Before reading Big Magic I was in a place where I needed some encouragement. Encouragement to let go of my fears and self-doubt. The self-doubt which was preventing me from igniting the creative spark from within. I had passion, I had motivation, I had ideas but I didn’t have the courage to bring forth the magic.
Elizabeth Gilbert speaks with a strong and insightful voice. Her tone is incredibly charming and witty, it’s almost like you’re at home having a deep and heartfelt pep talk with your friend. The purpose behind her words is to encourage us to find our most creative and expressive life which is driven by curiosity than by fear. Gilbert refers to ideas and creativity as though they are from a world of mystery and enchantment. All the while keeping two feet firmly on the ground, she doesn’t urge anyone to follow their dreams without being practical first. Gilbert offers a vibrant concept that “the universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them”. The surprising results of that hunt is known as, Big Magic.
Big Magic has given me encouragement and motivation through its powerful messages. Below I’ve shared eight of my favourites.
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BIG MAGIC: “Fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.”
Gilbert describes fear in a realistic and relatable sense. Helping you understand that if you want to embrace the creativity in your life then you must welcome fear. Gilbert refers to fear and creativity as “conjoined twins” as we can’t experience one without the other. The two of them will join you on your creative road trip. Note to self: “Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way”.
BIG MAGIC: “And bringing those treasures to light take work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion, and the clock is ticking and the world is spinning, and we simply do not have time anymore to think so small.”
To me, this quote speaks loud and clear. It reminds me that creative living will require time. Time which is ticking by and will not stop ticking just because we’re not ready. It helps me realise that we don’t know how much time we have in our precious lives, and we simply cannot afford to think small. Gilbert reminds us that “life is short and rare and amazing and miraculous” and we all want to do and make interesting things while we have the time. That’s why creative living is worth it.
BIG MAGIC: “Be brave. Without bravery you will never the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery, your life will remain small, far smaller than you probably wanted your life to be.”
Gilbert’s words are filled with encouragement and understanding. She accepts that fear is within all of us however it holds us back from life’s opportunities and it prevents us from moving on to bigger and better things. If we push past fear we become brave and once we become brave our world grows, as it opens up to new experiences.
BIG MAGIC: “You can measure your worth by dedication to your path, not by your success or failures.”
More often than not we measure our worth by adding up our successes and our failures. We celebrate our achievements and learn from our mistakes, which is perfectly normal and healthy. Yet, have you ever thought to measure your worth through your dedication to your path? Well this is exactly what Gilbert suggests we do. If you’ve been dedicated to something for a long time, whether that be a career, a hobby or a goal. If you’ve been through the ups, the downs, walked across the rocky road and failed more times that you’ve succeeded, then you are proving your self-strength and determination.
BIG MAGIC: “Defending yourself as a creative person begins by defining yourself. It begins when you declare you intent.”
In order to live your most creative and expressive life you first must hold a sense of “personal entitlement”. Gilbert wants us to understand that we have the right to create and do interesting things in our life, whatever that may be. Say it aloud to yourself and to others, I’m a writer, I’m a gardener, I’m this, I’m that, or I don’t know what I am yet, but I’m curious to find out!
BIG MAGIC: “Give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job to do, and you might not like the job it invents.”
Your mind needs something to do in order to remain sane. If you are not actively creating something, then you are probably actively destroying something. Such as your body, your health, your relationships or your job. Gilbert compares the mind to owning a border collie as a pet. Suggesting that if you fail to occupy it then it will find its own job to do and you might not like the job it finds. Such as eating the couch!
BIG MAGIC: “Once you put your own expression and passion behind an idea, that idea becomes yours.”
Gilbert reassures the readers that it doesn’t matter if an idea has been done before, because it hasn’t been done by you in your own unique way. The truth is, most things have been done before. Ideas are repeated all the time by different people and each idea results in a slightly different outcome. If you put your own spin on things then the idea will belong to you.
BIG MAGIC: “Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.”
We don’t want to be the person that sabotages our opportunities, yet Gilbert rightly points out that lot of the time we find ourselves arguing for our limitations. We say things such as, “I’ve always been that way” and “I could’ve done that but” or “if that happened then I could”. Try a new strategy, what would you argue for instead? Creative living perhaps!.
Have you read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert? What were your favourite messages?