I listened to the audio book The Element by Ken Robinson (with Lou Aronica) after Rehan Allahwala of Pakistan recommended it. So far his recommendations have not disappointed me. The book was mainly on finding oneself. There are a lot of convincing anecdotes throughout the book. The book is narrated in the audio version by the author himself. (I wish if his voice were bit deeper.)
According to the author, the element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the element, they feel most themselves and most inspired and achieve at their highest levels. The author defines “The Element” as the thing you are both passionate about doing and good at doing. You would be extremely productive if you can make your hobby, your career, the field you love to be in. But only few people can enjoy that luxury as most of the people are suffering as they do not have the liberty of choosing the right career.
The Element brings on the stories of a wide range of people, from ex-Beatle Paul McCartney to Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons; from Meg Ryan to Gillian Lynne, who choreographed the Broadway productions of Cats and The Phantom of the Opera; and from writer Arianna Huffington to renowned physicist Richard Feynman and others, including business leaders and athletes. When you learn about these very famous and successful people and how they achieved unbelievable achievements you feel that you too can do the same.
Robinson says that age and occupation are no barrier to achieve the highest. Creativity and innovation comes by thinking differently. It is a way of transforming education, business and communities to meet challenges of living and succeeding the challenges of the twenty-first century.
If you take the book seriously, it can change you forever. It has solutions for most of the challenges we face today. It tells us how to change our thinking patterns to be productive and successful.
The author also tells us how current education system kills the students’ creativity by expecting each student to perform the same way while their talents are in different fields. According to him, the education should be personalized according to the need of each student which is a difficult to do from the viewpoint of the authorities as it costs much but this is the only solution.
There are amazing stories of how some kids struggled with academics in school but found their element at a later stage and accomplished so much in their lives. The schools never identified their talents and those individuals themselves had to find where their true talents were and find suitable careers accordingly.