Finding Your Element By Ken Robinson Book Summary

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Believe it or not, you are unique: because there will never be another you.

Have you ever considered that two people can get along well but they are actually two different people? Even though twins share the same house, the same school, the same environment,  their choice of friends, movies, books can be totally different.

Even the world’s fastest supercomputer cannot produce a gene makeup as exact as yours. Until now, billions of people have lived and died throughout world history. No one had the exact gene permutations with another human being. So it means that everybody has an exclusive gene permutation, which produces totally different perspectives and physical appearances.

Moreover, scientists proved our sentences above by showing that there are differences arose between twins.

All of us had a friend from the neighborhood, right? With this friend, you shared everything, your food, your book, your time. Have you realized that even though you share the same ideas, you interpret differently?

For instance, one day Mike was on the road to home from school. He saw older boys playing basketball and fascinated about it. Then, he bought a basketball. After that, he wanted to share this fascination with Fred and met him. Yet, Fred wasn’t excited as him, so Mike realized that his fascination was special to him and to that time.

Surely, everybody had a moment like Mike’s and that moment is totally unique and will never occur for anyone ever again.

So, no one in the world will stand at an exact place and exact time with you. In the same way, you will not be present at an exact place and exact time with someone else. Every moment you live in will be yours psychologically, biologically and socially. So, be grateful for your uniqueness.

The future is the possibility that you create for yourself; the moment you live in is the reality, so live in the moment.

Have you ever considered that life is a perfectly-prepared simulation? Grow up, study, graduate, get a job, marry, retire and die. In this simulation, everything starts in ease, gets hard, and becomes a habit. Some people accept this simulation and shape their lives accordingly, some other people think this as a restriction to their freedom.

In an approximately 60-years of simulation, at the 18th age, people are pushed to take an important decision that will affect the rest of their life. Then, in the rest of their life, they live a moderate life by sacrificing important things and die. Consequently, they spend their most energetic times working for a better future.

Living life according to a plan causes missing unexpected opportunities in your life. Actually, these unexpected opportunities are not bad things for they might lead to help you make your life better, or change your life completely. Because this is the fact of life, it is natural and unpredictable. It might be scary for you, but in reality, lots of well-known people’s life is shaped by these unpredictable occasions.

When you start living your life without plans, you will start to see the unexpected opportunities clearly and realize that there are lots of them. Even the author Ken Robinson had an interest in drama and education reform in his academic years. Later on, he started to write and give speeches. He had never thought about writing and giving speeches would give so many opportunities and his life now.

All in all, life is not a simulation. It is not prepared with limited options by someone. There are thousands, even millions of opportunities someone could come across. These opportunities are totally unique and unexpected.

In thousands of things you haven’t tried yet, there might be something that you are successful at it, the only way to know is trying.

To understand the uniqueness of each of us, analyzing human intelligence would be partly enough. Because every one of us is provided with different inborn abilities.

The environment you live in may not give you the opportunity to discover your inborn ability. For instance, if you’ve never played an instrument before, you have no idea about the musical language.

Sometimes, to discover your inborn abilities, you might travel a very long distance. To illustrate, Ali Insan, who born in Malatya, Turkey, migrated to Germany and discovered his ability in violin thanks to his preschool teacher. Then, he participated in a musical contest – 54th Jugend Muzisiert – and won. If he hadn’t migrated to Germany he wouldn’t know his ability.

Cultural values can be the reason why you can’t discover your inborn abilities.

For instance, women are usually known for being very beautiful, having the best voice, cooking the tastiest meals, wearing the latest trends in fashion, so on and so forth. There is a general prejudice about women cannot drive well. However, Danica Sue Patrick is known to be one of the most successful women in the history of US open-wheel racing.

On the other hand, in a society who thinks that a man should be harsh and rude, being ballet is not seen as an appropriate profession for a man. In this society, there might be lots of males who could be the possible greatest ballets of all time, but due to their social values, they might never discover their abilities.

You might feel secure and peaceful in your neighborhood, in your district or in your city. However, if you take the risk to leave these places, you will realize that there is a world with a thousand different opportunities. You will get to know different people, get new hobbies, discover your abilities, learn things that make you happy and feel freer than ever.

Getting a poor grade in a subject gives you the tip that you are successful at some other subject, so don’t let it discourage you, be open to learning new things.

