yes.

  • You know?

  • Like, let’s actually really break this down and try to figure out how people can live

  • more creative lives without being so scared.

  • One of the things you say about fear in the book is that fear is like a necessary companion.

  • Yeah.

  • And I loved that because I feel like in the world of personal development and sometimes

  • in spirituality in certain circles, you know, you wanna push through your fear, get over

  • your fear.

  • Punch it in the face!

  • Punch it in the face, dude!

  • Yeah.

  • Or kick it or whatever.

  • Yeah.

  • Or we, you know, just demonize it

  • Right.

  • ...in this way and I was wondering if you could speak to this idea of fear as a companion.

  • Yeah, I mean, the thing is, I have no desire to become a fearless person because the only

  • genuinely fearless human beings I’ve ever met were psychopaths or toddlers.

  • You know?

  • Likeand neither one of those things is interesting for me to model my life after

  • because there’s something missing from that person

  • Yes.

  • ...that’s very essential and you see it in the kind of, like, weird eyes.

  • Youre like, “Wow, you are a dangerous human being to yourself and others and I don't

  • wanna be anywhere near you.”

  • And so I’m not interested in fearlessness.

  • Somebody said to me the other day, “Tell us how you conquered fear,” and I was like,

  • “I… it’s adorable that you think I conquered…”

  • Did you read the book?

  • Yeah, that’s also

  • I’m afraid right this minute.

  • I’m afraid, like, almost every minute of my life.

  • So I haven’t conquered it and I’m not interested in conquering it.

  • Actually, what my relationship with fear begins with is a tremendous amount of respect and

  • appreciation because fear is the reason I am still alive today.

  • It’s the reason youre still alive today.

  • Every single one of us can point to a moment in our lives that we survived because we were

  • afraid.

  • Because they said... the thing, the voices said, “Get out of that ocean, the waves

  • are too big.”

  • You know, “This car is going too fast.”

  • Don't get into the apartment with that guy.”

  • This street is not safe to walk down.”

  • All of us are here because our fear is constantly protecting us, that’s its job and it does

  • its job beautifully.

  • It’s just that it’s all jacked up on Red Bull and it’s really trigger happy and it

  • doesn't know the difference between a genuinely dangerous situation and just a little bit

  • of a nervy situation.

  • You know?

  • So whenever I feel fear arise, which is constantly because I’m always trying to do creative

  • things and creativity will always provoke your fear because it asks you to enter into

  • a realm with an uncertain outcome, and fear hates that.

  • It thinks youre gonna die.

  • So any time I start a new creative project the fear rises and the first thing I do is

  • say to it, “Thank you so much for how much you care about me and how much you don't want

  • anything bad to happen to me, and I really appreciate that.

  • Your services are probably not needed here because I’m just writing a poem.

  • Like, no one’s gonna die.

  • No one’s gonna die, it’s ok.”

  • You know, and I just talk to it but in this really friendly way and I don't go to war

  • against it, I acknowledge its importance, and then I invite it along.

  • I’m like, “You can come with me, but I’m doing this thing.”

  • Yeah.

  • You know?

  • I loved the metaphor that you shared.

  • Yeah.

  • It’s like fear is gonna be in the car

  • Yeah.

  • ...but it’s gonna be in the backseat

  • Yeah.

  • ...and it’s not gonna drive.

  • Or choose the snacks or hold the map or touch the radio.

  • Like, fear doesn't get to make any decisions in creative ventures because frankly, with

  • all due respect to Grandfather Fear, it simply doesn't understand what creativity even is

  • because that’s a newer part of our brain, so it doesn't even know what’s going on.

  • So you can’t let it have any control over your creative choices or else it will shut

  • them down one idea after another.

  • Itll just be like, “Nope, don't do that.

  • Nope, too risky.

  • Nope.”

  • And itll just be one no after another and your life will be so much smaller than you

  • want your life to be.

  • One of the things I love that you shared, which I feel is a big subset of fear, is this

  • idea it’s all been done before.

  • I think it’s the thing that I hear the most both in my own brain

  • Right.

  • ...and when I talk to everyone out in the world

  • Yeah.

