Initially published July 30, 2019
Are you in your element? Do you love what you do?
If you love what you do, it might that you are using your talents and passions in what you do every day.
“There are plenty of people who don’t know what their passions are, but it’s a rare person who has none. “
In Finding Your Element, Sir Ken Robinson discusses how to find your talents and passions, embrace them, and come up with your own definition of happiness, so you can combine what you love with what you’re good at to live a long, happy life. Before I read this book, I’d seen his TED talk on “Do schools kill Creativity?” which is a fascinating look at how our education system knocks creativity out of you along the way as it tries to make you obedient, discouraging us more than encouraging us. He talks about three things: creativity, uncertainty and the immense capabilities of children. It totally resonates with me. All I ever wanted to be is creative, be it making clothes, drawing or writing. I didn’t really have a preference as long as I was creating something but I do remember being told I was not good at it. Someone forgot to mention that you get good at something the more you practice!
What did teachers make you believe you were bad at? Do you still believe that today?
The book is a journey into how you can find out what you’re good at and what you like, and how to combine these two things into something that makes you happy, regardless of what society tells you or what you’ve been trained to do in school and college.
He outlines three principles:
#1 Your life is unique - take in and appreciate the uniqueness of your life and the probability of events that took place to make you
#2 You create your own life. “I am not what has happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” Carl Jung.
#3 Life is organic and very few people anticipate to be doing what they are doing.
He then takes you through a series of exercises to help you discover your element, from SWOT analysis to unconscious writing (I really enjoyed this one!), helping you a build a picture of your passions aptitudes, attitudes and opportunities. He provides lots and lots of fascinating examples of people finding their element at different times in their lives. There is always hope you can find your element no matter your age.
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
For me, the parts that resonated the most in the book were that we are living through a revolution in education, and that it’s time to change it. Work has changed, the jobs we do have changed and will change further. The way we work is changing as well.
Life is not linear – you may have more than one element, you may do several things that ignite you. You may have yet to discover it and sometimes the next step forward is to retrace a path that you thought you’d left behind.
If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?