The element- How finding your passion changes everything by Ken Robinson with Lou Aronica

I stumbled on Ken Robinson’s videos on Ted Talks, as recommended by a good friend. His easy going sense of humor and speaking served the topics of public education and self-discovery well. I must say that I am intrigued by his genuine interest of sharing knowledge and how easy he delivers his speeches. Let’s just say I hope to give speeches like the way he does it.

This book has a few reasonable and fresh pointers for anyone to consider, not just for teachers or parents who are trying to find ways to help children find ‘their elements’, which is the meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion. It is not exactly an easy self-help manual because Ken Robinson did not exactly state the exact ways to find the element. He does, however, talk about the conditions of this new paradigm shift.

The condition to finding the element is to understand the intimate relationship between the following:

• Diversity of intelligence
• Power of imagination
• Creativity: Doing something about it rather than lying around thinking about it
• Commitment to finding our own capabilities: Strong sense of perseverance

In the fast paced era where technology and innovation rules, it is paramount that we do not just follow the motion of life to the extent we forget to live life the way we want it. We do not just exist to pay the bills and die. Our existence serves far much better purpose than that. Different people achieve that self-satisfaction in their own way. It can be travelling or volunteering.

Often, when I travel, I make it a point to return to nature. It can be for trekking or simply enjoying the beaches or sceneries. That’s the moment when I am truly humbled. They make you feel that the world is so big and you are very small. All other material things and problems do not seem to matter anymore. Sometimes we just need to slow down and ponder about finding our own element for these reasons:

• Personal: Understanding yourself and your own capabilities
• Social: Finding a purpose with your life
• Economical: Balancing your life as a whole (wellbeing and ultimate success), by doing what you like full time, leisure or recreation

By finding your own element and passions, we can then discover ourselves, without having to conform to normalcies. Once we are doing the things what we are good at and what we love, we will then be ‘in the zone’. Figuring such things often take time, often years. After which, we find people of similar interests and opportunities for growth and new development to revitalize latent capacities. For instance, when you have a better direction in life, you may not have to hop from one job to another with hope to find a dream job. In other words, when you choose a job you like, you no longer have to work a single day in your life.

One of my favorite quotes of the book ‘Our best hope for the future is to develop a new paradigm of human capacity to meet a new era of human existence’. This reminds me of Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia. I remembered studying about how he bought the entire of AirAsia at RM1 and transformed the entire aviation industry. It’s because of him, everyone can fly. I believe that he is good at what he is doing and definitely more than sincere when he develops the business. He has proved that even when in crisis, by which, AirAsia Flight QZ8501 crashed, one can still serve his nation with passion and responsibility.

Lastly,this book teaches us on how to prepare for a completely unpredictable future. The future where human resources and their talents are engaged more fully and embrace them with compassion. As what my teacher used to say, ‘Make the most of yourself, for that is what there is of you’. With this, I hope 2015 will be a better year for all, with a cure for Ebola and world.

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