The Element Book Summary - The Element Book explained in key points
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The Element summary

Ken Robinson

How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

4.2 (106 ratings)
13 mins
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    The Element
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    Your element has two important features: aptitude and passion.

    You’ve probably heard people talk about “being in their element” when referring to a sense of fulfillment and connection with their true identity and purpose. It sounds great, but how can you find that place for yourself?

    Well, the truth is there’s no single route to get there. But by learning the main characteristics that define the element, you can begin to determine what it means for you. The first of these characteristics is aptitude.

    Aptitude is what most people call “talent.” It’s the natural and intuitive ability to accomplish something. However, there are limits to how far aptitude can get you.

    For instance, you could have an aptitude for anything from software development to poetry to playing the violin. Maybe you have a voice perfectly suited for opera, or for radio – that’s aptitude.

    But aptitude isn’t enough. You also need passion. After all, you can do something with extreme proficiency and still not feel moved by it. Being in your element requires feeling a certain pleasure and delight in what you’re doing. This kind of passion will keep you practicing for hours and loving every minute of it.

    Just take Charles, the keyboard player in the author’s brother’s former band. One night after a show, the author told Charles how well he had played and how much he himself loved playing keyboard. Charles responded by saying that the author didn’t actually love it, because, if he did, he would be doing it.

    Charles practiced several hours a day. Not because anyone was forcing him to, but because that’s what he wanted to do. In other words, playing the keyboard was his passion.

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    What is The Element about?

    The Element (2009) is about getting in the zone and unearthing exactly what drives you. That driver is your element and these blinks explain precisely what it is, how to identify it and what it will mean for your life.

    Best quote from The Element is difficult to feel accomplished when youre not accomplishing something that matters to you.

    —Ken Robinson
    example alt text

    Who should read The Element?

    • Dreamers who want to become doers
    • People who want to follow their calling
    • Bewildered parents of talented children

    About the Author

    Ken Robinson is a renowned British thinker on education, creativity and innovation. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Warwick, a frequent speaker and award-winning writer of, among other books, Creative Schools and Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative.

    Lou Aronica is a writer with a background in publishing and co-author of the best seller, The Culture Code.

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