The Element is a book by former headmaster Ken Robinson. In the book his argues how we all have a capacity to be creative, we all have a right to pursue our passions and it is the state of education that is a contributing factor as to why we feel we can’t.
Here are 5 ideas I gained from his excellent book:
1. The Element, as Ken Robinson describes, is the place where the things you love to do and the things you are good at come together.
It is the place where you can achieve a higher level of achievement than if you were to do something outside of your element. You may have noticed this yourself? When you are doing something you have a passion for, you frequently get ‘little wins’ compared to when you do things you feel indifferent about.
2. Ken Robinson answers the question as to why more people haven’t found their element? He gives 3 reasons:
1. We have a limited capacity for our capabilities. In short we have no idea of how capable we actually are!
2. We have a lack of understanding how these capacities interconnect holistically. We are one and so every part of us can function within multiple domains.
3. We have a limitation on our potential we have for growth and change.
3. A number of people have a passion for something but feel it is best to pursue a safer, more secure job route. Ken argues that any point in time in the future, ‘safe & secure’ jobs could be moved offshore and you’ll be out of a job.
If you have not been learning how to creatively pursue opportunities and in a way ‘create something out of nothing’, suddenly you find yourself with no job and no capacity for seeing a way out of it. A frightening prospect.
4. The element has 2 features and 2 conditions:
1. The 2 features are aptitude (a natural grasp of how something works. You just know whats going on) and passion (where you take pleasure & delight in what you do. You love it).
2. The 2 conditions are attitude (our personal perspective on life and our role in it) and opportunity (spotting the situations that allow us to progress within our passion)
5. Only special people are creative is a myth. Everyone is born with a capacity for creativity, however, like a muscle, creativity has to be exercised in order to work in a highly optimised way. Those that say they are not creative is often as a result of not understanding what creativity involves or how it works in practice.
It is impossible to read ‘The Element’ and not get caught up in the possibilities that are available for everyone when they find their own element. Too many people live their life settled in a safe job because they haven’t given themselves the time to find out what their passion is. This is sad and everyone could do with reading the element as an opportunity to change that.