This book made me feel…
The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything
Your Element is where your skills and your passions meet.
About the book
Even though we have come a long way from the Industrial Revolution, many things in our societies seem to operate in the same way. Schools and companies test us in a standardized way. And we are taught that, if we want to be successful, we have to conform to these standards. But Ken Robinson disagrees.
He believes that people are different and unique and this system not only fails to make use of people’s potential and creativity, but it limits them. His theory is that everyone has an Element and finding and exploring that Element makes the difference between an ordinary life and a flourishing life.
According to him, the Element is the “place” where our interests and abilities meet. You are in your Element when you do something that you are good at and passionate about. It could be what you do for a living, or it could be just a hobby. But regardless of how you use it, finding your Element is important. Robinson believes that the people that have found their Element use their potential more and are more satisfied with their lives.
The book has many stories about people that have found their Element and how that happened. To many, it was as an epiphany, a sudden understanding of a new field and a fascination with it. And then they found a way to incorporate that into their lives and embrace their Element.
I believe that the aim of this book is to encourage people to reconnect with themselves and use their abilities in a new way. It inspires people to look for their Element (if they have not found it yet) and to find a way to make it a part of their lives. The book explores a few topics related to the Element such as the importance of the right tribe that can encourage you, the fact that you can discover your Element at any age and the importance of daring to think differently.
What I liked about the book
It is well-written, well-structured and has a positive tone. The book features many stories of famous or successful people to illustrate the ideas presented in it. And these stories make it very easy to read.
I also liked the fact that the author seems to be passionate about this topic. He believes that people should try to find their Element since this will greatly improve their lives and our societies as well.
What I did not like about the book
When I started reading this book, what I expected to find in it was a blueprint I should follow to find my Element. I though it included some pieces of advice or steps I should take towards this. But the books does not tell us how to find our Elements. It does talk about some myths and obstacles that can prevent us from finding our Element so that helps a bit, but I would have loved the book more if it included some practical advice as well.
Also, the book had too many stories and examples for my taste. But I say this as a person who now enjoys reading positive psychology books that talk about theories and research experiments. If you are like me, you may feel the same. But if you like reading fiction or other books that are lighter and more inspirational, I think you will enjoy reading this book.
3 great ideas
Schools and companies often fail to help people find their Element. They do not encourage or help us explore our unique abilities and our creativity. However, there are schools that do things differently and encourage children to learn in ways that allow them to use their creativity and discover things on their own, in a hands-on way. And even though these initiatives are the exception and not the norm, there is hope.
If you want to be creative and innovate, you have to think differently. And you have to be prepared to be wrong sometimes.
Your family, friends or colleagues may keep you from finding your Element. Unfortunately, they do this unconsciously and because they want the best for you. When they are telling you that a certain profession is not profitable enough or that you are better at something else, they may be holding you back. But other people may show you what it is like to be in your Element and help you find your way.
I would add something to this idea. Keep in mind that the people that may be stopping you from going after what you want do not want to harm you. They think they know best or they want to protect you. Try to explain to them why having a certain hobby or working on a certain project means so much to you. Once they understand how important it is to you, they may start supporting you!
4 favourite quotes
“When we are in our Element, we feel we are doing what we are meant to be doing and being who we’re meant to be.”
“Activities we love fill us with energy even when we are physically exhausted. Activities we don’t like can drain us in minutes, even if we approach them at our physical peak of fitness.”
“It is difficult to feel accomplished when you’re not accomplishing something that matters to you.”
“I firmly believe that you can’t be creative without acting intelligently. Similarly, the highest form of intelligence is thinking creatively.”
Have you read The Element? And if you have, what did you think about it?