Element: What you are good at and what you like to do
Last week my classmates and I were assigned to read “The Element” written by Ken Robinson. The assignment was for the entrepreneurship elective that we chose to take during our semester here. What lured me into this class was the sole reason that I am in college today. I want to start my own business. But in order for me be able to achieve my goal, I need to gain some expertise in how to go about accomplishing it. And as I was reading this book, the question was as simple as “What is your Element?”
It opened my eyes and allowed me to search within myself. Being in your element means that you are doing something you love and are also good at. It introduced many examples where people have accidentally stumbled into a hobby and turned into a career. Therefore, many of the people in the book are not only working and getting paid, but they are doing something they love. And when you begin to do something you love, it doesn’t feel like work.
As I was reading it, I could not help but to obsessively try to figure out what my element was. I became so engulfed by this book, that I could not pay attention in class. It literally took over most of my day. Another reason why it turned into an obsession is that many of the people mentioned started to work on their element at an early age. For example, I felt like my life turned into a countdown and I needed to find my element soon or else I will be doomed with a 9-5 job that I regret having. Looking back now, this book hacked my life therefore, affecting me personally.
A powerful book like “The Element” went after the school system and how it kills the creativity that children are born with. Robinson has also presented this same dilemma in his TED talk. His talk titled “Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity” is basically summed up in the last fifty pages of his book in which I agree with 100%. We have an education system that is infatuated with preparing children for tests. And as Robinson suggests, these assessments are only testing children based on one test, when in reality a student’s overall intelligence cannot be measured in such a way. The school system is obsessed with quantifying children’s abilities that they suck all the creativity away from them. This in turn shuts down their ability to find their own element.
Recently, there have been disputes about schools depleting the arts all together. I cannot help to be extremely concerned. When I was in high school, my dance class was only required to be taken for two years, but because it offered me with an escape, I took all four. I have always loved my dance classes and interestingly enough, I also liked math. These were two time periods that made me feel completely focused and enriched. If dance was not offered in school, I would have felt like a prisoner during each class period.
So the question is: what is my element? Through the two years I have been in college, I have been hopelessly trying to find it with no success. Although I still love dance and math, I cannot help but to think that there is something else that makes me tick and I have yet to find it. But that may not always be true. For now, if this question was presented to me and I had no time to think, I would say that:
“When I am in the dance room, choreographing and when I work on algebraic functions with my music on, I am in my Element.”