Intelligence tests wouldn’t measure your ability in arts, but if you are already showing your skills in art people would think that you are intelligent. Don’t get upset because of the tests that only measure one intelligence type. In order to discover yourself, try new things as much as you can.  Remember, people believe think that if they can’t succeed in something, other people can’t succeed in it too. Prove them wrong.

Everyone has experienced or witnessed this in primary school: teacher asks a student what he wants to be in the future when he says “carpenter”, his teacher says that he is clever, he should think of being a doctor, or a lawyer. However, being carpenter requires great intelligence too, so the teacher’s perspective is not helpful for that student.

For example, Edison was not a brilliant student, he dropped out the school in his early years. However, his tests on electric led to the illumination of the whole world.

The school tries to educate specific subjects like Maths, English, and Biology to the students. If the students are not successful at these subjects, school labels them as unsuccessful. In fact, in your garage, you can discover your own inborn ability and show it to the world.

Getting a low grade in a subject wouldn’t encourage you to be successful at it, in contrast, it would make you hate that subject, feel unsuccessful and even fear to make mistakes. Moreover, fearing from making mistakes would hamper your creativity in other areas in life.

The school grading system is not a determinant on your abilities. Only you can decide whether you are skillful or not by discovering yourself. A mathematical theory, which is approved by scientists for 100 years, can be disapproved in the 101st year.

You are the only obstacle between you and your full capacity.

Since society shapes our beliefs and perspectives, it might be the reason why we can’t discover our full capacity. Not only society affects, but also our own perspectives are the reason.

To begin with, in your environment people would comment roughly on your abilities and that would intercept using your full capacity. Due to the wish for being the most successful in an area, in other words, racing with each other, might lead to not realize our inborn abilities. Generally, we are the ones who prevent our realization of them. To illustrate, a basketball player might give up playing basketball, for he felt he might not be as great as Michael Jordan.  

Have you ever felt pessimistic about doing something, and later on when you did it, you saw that you were successful at it? I believe, it happened to most of us. If you hadn’t been pessimistic about it and tried harder for it, you wouldn’t lose any time and realize that you were already successful at it.

When you force yourself to have different perspectives, you can improve yourself better and faster than ever. Otherwise, you live your life as if you are a sloth.

We are exposed to intelligence tests, IQ in this context, by society. If you get a low grade, and accept that grade as your “real intelligence grade” and think that it can never be changed, you remain as that person. Instead of that, if you try to beat yourself and study harder, you can get a higher grade from that “intelligence test”. You are your own boss, so you need to be pushing yourself for better, not accepting the low grade from a stupid intelligence test.

In this way to improving yourself, personality assessment tests can become your fellow traveler. Even though they can’t describe you absolutely, they give you some tips about you and leads you to discover and improve yourself. In these days, 16 Personality Types is one of the popular tests and you can take it online.

Find permanent enthusiasts that you can dedicate yourself to; these will keep you mentally and physically healthy.

Dedicating yourself to things, have a great effect on you and what you do. However, what you are dedicating yourself to should not be something temporary. When you have permanent feelings, developing yourself becomes easier and faster than ever. Dedicating yourself is the most essential part of developing yourself.

Have you ever considered why talented people lose yourself on what they perform, and how they feel every bit of what they do? They perform whatever they do as if they are in a movie scene which is being shot in slow motion. You should be dedicating yourself to things, just like they do. You should feel in it in your brain, in all your body. When you do that, you will realize that the time will tick away.

These things I mentioned above are scientifically proven facts. When you dedicate yourself to anything, you will be totally focused, thus any other thing that makes you stressed or uncomfortable fade away in those passionate emotions. Also, not only mentally, but also physically benefits such as relieving pains, sleeping disorders, addiction recoveries are seen.

You might be having difficulties finding your passions. However, you will have a great time while you trying to find them. Try things that you had no idea but curious about, search your interested subjects, areas whatsoever. Simply, start playing an instrument, if you are playing one, start to another. Read different book genres that you haven’t read before.

Eventually, you will find your passion somehow and it will make you peaceful and happy. Don’t forget that unknowns are not bad all the time.

Don’t mind the preconcerted ideas about happiness, all that matters is how you perceive happiness.

Lots of people know that happiness varies from person to person. Even though this is purely true, society perceives happiness as having richness and beauty. Yet, this is not even true. To illustrate, if you are too rich but have no goals in your life, you sink into despair. On the other hand, if you are too beautiful, people would only like you because of your appearance. These are temporary feelings of happiness.

