Elizabeth Gilbert was once an “unpublished diner waitress,” devastated by rejection letters. And yet, in the wake of the success of ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ she found herself identifying strongly with her former self. With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers a simple — though hard — way to carry on, regardless of outcomes.



  • corgi
  • gin up – generate, devise or create
  • adolescence – youth
  • unthread – to disentangle; separate out of a raveled or confused condition
  • hinterlands – the remote or less developed parts of a country; back country
  • vault – (here) move suddenly (out of somewhere)


 Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • What did the lady in the airport get wrong about ELizabeth? (pause @ 0:51)
  • What kind of situation did Elzabeth find herself in professionally after publishing “Eat, Pray, Love.” (pause @ 2:07)
  • What does it mean for Elzabeth to “go back home?” (pause @ 3:16)
  • How does Elizabeth explain the “strange and unlikely connection  in our lives between the way we experience great failure and the way we experience great success?” (pause @ 4:41)
  • How does Elizabeth define “home?” (pause @ 5:15)
  • What advice does Elizabeth give at the end? Do you agree with her?


Practice makes perfect


 Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

So that’s who I am. And believe me, I’m extremely grateful ________ be that person, because that whole “Eat, Pray, Love” thing was a huge break for me. But it also left me in a really tricky position moving forward as an author trying to figure ________ how in the world I was ever going to write a book again that would ever please anybody, because I knew well ________q advance that all of those people who ________ adored “Eat, Pray, Love” were going to be incredibly disappointed ________ whatever I wrote next because it wasn’t going to be “Eat, Pray, Love,” and all of those people who had hated “Eat, Pray, Love” were going to be incredibly disappointed in whatever I wrote next because it would provide evidence that I still lived. So I knew that I had ________ way to win, and knowing that I had no way to win made me seriously consider for a while just quitting the game and moving to the country to raise corgis. But if I ________ done that, if I had given up writing, I ________ have lost my beloved vocation, so I knew that the task was that I had to find some way to gin up the inspiration to write the next book regardless ________ its inevitable negative outcome. In ________ words, I had to find a way to ________ sure that my creativity survived its own success. And I did, ________ the end, find that inspiration, but I found it in the most unlikely and unexpected place. I found it in lessons that I ________ learned earlier in life about how creativity can survive ________ own failure.


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