TED Talk: Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, failure and the drive to keep creating

23 May TED Talk: Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, failure and the drive to keep creating

Elizabeth Gilbert was once an “unpublished diner waitress,” devastated by rejection letters. And yet when she finally found success with her international best-selling book, ‘Eat, Pray, Love,‘ she found herself identifying strongly with her former self.

With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers a simple — though hard — way to carry on, regardless of outcomes.

She recalled, “After college, I got a job as a diner waitress, kept working, kept writing, kept trying really hard to get published, and failing at it. I failed at getting published for almost six years. So, for almost six years, every single day, I had nothing but rejection letters waiting for me in my mailbox.

But the weird thing is that 20 years later, during the crazy ride of “Eat, Pray, Love,” I found myself identifying all over again with that unpublished young diner waitress who I used to be, thinking about her constantly, and feeling like I was her again, which made no rational sense whatsoever because our lives could not have been more different. She had failed constantly. I had succeeded beyond my wildest expectation. We had nothing in common. Why did I suddenly feel like I was her all over again?

This short TED Talk provides a powerful perspective on success. It is an ongoing process, rather than a product. It’s a journey rather than a destination. The video is 7 minutes long and has had more than 3.5million views. I’m sure you’ll find it inspirational.