When talent and passion intersect, it can be life-changing for everyone.
Posted in , Sep 22, 2017
Each year the headmaster of the school where I work asks us to read a book chosen by him. The book provides a framework for work we will do throughout the school year, work that serves to better our service and commitment to our students and the community of which we all are a part.
This year’s book is The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson. Robinson uses “the term the Element to describe the place where the things we love to do and the things we are good at come together.” He goes on to say that he feels it is essential for each of us to find our Element, not just for our own gratification and fulfillment, but for the enrichment of, and the futures of, our communities and institutions.
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader
How easy is it to look at those in our culture and beyond who seem to have found their Element—Serena Williams, Michael Douglas, Adele, Tom Brady. They are great at what they do, and we assume they love to do it because they do what they do so well. We assume that they have found their Element, and we very well may be right. But what is important to note, Robinson says, is that each of us has the capability to find the Element, too, despite the impression that we need to make it big to feel that Element for ourselves.
In academic settings, there is an effort to help students discover, or uncover, what talents, or gifts, they have been given. The goal then is to help them make the most of these talents through experience, education, creative input and individualized attention. But this is only one piece of the puzzle, as stressed by Robinson. The other piece is finding where a person’s talent and the love of exercising that talent intersect. Therein lies true satisfaction.
I have enjoyed conversations around this book, looking at the Element as it relates to my own life, as it relates to how I parent, how I teach, how I provide support for the students I work with, individually and in groups. I appreciate the guidance of this book as it helps to frame growth potential within communities, families and individuals.
Strengthening our God-given talent while thrillingly exercising that talent is a goal to keep close, not just for our own joy and gratification, but for the families, communities and world we live in. I am looking forward to playing my part.