Reflection on (the late) Sir Ken Robinson's book: The Element-How finding your passion changes everything. In this article, I will be briefly sharing some highlights and my takeaways from his book.
What is The Element?
It is described as the convergent between natural aptitude and personal passion. It requires 2 conditions to be fulfilled as well: attitude and opportunity. It was simply put as these 4 phrases: I get it; I love it; I want it; Where is it?
People who have found their Element often calls it an epiphany. Being in an out of the zone (a sense of timelessness) is something that is also often experienced by people who are in their Element. Like how someone comments that time flew by as they were completing their task.
How are you intelligent?
One of the things that stood out in his book (for me) was the phrase in this header. People who found their Element do not confine themselves, or are not confined by the standard of "How intelligent are you?" but by "How are you intelligent?". There are numerous ways to express your intelligence but too few ways are "educationally or even socially accepted standards". Hence you hear of many stories of geniuses or talents "failing" in school but became Nobel prize winners or making great impact out of school. So if you feel like you are failing the standards, rethink what can be the standards for you to excel in instead! And if you can catch yourself judging someone's intelligence, you may want to reflect on what standards you are evaluating the person with, and if it is even the right one.
The Power of Creativity
Creativity was mentioned as applied imagination. And imagination (or sometimes may also be assumed as day-dreaming) is actually an innate behaviour in humans. So between imagining something to making it a reality is where creativity comes in. And everyone can be creative, as creativity involves anything using your intelligence, it is what he wrote as 'wonderfully diverse'. Embracing your creativity would be a start to finding your Element. It can be anything from building, counting, drawing, writing, to cooking, dancing, playing, or creating, anything!!
Finding your "tribe" and the Alchemy of Synergy
This perhaps builds a little into a balance between a sense of belonging and a feeling of significance. Finding your tribe may catalyse your Element, but being influenced by the wrong tribe can also weaken or perhaps even destroy it.
The right group of people that may enhance your Element usually contains these characteristics: diverse; dynamic; distinct. They are people who are different to you but complementing you, and are together when it counts or to achieve something specific. Basically a "tribe" are people who are good on their own, but better together. So do keep a look out for people who contribute to you enjoying what you do or what you are, and enable you to create positive impact with what you produce!
Role of mentors
Mentors can be crucial in finding your Element as well. There are 4 roles of mentors (these are not a checklist mentors have to complete, it just describes how they help la): 1) Recognition, people who are able to seek out talents, passions, and the right attitudes. 2) Encouragement, people who are able to provide hope and show faith in someone else. 3) Facilitating, people who are able to provide guidance, advice, feedback, or opportunities. 4) Stretching, people who are able to see potential in someone and push them past their current assumed limits.
If you haven't found yours, you can still be a mentor to others. So go out and be kind, keep an eye out for hidden geniuses out there who may need someone to let them know they can be more than who they are!
Many of us may have gone through life not knowing our Element. But imagine if most of us do, how much we can contribute to the betterment of the world!! The author shared more on how schooling is one of the key starting point in Element-finding and some inspirations and ideas for education. He called this non-Elemental human resource as another "climate crisis" we should manage.
Overall, it is quite a good read for anyone who wants a little change of perspective to their life or to their education.
In the meantime, I will be reflecting on what my own Element is. *fingers crossed *