  • ...about their ideas or their businesses or their projects, there’s this recurring narrative

  • everything’s been done before.

  • And I was wondering if you can speak to originality vs. authenticity.

  • Ok, cool.

  • I’m glad you brought this up.

  • So whenever I talk to somebody who has an idea that theyre tremulously excited about,

  • generally speaking within the next 2 minutes they will say, “But, you know, it’s not

  • very original.

  • It’s already been done.”

  • And I always say, “But it has not yet been done by you.”

  • It has not yet been done by you.

  • And the answer is, yeah, guaranteed it’s already been done because humans are really

  • inventive and inquisitive and creative and weve had 40 thousand years of the arts

  • and pretty much everything has been done.

  • You know?

  • And that’s fine.

  • Like, even Shakespeare, half of his stories he totally stole from older stories because

  • there aren’t that many new stories to tell.

  • But he told them in a way that had never been told before and then 500 years later were

  • still borrowing them from him.

  • Were all just borrowing from each other.

  • And even the most original piece of creativity that you ever saw in your life where you were

  • like, “That’s groundbreaking, I’ve never seen anything like that before,” guaranteed

  • I could bring in, like, 10 professors and academics who could look at it and say, “Well,

  • obviously this is somebody who had read this book or they had heard this symphony or they

  • hadthey were playing off of this or they were rejecting that.

  • Theyre responding.”

  • All we do as humans is respond to stuff that’s already come before us.

  • But youre allowed to add to the pile.

  • Youre allowed to add to the pile and what I always say is whenever I look at art that’s

  • really original, I feel like I can admire it but it doesn't move me.

  • What moves me is the humanity in an authentic piece of creation where somebody was doing

  • something, whatever it was, because they had to, because they wanted to, because it brought

  • them to life, because it ignited their soul.

  • That’s what gives the shimmer of gold to something and makes me feel like my heart’s

  • been changed, my mind’s been changed, the world looks different than it did before.

  • So I don't care if it's been done.

  • I don't care if it’s been done 10 thousand times.

  • If you need to do it, do it.

  • You know, there’s 2 things I want to comment on.

  • One, have you checked out Everything is a Remix?

  • No.

  • Oh, I can’t…

  • ok, so I’m gonna email you on this.

  • Youre gonna love it.

  • It speaks to this idea and it traces back

  • Oh, that is a great shorthand for everything I just said.

  • Yeah.

  • But it’s brilliant and I think youre gonna love it.

  • But itit really is true and I think there’s so much relief that we can feel in that.

  • Yeah.

  • I know in my own creative life

  • Right.

  • ...the pressure, you know, to keep creating and to keep pushing those edges and those

  • boundaries and growth and doing something innovative and new and you can start to make

  • yourself crazy.

  • There's so many ways to make yourself crazy.

  • Right.

  • And that’s number nine on the list.

  • But, yeah, exactly.

  • Andbut the second thing that you tipped off for me was something else in the book

  • that I absolutely loved and it was a real lightbulb moment.

  • I want to thank you for writing it.

  • It was about really examining your motivations.

  • Right.

  • And, you know, if you want to help peopleand this was interesting for me.

  • And it’s like, you know, you want to write a book to help me.

  • Please, don't.

  • Please don't help me.

  • Please don't help me.

  • But this idea of creating because it brings you joy.

  • Right, right.

  • Exactly.

  • I mean, I think when youre a good person and youre a giving person and youre

  • a person of humanity, then of course when you set out to do something you think, “Well,

  • I probably shouldn’t do this unless it will serve.”

  • Right?

  • Because that’s… because were good people.

  • Yes.

  • And were raised to believe that.

  • I love this quote by this British newspaper editor who said, “You can always tell people

  • who live for others by the anguished expressions on the faces of the others.”

  • You know?

  • Youre just like, “Oh, God.

  • Here she comes with her really good intentions.

  • Like, I just feel likelike please don't.”

  • You know?

  • Yes.

  • Andand also it’s a heavy mandate for something that should be the lightest thing

  • in your life, which is how you express your own creativity.

  • I love helping people.