7 min read ⌚
How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life
If you’re even a tad like us, you’ve asked yourself whether you’re living your life the right way hundreds of times – since you woke up this morning. Let us hazard a guess: you’re probably even asking yourself that question right now, as you’re reading this sentence!
But, don’t worry! All those fears and anxieties, all those unanswered questions about the meaning of life – they’re good for you! It’s okay to have them: it’s called being normal. What’s not okay is not doing anything about the constant lack of answers.
Now, don’t be fooled: “Finding Your Element” will not give you the full answers. In fact, no book can do that. There are too many people on this planet and each of them – yes, including you! – is a unique being with unique talents.
But the guys who wrote this book – and, mind you, they’re no ordinary guys! – can certainly nudge you in the right direction. And we’re here to summarize their opinions and help you achieve this goal faster.
Who Should Read “Finding Your Element”? And Why?
“Finding Your Element” is not the first book Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica have written together. In fact, as they explain at the beginning of this book, its existence owes much to the tremendous success of their previous joint endeavor.
And you may have already come across it on our site! Yes, we’re talking about “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything,” a book we’ve already (and as always) summarized just for you.
It’s the same basic philosophy, so you might want to read that book – oops, summary – before this one. In fact, if we have to use few words to describe “Finding Your Element” better, we can’t do wrong if we decide on these six: a practical self-improvement manual for “The Element.”
So, read “The Element” as the theoretical framework, and “Finding Your Element” as the practical guide. For the largest part, the book is a series of questions and personality tests which will help you discover your passions and gifts.
It’s especially great if you’re a recent graduate wondering about your next career move or you’re stuck with a job you don’t like!
There – we just described 95% of the world.
About Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica
Ken Robinson (1950) is a British writer and educationalist, Professor Emeritus at the University of Warwick. He is one of the best-known speakers on personal growth and related matters. In fact, his 2006 TED speech, “Do Schools Kill Creativity” is the most viewed TED talk of all time. For his services to art, he was knighted in 2003.
You can find more about him at his website: http://sirkenrobinson.com/
Lou Aronica (1958) is an American publisher, editor, and novelist. He has co-written three books with Ken Robinson, most recently, “Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education.” You can visit his website here.
“Finding Your Element Summary”
What you’ve done with your life so far is only a small part of what you could have done and what you can do with it in the future. That’s the basic premise of this book – and it’s a sound premise.
You don’t believe us?
Just think about it. For one thing, you’re neither a rose nor a rabbit. And you really don’t have to be a rose or a rabbit. You’re probably thinking right now – what’s with these two strange-sounding sentences? Well, let us explain better.
What we wanted to say is that you’re not born to be one and one thing only. Society may have forced you to be, but the beauty of being a human is the exact opposite of this. A rose cannot be a tulip no matter how much it wants to be. And a rabbit will always be a rabbit even if it learns to roar like a lion.
See where we’re getting with this?
Unlike them, you can be almost anything you want. You might be working as a teacher, but why shouldn’t you be able to be an artist in your free time? And if you wish to give up your job and start learning to be a web designer – now, who can stop you?
It’s all about using your potential. And using it the best way possible.
And this is the best part: according to Robinson and Aronica, it’s as easy as 1-2-3!
One: make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Believe us: life would have been better if this had been one of your regular schoolwork exercises! Now, how can you choose the right college or the appropriate career if you don’t know what you like?
Do yourself a favor and find out!
Two: see which of your strengths really make you feel happy. Be honest with yourself! For example, I have a friend who was a champion chess player, but she gave up playing chess to become a musician. Music made her happier! As simple as that!
Three: examine why aren’t you pursuing a career fit for the strengths which make you happy. Is it due to some lack of confidence? Is it because your parents are against it? You think you’ve gone to the wrong college? You think it’s too late for you?
It’s never – ever, ever – too late. Even if you’re 50 years old with, you can start a new career. With all those courses and tutorials out there, how much time will you really need to acquire a new expertise? Few months? A year? Two years? So?
You can be a chess player at 50 and a musician and 52! It’s always worth taking the risk! Life’s just too short to risk not being happy.
Speaking of which – there’s one more thing:
Since you’re a human, you’re also a social being. So, being happy usually means being happy with somebody. And as much as you’re unique, don’t forget that there are always few other people who share your passion and love the thing you love the same way you do. Sincerely and profoundly.
Robinson and Aronica call them “your tribe.”
So, look for them! Because it’s your duty to find them. And because they will be glad to meet you. But not the least because, well, you’ll be happy to meet them too.
Key Lessons from “Finding Your Element”
1. The Three Key Principles
2. Aptitudes and Attitudes
3. Living Your Element
The Three Key Principles
First of all, your quest – or, better yet, quests – to a fulfilled life will probably be a long one. Robinson and Aronica insist that your journey will be an easier one if you never forget three things:
- “Your life is unique” – you’re different than everybody, and that’s a great thing;
- “You create your own life” – you’re not a rabbit or a rose, and you can be anything you want to, even against circumstances and biology;
- “Life is organic” – you’re not alone on this planet, and circumstances are unpredictable; adapt.
Aptitudes and Attitudes
If you think you don’t have any talents – you’re wrong! The problem is – society hasn’t taught you how to find them. An aptitude is a fancy word for ability. And – this is not just a figure of speech – you probably have more than the fingers on your hands! You just need to discover them.
And in order to do so – you need to stay alert and think globally. Because you can be a good bobsledder even if you’re living in Jamaica! How would you find that out if you’re not watching the Olympics and listening to your heart?
Speaking of… See, your heart is a strange little organ. As you’ve probably learned that time your high school crash married the second time – it continually changes. In other words: your attitude may change, even if your aptitude doesn’t.
Fear not: just embrace another one of your talents. You can be more than one thing in life.
Living Your Element
There’s no perfect path. Don’t try to plan it. There may be many different paths and numerous obstacles on each of them. Don’t look that far.
So, just take the first step. It will lead you to new opportunities. And you’ll be much happier. Living Your Element.
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“Finding Your Element” Quotes“The Element is where natural aptitude meets personal passion.” Click To Tweet “Finding your Element is vital to understanding who you are and what you’re capable of being and doing with your life.” Click To Tweet “Human resources are like natural resources: they’re often buried beneath the surface, and you have to make an effort to find them.” Click To Tweet “Knowing what your Element is will give you a much better sense of direction than simply bouncing from one job to the next. Whatever your age, it’s the best way to find work that really fulfills you.” Click To Tweet “If you open yourself to new experiences, the odds improve exponentially of one of those experiences changing your world in a profoundly positive way.” Click To Tweet “Finding your Element is about discovering what lies within you and, in doing so, transforming what lies before you.” Click To Tweet “Finding your Element is a personal quest.” Click To Tweet “One of the clearest ways of knowing that you are not in your Element is if your spirit is constantly heavy.” Click To Tweet “Your life is unique in the whole of history.” Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
If we’re perfectly sincere, Ken Robison and Lou Aronica are not really saying too many things you don’t know already. Especially if you’ve read their previous book “The Element.” But, then again, it’s not only about what they say – but it’s also about how they say it.
It’s best if you think of “Finding Your Element” not so much as a book which may enlighten you, but more as a book which may inspire you. You’ll probably agree: when it comes to stimulation and encouragement, a cliché or two always helps.
“Finding Your Element” is not an especially great book. But it can be – if you don’t let it be a lone call in the wilderness.