Your elusive creative genius - Elizabeth Gilbert

  • Published on Mar 22, 2013
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    Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses -- and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.
    Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Comments • 160

  • Ariel Allen
    Ariel Allen 2 months ago

    I love this so much, her words have inspired me before and this just pushes me further towards who I need to be.

  • dlbrigg
    dlbrigg 7 months ago

    I guess Richard Paul Evans, or Nicholas Sparks got past their fears ....and wrote some great books!

  • jody mondor
    jody mondor Year ago

    Often a person will ask... How did you think of that? I will respond... That there was no thinking involved, it's just there..

  • jody mondor
    jody mondor Year ago

    The best dancers are not necessarily for Style or technique but for the passion

  • Karan Singh
    Karan Singh Year ago

    Hope you get this msg...Dedicate your work to God...Dont work for your ego...Than it's always ole ole.
    Thats karma yoga in gita...Must read...

  • SpiritualLight 4
    SpiritualLight 4 2 years ago

    Elizabeth Gilbert! BRAVO, Mi Amiga!!! PERFECTO!!!

  • David Sherr
    David Sherr 2 years ago

    I do not think that a quasi-religious ability to doublethink away science to help creative people, I think myself included, get over their midlife crises is a good idea.

  • Sofía Dominique
    Sofía Dominique 2 years ago +1

    is the most boring thing I've ever hear

  • Sofía Dominique
    Sofía Dominique 2 years ago +1

    i hate this video

  • Skia Sailing
    Skia Sailing 3 years ago +1

    Watching this at 2016 and somehow reminded of John's issue. Either way, this is awesome!

  • Monica Samano
    Monica Samano 3 years ago +4

    Only the true Artist understands what she describes...this creative flow is on a level of its own...

  • Artemisia Glauci
    Artemisia Glauci 3 years ago +14

    This video seriously helped me so much. Thank you. Not to be over-dramatic, but I feel like my life has been saved.

  • psychicOJ
    psychicOJ 4 years ago +4

    That is one of the most inspiring speeches I ever heard. I am a writer myself and the things she says could not be more true! Grab it, do it AND BE THANKFUL FOR IT! Because some unfortunate sould will never ever allow themselves to even begin to imagine, that they could create something divine. And - as it is with all good things - it comes back to where it was loved and thanked!

  • E. L.
    E. L. 4 years ago +4

    Wonderful! That's exactly what I feel when I write! It's not me but something else pouring through me, some divine force! That's why creative work is so addictive. Not because of the final result, admiration etc. but because of the process - including the ultimate connection with the Source.

  • Kevin Murray
    Kevin Murray 4 years ago +20

    What a beautiful voice she has.

  • pastory conrad
    pastory conrad 4 years ago


  • pastory conrad
    pastory conrad 4 years ago


  • Almog Sason
    Almog Sason 4 years ago +9

    Thank you Dan this was very interesting

    • Guardiansaiyan
      Guardiansaiyan 4 years ago

      @Almog Sason Hey we were grump, Now we won't be grump...and we're...very moved thank you...

    LIQUID M.D. 4 years ago

    online etymology dictionary
    late 14c., "tutelary or moral spirit" who guides and governs an individual through life, from Latin genius "guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth; spirit, incarnation; wit, talent;" also "prophetic skill," originally "generative power" (or "inborn nature"), from PIE *gen(e)-yo-, from root *gene- "to produce, give birth, beget" (see genus). Sense of "characteristic disposition" of a person is from 1580s. Meaning "person of natural intelligence or talent" and that of "exalted natural mental ability" are first recorded 1640s.

  • SNoW WoLf
    SNoW WoLf 4 years ago +2

    A very profound thought on creativity. Creativity is a divine gift from God this is why you need to be grateful for your successes. I know that feeling that Liz describes about Ruth Stone...believe me when I hear the poem I run to grab my pen and paper. Thank God I am not the only one.......LoL

  • TheDbzgtaf
    TheDbzgtaf 4 years ago +7

    She's completely right. It's actually helpful. This video is by far the most helpful one to write a book

  • William Worden
    William Worden 4 years ago +7

    What an excellent little event. Being a creative writer, I can so relate to the little thing in the room that inspires! There have been times when I have sat down to write and that thing is channeling through me like there is no tomorrow, but then there are those times when I just sit and stare and not a damn thing comes out. So I know that this is true!

