Have You Found Your “Element”? By Sir Ken Robinson

The Element by Sir Ken Robinson

The Element by Sir Ken Robinson

“(…) if we can each find our Element, we all have the potential for much higher achievement and fulfillment.”

Do I love what I do? Does my work help fulfill my true desires and my deep personal needs? Am I able to find the space to address my true passions? These are deep questions many of us raise to ourselves when we find some time for reflection and look at ourselves in the mirror. In attempting to answer them, it is not uncommon for other, deeper and more complex to answer questions to appear: What is my real passion? Do I have one? If I had infinite freedom to choose exactly what I want to do, what is it that I would choose?

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, written by English author, speaker and international advisor on education Sir Ken Robinson, is the right book for anyone facing those questions.

The Element is the meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion.

(…) we all have distinctive talents and passions that can inspire us to achieve much more than we may imagine. Understanding this changes everything.

Being in our Element depends on finding our own distinctive talents and passions. Why haven’t most people found this? One of the most important reasons is that most people have a very limited conception of their own natural capacities.

How Are You Intelligent?

Robinson defends that our society and education system pose too much emphasis on IQ and measuring intelligence, under the assumption that the more intelligent someone is, the better. In doing so, they wrongly assume that intelligence can be measured in a standardized way that allows to compare two individuals in an unbiased way. According to Robinson, “how are you intelligent” is the right question to ask. He states that we have not one, but multiple intelligences, and he challenges the effectiveness of IQ tests to measure intelligence.

(…) How are you intelligent? Knowing that intelligence is diverse, dynamic, and distinctive allows you to address that question in new ways. This is one of the core components of the Element. For when you explode your preconceived ideas about intelligence, you can begin to see your intelligence in new ways. No person is a single intellectual score on a linear scale. And no two people with the same scores will do the same things, share all of the same passions, or accomplish the same amount with their lives. Discovering the Element is all about allowing yourself access to all of the ways in which you experience the world, and discovering where your own true strengths are.

Being In The Element

We have addressed the idea of “being ‘in The Zone’” and the concept of Flow in several articles, including Flow: Are You “In The Zone”?, or Have You Found Your Zone? It’s All In The Mind. Sir Ken Robinson revolves around this idea.

To be in the zone is to be in the deep heart of the Element.

Being in the Element and especially being in the zone doesn’t take energy away from you; it gives it to you.

When people place themselves in situations that lead to their being in the zone, they tap into a primal source of energy. They are literally more alive because of it.

But finding your element is not exempt from challenges. There are barriers that you need to overcome, sometimes in the form of what others’ think.

Finding your Element can be challenging on a variety of levels (…) Sometimes, the challenge comes from within, from a lack of confidence or fear of failure. Sometimes the people closest to you and their image and expectations of you are the real barrier. Sometimes the obstacles are not the particular people you know but the general culture that surrounds you.

What Is Your Tribe?

We humans are social beings. Robinson claims that finding a reference group, people who understand and share the same passions that we do, helps in the pursuit of our passion.

Connecting with people who share the same passions affirms that you are not alone; that there are others like you and that, while many may not understand your passion, some do. It doesn’t matter whether you like the people as individuals, or even the work they do. It’s perfectly possible that you don’t. What matters first is having validation for the passion you have in common. Finding your tribe brings the luxury of talking shop, of bouncing ideas around, of sharing and comparing techniques, and of indulging your enthusiasms or hostilities for the same things.

The Element is a (nice) reminder, populated with plenty of entertaining stories and examples, that it is never too late to look for our passion and pursue it relentlessly.

If you are interested in hearing directly from Sir Ken Robinson, please check our video article Creativity Makes The Difference.

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