Saturday, October 22, 2016

'How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything': 'The Element' By Sir Ken Robinson

So I just finished reading The Element by Sir Ken Robinson, and ended up taking some notes, as usual. Thought I'd put them up here. Again, they are personal notes, focused on what I personally found relevant to myself- to get a full picture of the book, I'd encourage you to read it yourself. 

What is The Element?

The activity, passion or work that gets you 'in the zone'. 

Next up, Robinson talks about the 3 features of human intelligence:
1) It's extraordinarily diverse. You can be socially intelligent, spatial intelligent, emotionally intelligent, logically intelligent...the list goes on (I think there are a total of 12 such, but not too sure - Google it)

2)It is tremendously dynamic. Intellectual growth comes through embracing the dynamic nature of intelligence. 

3)Entirely distinctive: Every person's intelligence is as unique as their fingerprint. 

When we connect with our own energy we're more open to the energy of other people. The more alive we feel the more we can contribute to the lives of others. 

Disclaimer Number 1: People who have found their element are not 'in the zone' 24X7. They have their moments of 'down' time. 

Finding Your Tribe

Finding Your tribe means connecting with people who share their passion and a desire to make the most of themselves through it. 
It gives you validation, inspiration and the "alchemy of synergy".
Interaction with the field, in person, or through their work, is as vital to our development as time alone with our thoughts. 
It provides inspiration and provocation to raise the bar of your own achievements. 
When tribes gather in the same place, the opportunities for mutual inspiration can become intense. For example, in ancient Greece, philosophy emerged through a series of interlinked groups- Plato's friends, Aristotle's school, Socrates' circle.

"Do You Feel Lucky?"

1. Lucky people tend to maximize chance opportunities. They're especially adept at creating, noticing and acting upon these opportunities when they arise. 
2. They tend to be very effective at listening to their intuition and do work that is designed to boost their intuitive abilities. 
3. They tend to expect to be lucky, creating a series of self-fulfilling prophecies because they go into the world anticipating positive outcome. 
4. They have an attitude that allows them to turn bad luck into good. They don't allow ill-fortune to overwhelm them, and they move quickly to take control of the situation when it is not going well for them. 

Perhaps not appropriate for a summary, but here's an example Robinson gives in the book to illustrate the four points above: 

In a social experiment, a scientist by the name of Dr Wiseman arranged to meet two self-proclaimed “lucky” and “unlucky” people for separate interviews at a café, a venue which seemed neutral but was staged by Wiseman.  He arranged for the place to be so packed with customers, there was only one free chair, next to a wealthy businessman.   Wiseman also put a $5 bill on the front step of the coffee shop.  The “unlucky” interviewee arrived, and because his thoughts were anxiously focused on the interview, he walked right past the $5 bill.  He sat down at the café’s only free seat, next to the businessman, and did not speak a word to him, but simply waited nervously for the interview.  When Wiseman arrived, he asked the interviewee, “So, how was your morning?”  The reply was, “Oh, nothing special.  Same as usual…”
When the “lucky” subject arrived, he saw the $5 bill, picked it up, and pocketed it. After sitting down next to the businessman, he struck up a conversation and the two ended up exchanging business cards. When Wiseman arrived and asked him “So, how was your morning?” he responded, “I had a great morning! I found a five-spot on the step and met a promising new business acquaintance.  Lucky as usual!

-> 'If we keep our focus too tight, we miss the rest of the world swirling around us.'. ...
^THIS.. Something I feel have learnt, to a certain extent, but need to more fully incorporate into my life. On another note, maybe I'll write my next blog post about this...

On The Role Of Mentors... 

Mentors are very important. Period. 
1. A mentors who has already found 'The Element' in a particular discipline can help you find your Element in that discipline, by recognizing the spark of interest.
2. Encouragement- mentors lead us to believe that we can achieve something that seemed improbable or impossible to us before we met them. 
3. Facilitating- Offering advice and techniques, paving the way for us, standing by us to help us recover from our mistakes. 
4. Stretching- They push us past what see as our limits. 

Final Points

- You don't necessarily have to be making a living from your passion to be in Your Element. You can do it for recreation. 
- It is not necessary to drop everything else. For some people, at some stages in their lives, leaving their current jobs or roles to pursue their passions simply isn't a practical proposition. 

Final Disclaimer: Discovering the Element doesn't promise to make your richer. Quite the opposite, actually, as exploring your passions might lead you to leave behind that career as an investment banker to follow your dream of opening a pizzeria. Nor does it promise to make you more famous, more popular or even a bigger hit with your family. 
However, for everyone, being in their Element, even for part of the time, can bring a new richness and balance to their lives. 

P.S. :
Started reading the sequel of this book, 'Finding Your Element', but realized one chapter in that it is something I'll be working with and getting back to over and over again, until I find 'it'.

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