Sunday, December 06, 2009

Curious about the Element: What Is It? Have You Found Yours? Or Has It Found You?

The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the Element, they feel most themselves, most inspired, and achieve at their highest levels.” From: The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson, Ph.D. - one of the world's leading thinkers and speakers on creativity and innovation, Robinson’s The Element is a breakthrough book about talent, passion, and achievement.

I chose this theme because I am in the middle of listening to the audio version of The Element and am completely blown away by the stories that Ken Robinson is sharing.

I have always been distressed to learn that so many people are working and/or living lives that they hate or find distasteful, because they don’t pursue their passions. So many of us have bought into doing what we are expected to do by society. Our parents and teachers mean well and really want the best for us.

Robinson describes the epiphanies that have spurred creatives to pursue what they love with a passion, despite the discouragement and negative reactions of others. Are you doing what you love – often using your natural abilities? I feel that it is never too late or too early to start.

I did not find many quotations that fit “element” the way Robinson defines it, but I did find many worthwhile quotations that I feel are worth reading. Here goes:

  • That was a real learning element for me, because I realized that the more true you are to yourself, the more you will lose people.” - Bill Sienkiewicz, American artist
  • The essential element in personal magnetism is a consuming sincerity - an overwhelming faith in the importance of the work one has to do.” - Bruce Barton, American author
  • No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.” – Edward Hopper, American artist
  • Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet
  • Time is the most precious element of human existence. The successful person knows how to put energy into time and how to draw success from time.” - Denis Waitley, American writer
  • Without the element of uncertainty, the bringing off of even, the greatest business triumph would be dull, routine, and eminently unsatisfying.” - J. Paul Getty, American businessman

And, some more for those of you who love quotations and learn from them as much as I do:

  • In theory there is a possibility of perfect happiness: To believe in the indestructible element within one, and not to strive towards it.” - Franz Kafka, Austrian poet
  • It is energy - the central element of which is will - that produces the miracle that is enthusiasm in all ages. Everywhere it is what is called force of character and the sustaining power of all great action.” - Samuel Smiles, Scottish author
  • I'm still excited at being at a microphone and talking to listeners. I love that. It's the most basic element of what I do and I still enjoy it very much.” - Bob Edwards, American journalist
  • A creative element is surely present in all great systems, and it does not seem possible that all sympathy or fundamental attitudes of will can be entirely eliminated from any human philosophy.” - Morris Raphael Cohen, Russian philosopher
  • Always in my books, I like to throw that rogue element into a stable situation and then see what happens.” - Jeanette Winterson, British novelist
  • An element of exaggeration clings to the popular judgment: great vices are made greater, great virtues greater also; interesting incidents are made more interesting, softer legends more soft.” - Walter Bagehot, English author

So, what do you think? Robinson has reinforced for me the importance of finding and pursuing our passion – and I do. Hooray!