If you’ve never heard of Sir Ken Robinson, you obviously did not attend the THINK conference in 2011 and/or followed the TED series of inspirational talks. A renowned thinker in the “development of human potential,” Robinson speaks about the need to reinvent education to better develop the diverse talents, aptitudes and passions of individuals all over the world.
In The Element, Robinson defines the “Element” as the “point at which natural talent meets personal passion.” Finding your element allows you to tap onto the proverbial “sweet spot” in everything that you do. It also empowers you to maximize the vast powers of imagination, intelligence, intuition, spirituality and sensory awareness inherent in each one of us.
As is the case with all of Robinson’s work, his writing is down-to-earth and accessible. There is never any snobbery or overt complexity. Everything is put in as simple a way as possible, with lots of anecdotes and stories, many from Robinson’s own experiences.
A few key concepts from the book:
- Creativity is the conduit for imagination. Creativity taps into the various talents at your disposal and requires you to open your mind beyond the logical, linear and analytical. Creativity also uses both your brain and your body while reaching deeply into your intuitive and unconscious mind and feelings.
- Finding the right people to connect with – your tribe, so to speak – is a vital aspect of building upon your element. Being in the right tribe can be transformative while providing three powerful components of tribal dynamics: validation, inspiration, and the “alchemy of synergy” which is that chemistry created by teams coming together.
- Luck really has nothing to do with it. Rather, your attitudes, beliefs and perseverance help you to shape your destiny while making the best out of seemingly adverse situations.
- It is never too late to start, subject to physical limitations of course. Benjamin Franklin invented the bifocal lens at 78, Agatha Christie wrote The Mousetrap at 62, while Jessica Tandy won the Oscar for Best Actress at age 80.
If you are one of the lucky people who wake every morning knowing that you’re spending the greatest proportion of your time on wonderful, creative activities that feed your soul as well as your family, then The Element will probably be little more than an easy, enjoyable read that confirms you in your path. For the rest of us, this book might change our ever-evolving lives.