The Element | Ken Robinson

Summary of: The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything
By: Ken Robinson


Dive into the world of ‘The Element’ by Ken Robinson, as we explore the journey of finding your true passion and how it can change everything in your life. In this summary, we will delve into the defining characteristics of being in your element, such as aptitude, passion, attitude, opportunity, and diverse forms of intelligence. By understanding the nuances of finding your element and breaking free from limiting perceptions, you will discover the vital role it plays in personal fulfillment and transformation. With inspirational stories of perseverance and triumph, this summary enlightens and motivates individuals to embrace their unique talents and rediscover their passions.

Finding Your Element

The “Element” refers to a state of being where one feels fulfilled and connected to their true identity and purpose. To identify your Element, you must understand its main defining characteristics, the first of which is aptitude or natural ability. However, aptitude alone is not enough. You also need passion, a certain pleasure and delight in what you’re doing, to stay committed and motivated. In other words, you must not only be good at something, but you must also love it. “Being in Your Element” requires the alignment of aptitude and passion, and the only way to find it is to explore your own interests and try out new things.

The Power of Attitude and Opportunity

Attitude and opportunity are crucial for success. High achievers are driven by an attitude that fuels their ambition and perseverance, and they seize opportunities to excel. John Wilson, who was blinded at a young age, is an excellent example of the power of attitude. Instead of being defeated, he excelled academically and professionally, serving as director of Sight Savers International for decades. Opportunity is equally important, as without it, talent may never flourish. For example, the author contracted polio, but a mentor noticed his talent and helped him excel. With the right attitude and opportunities, anyone can find their element and achieve great things.

Rethinking Intelligence

Intelligence can’t be limited to standard definitions such as test scores and academic grades. To find your element, you need to recognize the manifold forms intelligence takes. Gordon Parks taught himself multiple skills and became a renowned photographer, filmmaker, author, and composer. Einstein played his violin when faced with mathematical problems, fostering new connections in his mind and producing solutions. Finally, everyone has a unique intelligence like a fingerprint, and there are no two people who use it in precisely the same way.

Find Your Element with the Help of Your Tribe

Discover how finding your tribe can lead you to your element, where you are completely absorbed in what you do. Your tribe could consist of anyone who shares your values and passion, whether it be colleagues or competitors.

When it comes to finding your element, having a supportive tribe can make all the difference. Your tribe is composed of people who are committed to doing what comes naturally to them. This group of people could be anyone, whether it be your colleagues or even your competitors. It’s all about finding people who share your worldview and values.

The American actress Meg Ryan found her tribe on film sets, where she worked alongside other actors, cameramen, and directors. They all shared her passion for storytelling and the film industry. Finding her tribe helped her discover her element, which absorbed her completely.

Being completely absorbed in what you do is a common way to experience your element. Pool player Ewa Laurance will play for nine hours straight, experiencing it like only 30 minutes have passed. However, it’s important to remember that there are limitations. You won’t always be fully absorbed in what you’re doing, and that’s okay. There will be times when you’ll get distracted or when the situation isn’t right.

Overall, finding your tribe can help you find your element, where you’ll lose yourself in what you’re doing.

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