  • Kit Renard
    Kit Renard 4 years ago +2

    Olé! Very inspiring.

  • Elizabeth T_
    Elizabeth T_ 5 years ago +1

    What a predictable response to creativity from the writer of the best-selling(and once again, mindless) novel Eat,Pray, Love. A novel that relates a quest for meaning, and poorly and pathetically attained by a series of superficial travels and a limited cliched notion of what cultures really have on offer!
    And now, she comes up with this metaphysical idea about how to reinterpret creativity! Her answer is a simplistic abstraction, a tete-a-tete with an imaginary genius whom she tries to gain a mastery of (again, in her own imagination)! Unfortunately, beings like her will continue to thrive in this literary world governed by the "Fantastic-Four". Imagine what Voltaire, Nietzsche, Schopenhaueur would say about her work...and especially about how she is adored by the masses, and how she has been glorified and worshipped by them. Indeed, it must have been a "freakish success", Elizabeth. Because deep down inside, you knew that your work was worthless.
    We have reached such dire levels of mental and intellectual bankruptcy that we need to exaggerate a simple process of being inspired into something grand, into something complicated and difficult to understand, so that we feel the need to fall back on the exegesis of a best-selling novelist about what it is to be inspired.

    • CorinneXoXo
      CorinneXoXo 4 years ago +1

      @NatSparky thank you !!!! You wrote this perfect!!!!

    • NatSparky
      NatSparky 5 years ago +6

      Perhaps you can enlighten us all as to what the "simple process of being inspired" is. I'm curious what your opinions are, since you seem to have all the answers and you want us to take your words as an objective truth.
      I think what the more successful Elizabeth is trying to say that the creative process comes and it goes. It's here and then it's gone. It's fickle. The people we think of as being very "creative" are not creative all the time. Sometimes, they try and be creative and they fail. Inspiration just doesn't come.
      If you even watched a PORTION of the video, you'd know she's not taking all the credit for her own success. But she showed up for her part of the job. She sat down and wrote. And inspiration hit her. You may disagree with the source of it, but how can you possibly objectively interpret something as subjective as the creative process?

  • Cate JM
    Cate JM 5 years ago

    Daemons.. I believe they are demons who can inspire work to keep people from God e.g. Harry Potter, whose author JK Rowling came to her as a fully formed character. And the poem story also sounds like demonic spirits that can enter us if we let them or they have legal rights.

    • Cate JM
      Cate JM 4 years ago

      He he.. Don't worry I'm not mad at you. That's what most westerners think who are ignorant of spiritual realities. Neither am I scared. Smith Wigglesworth saw satan himself in his lounge. Oh, it's only you he said and went back to bed. God is real. Even the Beatles got their music by channeling spirits according to Yoko Ono. If it's frim demons, why the nice topics? Well romantic love, beautiful though it is, is a Great topic for demons to choose to distract people from getting into a loving relationship with God and discovering how amazingly good he is!! (Because it's the human thing closest to it) Romance was his invention, but knowing Jesus is better and saves our souls from justice to mercy..

    • Kit Renard
      Kit Renard 4 years ago

      This was very obviously a metaphor for the fickle, elusive factors that can be present in the creative process. You'll probably be mad at me for saying this, but you too are just personifying a concept or idea, same as Ms. Gilbert. The difference is in the negative connotation. If you want to give it that power in your mind, do so at your own risk. I recommend making concepts and ideas work for you, though, and not scaring yourself into submissiveness thinking about demons and devils that aren't real. It's a much better a relationship to have with an intangible, inanimate concept. But who am I to say?

  • Lizzys Soundbites
    Lizzys Soundbites 5 years ago +1

    Incredible! I love her!

  • Canden Scales
    Canden Scales 5 years ago +4

    As an artist I completely agree! :)

  • Sirrah Photography
    Sirrah Photography 5 years ago +2

    Absolutely BREATHTAKING!!!! Loved this. Thank you.

  • DreamWizard9
    DreamWizard9 5 years ago

    Sounds a bit desperate.

