It seems I’ve been lost in my “Element” (a nod to Ken Robinson) recently and haven’t made time to update my blog, which is rather remis of me.
What do I mean by being lost in my “Element”, well it’s when you’re doing something and time just seems to go on forever. You’re really enjoying what you’re doing so much that you also lose track of time. I’ve been working with Clients so much recently, which is always so engaging, that I’ve not made time for much else alongside my family.
I want to explore a little more the idea of being in/ finding your “element”, I totally recommend Ken Robinson’s book. It’s pretty short, full of good stuff and very enjoyable. There’s a fair smattering of humour in there to keep you smiling while also musing the points he makes. To clarify on the idea of “element” it might be renamed talent/skill/aptitude or just doing something you really enjoy. What I like about Ken’s take on it, is that although he’s coming from an education background, the ideas he presents are applicable to all areas of life.
So often I find books/articles are written to only appeal to a certain segment or area of life, such as work, social or perhaps family life. These set of ideas are about unlocking your potential at anytime in any space. It might be that your element lies in your free time and you still need to do a job that you’re not so keen on, but at least the pursuit of your “element” outside of this time alows you to feel fulfilled. This goes hand in hand with my own pursuit for everyone of contentment. That feeling that life overall is pretty good. We can all acknowledge that things go wrong, are hard or sometimes are just dull. However if you can balance this with parts of life that feel exciting, interesting and fulfilling then you get to feel overall things aren’t bad.
In order to find your element or if your lucky elements, is to allow yourself to notice what feels good. It can really be anything, but you’ve got to recognise it and also allow yourself to do it. It is finding something you really want to do and to go with it. Not find reasons why you can’t or that dreaded word “should” do something else. Once you find the thing you really feel like doing just go for it. One of my favourite “stories” in Ken’s book is when he was talking to a freind who was a drummer and said to him “I wish I could play the drums”, the friend said to Ken, “no you don’t, because if you did, you’d just do it.” This strikes me with so many people I meet, that often they really want to do something, but hold themselves back. Either they feel the “should” do something more “productive” or “useful”, or that enjoying themselves is a waste of time. That there wouldn’t be a litteral “pay off”.
This of course leads to another issue we humans love to contemplate, that there has to be a “Purpose” or material reason for doing something. I’ll cover this in another blog. I want to say though, that it feels great to just have fun. So often having fun as an adult is seen as “childish” and thus demeaning. But why? Surely having fun is one of the greatest pleasures anyone can have. There is surely time for both serious stuff and more lighthearted and fun stuff. Imagine having a job you really enjoyed, made time to do a sport you love, read that book you’ve been meaning to or watch that TV show everyone’s recommended. Why not?
But this has got me slightly off topic, as Ken’s true meaning around “The element” is to find that thing you’re really good at and allow yourself to get better and better. To make changes in your life to accomodate being able to do it. If you want to be a dancer, be a dancer, you might not be able to make a living from it, but it might bring you great joy and will enhance your experience of living. If you love maths, great, find a role that involves numbers and relish the chance to do it everyday. It’s about putting yourself in a place that will allow you to express what you’re good at and what you enjoy.
As always, take your time, think and feel what you’d like to do, in any aspect of your life. Then go and make the required changes. If it turns out you don’t like it so much, then do something else until you find what really fits. This is after all, about you making the most of you.