Creativity writer and consultant Ken Robinson recently, in January of 2009, launched his new book titled, “The Element.”
Robinson often speaks to his audience of the power and importance of building imagination. According to Steve Dahlberg who runs a blog called Applied Imagination, who was at the book launch of The Element, Ken had this to say “All cities owe their existence to imagination.”. “It’s this power of imagination will take us into the future — or not. And it’s this kind of imagination that’s most at risk. I think we squander it. Not only squander it — but suppress it ruthlessly.”
Robinson went on to talk about his concept of “the element,” which includes:
Discovering what one’s talents are. Doing something for which one has a natural aptitude. Doing something with which one resonates. “Many people have never discovered their real, natural talents.”
“People achieve their best when they do what they love.”
“Aptitude has to meet passion,” he said. “And you’ll never ‘work’ again.”
Have you heard any of this before here at ETA? Sound familiar??
Robinson went on to state that finding one’s element(s) is not only essential to finding personal fulfillment, purpose and meaning, but it’s essential to the balance of our communities. Plus, he said it has a bottom-line economic implication. “We are living in times of absolute revolution,” he told the audience of more than 500 people. “Revolution demands that we think differently.”
Yes indeed, dear reader! We must!
He urged people to pay attention to what assumptions they make and what they take for granted. “Things we take for granted turn out not to be true,” he said.
Robinson suggested this country has a “crisis of human resources” in which people area unaware of what they are good at, what talents they have, and how to do what they love to do. “Human resources are often buried deep,” he said. “You have to go looking for them.”
He said the conditions need to be right for these resources to reveal themselves — and then one has to be ready to do something with them when they appear. He used the example of the flowering of the normally barren Death Valley in 2005 as an example how deeply buried seeds can lay dormant for scores of years waiting for the conditions to be right to sprout and flower. “Death Valley is dormant, not dead,” he said.
As always, Robinson critiqued education’s overemphasis on particular kinds of thinking and learning (a la his TED presentation on “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” which has been viewed online by a couple of million people).
“Education was devised to develop a particular type of talents,” he said, adding that people think they are not smart because of the hierarchy of what kind of thinking is taught and shown importance.
Robinson shared what the three founders of The Blue Man Group are doing to address the lack of creativity in education. They have founded The Blue School. This will be something to watch — if not participate in. (Ironically, The Blue Man Group was featured in my book The Blue Bike that never sold..)
His final message came from the tag line of his book: “Finding your passion changes everything.”