“Writing was my home”– Elizabeth Gilbert
Failure spreads like wildfire in our subconscious amidst triggering the unpleasant sentiments of distress, resentment, defeat, sorrow, guilt, and confusion, as we strive to outstrip the ugliness of disappointment on our way to success. Pause & reflect, what is your inclination, in the quest, to interrupt the threat of failure from overwhelming you?
Elizabeth Gilbert, the American author of the international best-seller “Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia,” became scared of the threshold of success the book put on her.
The fluttering fear of seeking ways to dismantle the failure-success narratives surrounding writers while seamlessly navigating new endeavors without disappointing her readers became her reality.
“All those who had adored “Eat, Pray, Love” was going to be incredibly disappointed in whatever I wrote next because it was not going to be “Eat, Pray, Love” Gilbert politely chortles and proceeds, “And all of those who had hated “Eat, Pray, Love” were going to be incredibly disappointed in whatever I wrote next because it would provide evidence that I still lived” at a TED Talk on Success, Failure and the drive to keep creating.
The constant pressure of retaining the pedestal of success took quite a toll on Gilbert. She deliberately decided to unbuckle the seatbelts and leave the marathon of perpetual mental battle quarreling to surpass where she stands, or she might tumble deep in her fort – disappointed & unrecognizable.
Elizabeth Gilbert surmised to be having one dream in the entirety of her life, to be a writer, she had a flair for writing since her childhood. Upon marking the dreamy phase of teenage years, she embarked on sending her work to different newspapers, namely The New Yorker, with the anticipations of discovery.
Something clicked on the deep crevices of her determined mind. Gilbert stopped resisting the urge to fight the fear of failure with tooth and knuckles, “If I have given up writing, I would have lost my beloved vocation.”
The euphoric feeling of accomplishment and the sweet precincts of pursuing her creativity to success beckoned her to write another book without a second glance to the threat of losing to failure.
However, she repentantly found her skeptic void too impenetrable to shrug off the looming gloominess. Gilbert’s inspirational awakening emerged from the time of her utmost ‘helpless failure’ with the realization of “… creativity can survive its own failure.”
Her struggling adult life – for almost 6 years – can be summed up into the endless labyrinth of a rendezvous of rejections on the brink of devastation – unpublished, albeit promising work. Gilbert was on the verge of losing hope, seeming like an onslaught of imminent failure.
“If I should just quit while I was behind and give up and spare myself this pain,” she felt on the brink of losing courage. The struggle to release her from the depth of remorseful murky numbness was ignited by her resolve “I am not going to quit, I am going home… the writing was my home.”
Gilbert fought relentlessly against worldly hurdles. She benignly chided the universe’s fleeting surge of vivacity towards her. Meanwhile, Gilbert disturbed the turbulences thrown her way. She eroded the fears to its skeletons hidden behind collusions of apprehensions and dreads – failures and self-doubts.
“I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing, which is to say that I loved writing more than I loved my ego, which is ultimately to say that I loved writing more than I loved myself.”
Gilbert’s self-doubts reared their ugly head while writing her famous book, “Eat, Pray, Love.” This time it camouflaged in the guise of her unpublished young diner waitress persona, encircling her fears and limbering her back to a state of mind where the failure stood menacingly tall and merciless. The apparent correlation between both the phases was starkly contrasting, but doubts have their way of nagging at the back of our minds.
“…Psychological connections in our lives between the way we experience great failure and the way we experience great success.”
Failure catapults us on the edge of a precipice, snatches the limelight regardless of where we stand at the staircase of collective human experience. It hyper-fixates, ogles, and inadvertently sprouts in a time-lapse speed to induce vigorously alienating despondent vibes, ripping the aura of calm and happiness to pieces in a jiffy.
“Failure catapults you abruptly way out over here into the blinding darkness of disappointment.”
Success incongruously, albeit, subtly splinters the veneer of the self-non-flagellation. It combusts your “peace of life” in bristling inextinguishable flames. It, akin to failure, debunks any plausible contentment into a corner where tension emanates tersely without any improbability.
“Success catapults you just as abruptly but just as far way out over here into the equally blinding glare of fame and recognition and praise.”– She reckoned.
Today, in a globalized world, failure and success are vigorously measured with the black and white throttling lenses of bad & good. Gilbert learned, the conflicting reality of how the human subconscious distinguishes it unnervingly differs. Our subconscious super imposingly hinges on the mustering realm of feelings and resides on bequeathing reverences to emotions with their fair share of dangers on the periphery of the human psyche.
“The only thing that it (subconscious) is capable of feeling is the absolute value of this emotional equation; the exact distance that you have been flung from yourself.”
Gilbert backtracks to self-restore ownself, which becomes inevitable to lunge for, in due of, sojourning wandering far off in unknown territory. She found her home, in her writing, after drifting off in its expedition for so long, she came back to it, and she flourished.
“Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself. So that might be creativity, it might be family, it might be invention, adventure, faith, service, it might be raising corgis, I don’t know, you home is that thing to which you can dedicate your energies with such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential.”