Dear Ones —

I must confess that I don't really care all that much about originality. The older I get, the less I care about it. In fact, sometimes I get annoyed by people's efforts to be original, because it can feel forced and artificial.

What I love, though, is authenticity. Because it's RARE.

Let me give you an example:

Sometimes I'll be signing books after an event, and a woman will approach the table and say, "I'm afraid I don't have anything clever or original to say to you…and you've probably heard this a million times…but I just wanted to tell you that your book changed my life."

And it's true that I have heard those words before. Maybe even many times before. (I am very blessed, after all, that so many people care so deeply about EAT PRAY LOVE.) But there will just be something about THIS woman — something about the way she spoke those simple words, something about the purity of her intention— that will go right through me…and my heart will crack wide open, and my eyes will fill with tears.

She wasn't trying to impress me, she wasn't trying to be memorable…she just spoke from her heart, and thus she moved me.

(Meanwhile, at that very same event, somebody else might approach the signing table with the intention of being original and unique and clever, and there will be something about HER energy that just makes me want to hide under the table…for real!)

I often have this experience when I'm reading, too…that I am not necessarily swept away by a wildly original book with the cleverest language or the most innovative form. I often read inarguably brilliant books that don't reach into me at all — that never descend out of the cerebral realm and into the realm of the heart. Then I'll read something written by an alleged "non-writer", and I'll find myself bawling my eyes out because it touched me so deeply.

Sometimes a work will be both original and emotionally authentic, and that, of course, is the gold standard. But if I have to choose? Give me authenticity.

So whatever it is that you dream of doing (creating, traveling, loving, inventing, transforming) just do it. Don't worry if you're the 100th person to do it. Just do it, anyhow, and be sure that you bring the highest purity of intention to your pursuit. Act from a place of your deepest authenticity, and the rest of it will take care of itself…

And trust me, if you are authentic, you WILL be original.



via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall