Over the last few months, several people have mentioned to me that they watch Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. I have not been drawn to the show until recently when a friend told me about a presentation by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. I looked it up and was intrigued by her Super Soul Sunday topic: “The Flight of The Hummingbird, the Curiosity Driven Life”.
Gilbert has been a life long advocate for “finding your passion”. She refers to her approach in life as focusing on her passion like a jackhammer. Super focused, never wavering. She has encouraged others to “funnel every molecule of their being” to focus on their passions.
Yet, in this talk she backs away and reflects on what it was like to have someone from an audience in Australia challenge her passion message. This person challenged Gilbert to realize that not everyone has one single passion and to keep telling people to do that was actually causing harm. This jolted Gilbert to evaluate her perspective.
Gilbert embraced the criticism. She thought about the people she loved and admired the most and realized none of them approached life with the a jackhammer focus. She also noted that these dearest friends live very “rich, full hearted lives”,even though they are not singularly focused on one passion.
Gilbert shared that many people are more like hummingbirds, a bird that flies from flower to flower pollinating many flowers in a day. Many of her friends live life by trying many things, dabbling, experimenting and being incredibly curious. Gilbert now encourages people to “follow their curiosity ” and be more like hummingbirds. Gilbert noted that people who approach life this way often take their accumulated wisdom, grace, and experiences to give very generously to others.
So many times in my life I’ve called myself a “Generalist”. Now, I will encourage myself and other “generalists” to refer to themselves as hummingbirds. Be curious, gather knowledge, experiences, and wisdom, and share those perspectives with others. As a friend of mine said after watching the video”…I am trying to care for the world immediately around me….I wish for people the same contentment”. She is my favorite hummingbird and regularly has pearls of wisdom for me. She’s not worried about passion, she’s focused on being content and caring for those she loves. I’m grateful for her.
Take a look at Gilbert’s talk on Soul Sunday.
Are you a Hummingbird or Jackhammer? Let me know what you think.