  • larynx46
    larynx46 5 years ago +1

    I anticipate some people disagreeing with this, not because of super natural fairies, but of the idea of a deity.
    I won't argue about the divine. Instead, I wonder if they would find this "genius" to be the unconscious mind; or in the unconscious mind? Something which is not directly controlled, but can be very present when someone works.
    What do you think?

    • larynx46
      larynx46 3 years ago

      Heck I think, yes. One's ability to see patterns feeds into their creativity. It's worth noting at this point that creativity is extraordinarily useful for more than just artists. Scientists can also make new things if they can see, or at least pursue, larger patterns in their work.

    • larynx46
      larynx46 3 years ago

      Heck If someone is "in touch" with thier unconsciousness, they're really just more aware of it's patterns; I would say. The way that I understand the unconscious, is that it's reactionary. By which I mean, you don't choose what it does. The only way to affect it is by using repetition over months or years.

    • Heck
      Heck 3 years ago +1

      If that were true, would people who are more connected with their unconscious mind be more creative than those who aren't? I don't personally believe in the supernatural, but as someone who is creative is is healthier for me to think of my creative mind as something outside of me which I must wait patiently for and be guided by, rather than stress myself out because I can't force ideas into my head when I need them.

    • Cate JM
      Cate JM 4 years ago

      I think it's a daemon, or demon..

    • Kit Renard
      Kit Renard 4 years ago +1

      Metaphor, as in it's a comparison. So I think you nailed it as being some internal aspect that cannot necessarily be directly controlled, only harnessed. That talk of geniuses, muses, idea fairies.. It's a personification of the concept and a metaphor to compare the fickle aspects of the process to something storybook understandable for the audience.
      This is one of the few times I'd say some lack of accountability is healthy, though, regarding creativity and the amount of pressure it is to best yourself over and over.

  • bobbydazzler09
    bobbydazzler09 5 years ago +3

    That was really inspiring. Thank you Elizabeth

  • Carmen Herrera Mansir
    Carmen Herrera Mansir 5 years ago

    Hoy necesitaba oir esto!!!

  • pandasnakez
    pandasnakez 5 years ago +3

    Game grumps bought me hear

  • Sonia Marisa
    Sonia Marisa 5 years ago +14

    Game Grumps >.>

  • Posola Karunwi
    Posola Karunwi 5 years ago

    can a person really own their talents and claim them? many people seem to have the natural ability to do certain things. and i'm reminded that no human being on this planet we have named earth chose to be born and we do not know much about ourselves, we are still scratching the surface. goodness knows what our descendants will find out about what we are and are capable of

  • Isaac F.
    Isaac F. 5 years ago +4

    Such a beautiful elaboration pertaining to the human condition. It brought me to tears.

  • pawan grg
    pawan grg 5 years ago


  • Lorenzo Pacheco
    Lorenzo Pacheco 5 years ago +3

    I don't agree with this.

    • Hannah Rose
      Hannah Rose 5 years ago

      That's fine. but if it comes down to semantics for you more than the spirit of the talk, then maybe it's more to do with what's in your head than what this is really meant to say...I don't really have an opinion one way or the other, so i'm open to what ever you have to say haha

    • Lorenzo Pacheco
      Lorenzo Pacheco 5 years ago

      @Hannah Rose It's hard to explain, mainly because there can be multiple interpretations of this speech and its potential subtexts. I'll elucidate further if you really want me to, but it'll probably be a pretty long-ass explanation.

    • Hannah Rose
      Hannah Rose 5 years ago

      How come?

  • kurt lindner
    kurt lindner 5 years ago

    SUCH an amazing speech, no concept.
    Beyond inspiring.

  • Mind Agilis
    Mind Agilis 6 years ago

    Insightful + inspiring! Could certain video games stimulate our brain to think in more creative ways?

  • Mo dares to believe
    Mo dares to believe 6 years ago +4

    Love it! Love it! Definitively a funny relaxed truth for anyone who wants to succeed. I've enjoyed it very much and shared it with my creative children. Thanks

  • druidt
    druidt 6 years ago

    This is a good a the movie!