Let’s dig into the richness subject. It is a crystal-clear fact that money solves some problems, but it mostly leads you to take the easy way out and prevents you to improve yourself by experiencing new things.

Even in the richest countries happiness rates are higher than the poor countries. So isn’t this proving what I mentioned before? It is nice to have lots of money, but if you haven’t got rich in your personality, what’s the use of having that green?

Learning how to manage your time can make great contributions to you. Don’t fall into the error of seeing your dedication as a moneymaker. It doesn’t have to bring you money, the point of your dedication is to make you happy. Hence, if you insist on earning money from it, you might waste your time. It could always be your free-time activity that makes you feel happy.

Feeling disconcerted of your work and wanting to go have fun afterward, or getting sick of school and wishing to spend the weekend in a forest makes some people happy in short-term. Instead of those, planning to do something in the long-term makes you feel happier than the other wishes you had when you get tired of things in your daily life.

For instance, spending 1 hour every evening for a puzzle or a lego project not only makes you happy but also makes you feel accomplished when you finish it. Dealing with these helps you to realize your real worth.

Also, feeding and petting street cats or dogs that you see every day makes you feel really happy. Most people feel happy by doing these. They spend their weekends in a shelter as a volunteer worker and feed, help, and pet animals. These people not only make animals happy and peaceful but also make themselves delighted and relaxed.

With the help of a group having the same passions with you, you can see your goals easily.

Talking to other people about your dedications is useful for lots of people. Sharing your passions with others and vice versa leads you to have more than one idea about that area. So, not only sharing your passion to someone is exciting, but also it helps you on developing yourself.

We are living in the Internet Age, which means that we can both find the information we need and the giver of that information. When you want to learn something, you can ask about that subject on the internet forums to the thousands of forum users. By talking with them you can exchange ideas, and even create a project together.

For example, when you couldn’t put a lego brick to anywhere in your lego project, or there is a missing brick, you can always search on the internet about how to put it in that project, or find someone who has and able to give you that brick. With this way, your passion may get more exciting and funnier.

These internet forums and forum users can be very necessary sometimes, Let’s say you want to make a big project, but to be able to finish it on your own, you would have to work on it for years, maybe a decade. In situations like this, getting help from people who embraced your ideas leads you to finish it earlier.

While working together, you may forget something, someone reminds you; someone may miss a point and you may help him. Most importantly, when you finish it and want to show it to the world, these forums and other platforms help you to spread it.

In conclusion, sometimes you need to find a community sharing your dedications, it is helpful, as well as required for you and the other people in that community.

Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life by Ken Robinson Book Review

For the sake of your improving, you should give yourself time. The more you give yourself time, the more you will see your talents and recognize yourself. This would be a big step for you.

One of the ways to explore your unknown talents is to turn back the time you saw yourself as a failure, or when someone labeled you as unsuccessful in something. For instance, most probably you will see that you could solve a Maths question that you couldn’t solve before.

Schools evaluate the students from a very narrow point of view. Their physical or mental state at that moment is ignored during tests. If a student fails in the language test, he is labeled as a failure in language. However, that student could have a big potential of being a fluent speaker. Since there are limited learning styles used in schools, students are not evaluated credibly.

A human being may have positive thoughts about a subject, but a week later, the same human may think negatively about the same subject. This is proof that shows us our way of thinking does not stay the same and it is always in the variation mode. Schools disregard this fact and use boring teaching styles to expose students to monotonous pieces of information.

You can’t blame the fish for not living when it is outside of the fish tank. Also, you can’t swim blame anyone for not swimming as good as fish.

Speaking of swimming, people would mock with you while you were a kid for not swimming. Maybe the same people would tell the same thing now. However, you shouldn’t be scared of swimming because of this. You should push yourself to swim, but in a safe environment, of course. Think about the deficiencies that people told you before, examine them, and beat them.

When you keep scared of the unknown, they would stay there for the rest of your life as a mystery. Instead of that, you should be brave enough to confront them, because as the author Jen Sincero says: “The key to growth is acknowledging your fear of the unknown and jumping in anyway.”

By putting a bold face on and sail to the unknown, you may explore undiscovered islands. In this case, the islands are your inborn talents, and the unknown is the sea of opportunities. Try the things that you haven’t tried, but be safe at the same time. You will see how vast and fascinating is the world.

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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile:

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