What keeps you going?

If you really love writing, would you give it up if you receive few initial rejections? Thank goodness J. K. Rowling didn’t give up writing despite receiving around 12 rejections before Harry Potter was finally accepted for publishing. One publisher even advised her to join writing classes to improve her writing. Today she is one of most successful writers ever, and Harry Potter is a legend!

It is certainly not about writing, it is applicable to anything that you really love doing. I firmly believe that when your chosen work is an expression of your own purpose or calling, you can continue to put your efforts, energies into your work even if you face hurdles, failure for some period – it is your love for your craft (whatever it is) that keeps you going! Of course, sustaining efforts despite prolonged period of adversity is another story – it is more about resilience, which probably deserves a separate article by itself. Even in that case, the determination is stronger when your work is aligned with your own purpose.

Elizabeth Gilbert (1969) is an American author mostly known for her bestselling book of memoirs: Eat, Pray, Love.  Interestingly, she calls this purpose/calling as home! So for her ‘coming home’ means getting back to work that completely aligns with her purpose – that’s writing again. This is how she narrates how her love for writing keeps her going irrespective of success or failures.

Writing was my home, because I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing, which is to say that I loved writing more than I loved my own ego, which is ultimately to say that I loved writing more than I loved myself.

~ Elizabeth Gilbert

In this wonderful TED talk ‘Success, failure and the drive to keep creating’ she discusses what kept her going despite success and failure that she calls as two extremes, both essentially catapult you in the same uncomfortable zone where you’re not able to control your emotions or actions. She narrates her success with Eat, Pray, Love and the fear of failure that she experienced after that book; ultimately to realize that it is her love for writing that helped her to keep going.

Her metaphor ‘home’ for her own purpose/calling is a fascinating choice (she is a writer after all), it suggests certain level of comfort and sense of belonging. That’s exactly what purpose is – something that is deep within a person’s being, an essential part of his/her own existence and identity. Where what one does is effortless and blissful for its own sake!

Gilbert sums it up beautifully and succinctly in her talk –

Your home is that thing to which you can dedicate your energies with such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential.

~ Elizabeth Gilbert

You can watch her talk here –

When I wrote about page for My Zen Path I had mentioned that Zen refers to becoming fully aware of your original nature. Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘coming home’ is something very close to that!  🙂

The featured image:

The featured photo used here shows a young boy running gleefully towards his home on the living roots bridge at Cherapunji.

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