Friday, 20 April 2012

The Element - How Finding Your Pashion Changes Everything (Author: Ken Robinson, PhD)

The Blurb from the ABC Shop: 

The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion.

In this groundbreaking book, world-renowned creativity expert Ken Robinson considers the child bored in class, the disillusioned employee and those of us who feel frustrated but can't quite explain why – and shows how we all need to reach our Element.

Through the stories of people like Vidal Sassoon, Arianna Huffington and Matt Groening, who have recognized their unique talents and made a successful living doing what they love, Robinson explains how every one of us can find ourselves in our Element, and achieve everything we're capable of.

With a wry sense of humour, Ken Robinson shows the urgent need to enhance creativity and innovation by thinking differently about ourselves. Above all, he inspires us to reconnect with our true self – it could just change everything.

My Thoughts on The Element: 

After listening to Ken Robinson on a podcast, I felt inspired to read this book and duly checked it out at my local library. In the podcast, Mr Robinson, an educator and lecturer, spoke passionately about the need to find our passion in life, to pursue our true calling so that we ultimately find ourselves in “the Element”, a place where we are completely ourselves, where we find absolute fulfilment. Basically, it’s about stepping outside the square and finding our perfect place, irrespective of whether it’s the perfect financial place, so that we find and live in our right position in the universe. 

I wanted so badly to enjoy this book. I wanted so badly to read what Mr Robinson had to say. I wanted to feel inspired, to feel a desire to run, Rocky-like, up steps, arms waving in the air, and shouting, “Yes, yes, yes”, my mind lit up like an Osram. However, that did not happen.  

Unfortunately, I can’t help but feel that the main thrust of this book could have been covered in about 20 pages, including the fantastic few pages given over to illustrations which put planet Earth into perspective in the scheme of the universe (the book is worth checking out for those few pages alone). What we do have is, basically, recital after recital of stories of people who have reached the “Element”, who live their lives in their perfect place. We learn, for instance, that Sir Paul McCartney hated music lessons at school and was turned down by the choir he applied to join because they felt his voice wasn’t up to scratch; we learn that one of the most famous choreographers in the world came close to being sent to a “special” school because of her inability to sit still and concentrate in class, and was saved only through the insight of a brilliant psychologist; we learn that Sir Richard Branson hated school, leaving very early, and was considered the boy most likely to either make millions or end up behind bars. One or two examples of success against the odds are inspiring; a whole book of them becomes repetitive and you start to check out how many pages you are from finishing, never a good sign. 

Having said all this, if Mr Robinson was to give a presentation in my home town I would have no hesitation buying a ticket to go along and listen to him because I am always fascinated by people of true passion. However, I am very glad that I borrowed this book from my library and didn’t pay out hard-earned dollars to purchase it.

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