  • Amanda Webster
    Amanda Webster 6 years ago +1

    If I may be so bold, I have read all of Ms. Gilbert's books. They are all brilliant and I love all of them. I'm also grateful for this TED talk. Thank you for keep writing! I'm excited to read your latest work.. I know you'll never see this.. but if you do, thank you.

  • TheSeabreeze999
    TheSeabreeze999 6 years ago +1

    Ole to you Elizabeth, if your next book is any where near as good as this performance, you have nothing to worry about.

  • Sir NOSAJ
    Sir NOSAJ 6 years ago

    I have no idea what you guys are mad about. I just wanted to join in.

  • Mitchell Brown
    Mitchell Brown 6 years ago

    No but you're stupid.

  • Sir NOSAJ
    Sir NOSAJ 6 years ago

    u mad?

  • MDayy137
    MDayy137 6 years ago

    where can i buy this, its amazing

  • Denys Wade
    Denys Wade 6 years ago

    Even Sir Isaac Newton said, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." That kinda ties into what she is saying. All information must come from an external source. Creativity is how you relate that information.

  • Barfing Coyote
    Barfing Coyote 6 years ago

    Barnabee Brown you really are an ignorant fuck.

  • Mitchell Brown
    Mitchell Brown 6 years ago

    Level, LOL. I called you stupid not Socrates, and I don't give a fuck about a philosopher who lived in 470BC. You really are stupid man. I'm going to stop before you continue to make a fool out of yourself.
    P.S. Think like a scientist, not a philosopher.

  • mindinsolitude
    mindinsolitude 6 years ago

    Obviously not working on my level. No worries. Find me just one scientific paper that catagorically proves 100% that the human brain cannot be influenced by an intangible external entity. Until you do there is every possibility that Ms. Gilbert is right. I understand it's a long shot but as a person of science you can't disregard her opinion until it is scientifically disproved. PS you just called Socrates stupid, it was his quote. Look it up ;)

  • Mitchell Brown
    Mitchell Brown 6 years ago

    I never said that science has nothing left to discover. I said "there is no grey around". Take for instance, bioluminescent animals. We know they glow by mixing a cocktail of chemicals their body produces naturally. They don't use spirit energy, ghosts, or fairies. And there is no grey area; we know that they produces these chemicals for a fact. "ALL I KNOW IS I KNOW NOTHING" was a very stupid thing to say, and I don't understand how you thought that was my argument.

  • mindinsolitude
    mindinsolitude 6 years ago

    I have remained on topic. To say there are no grey areas is wrong. The beauty of science is there will ALWAYS be grey areas. Are you honestly suggesting science has nothing left to descover! Science has not proved her wrong. I admit nothing she has said can be backed up by science yet! How are we to know that science in future millennia wouldn't be capable of scientifically documenting, God, a soul or a ghost. ALL I KNOW IS I KNOW NOTHING!! interesting debate :)

  • Mitchell Brown
    Mitchell Brown 6 years ago

    See that's what makes science so beautiful; there is no grey area. The rest of your comment has nothing to do think this particular argument. Please stay on topic when your trying to persuade someone.

  • mindinsolitude
    mindinsolitude 6 years ago

    Wow you're easily shocked! Science has learned so much about the brain in resent years but that's still less than 1% of what's left to learn. I am a rational person but I'm also open minded. The brain is connected to the external world through 5 senses. With all that's still a mystery in neuroscience, a 6th sences, a brain receptor sensitive to something yet on documented is not crazy talk.
    I believe in science but to think all science is now written and we have no grey areas is just wrong.

  • Mitchell Brown
    Mitchell Brown 6 years ago

    Your comment is shocking. The west is the leader in scientific exploration, and I don't think you watch the whole speech. It seems centered around surrendering to a higher power and not taking responsible for a bad work of art. And science has already proven her wrong.

  • umswagger
    umswagger 6 years ago

    Francis Cobain led me here. It's as if this most of this talk could have been about her father. Hmmmm. I like it.

  • Sofía T Garcia
    Sofía T Garcia 6 years ago

    Point taken. haha :-0

  • mindinsolitude
    mindinsolitude 6 years ago

    Absolutely nothing as long as you've been drinking since the night before. HAHA