what is my element?


Yes, I look silly. No, I don’t care.

Sir Ken Robinson, in his book, The Element, discusses the idea of this elusive concept as the intersection of natural talents and passions. He says that it is at this intersection that you can be the best version of yourself, be most successful and be happiest. He gives various examples of people who have discovered their Element and flourished, from dancers to musicians to cartoonists. I won’t give away the meat of the book – borrow it from a library if you’re interested, but it was a great push for me to search for my Element.

It took me a while to figure out what mine is, or are, since I think everyone really has several.

But I think I’ve narrowed it down.

  • Creativity/New Ideas – I can think of a million and one ideas on any given day. Now, following through on those ideas is another matter. I’m a starter, not a finisher.
  • Enthusiasm/Humor – I get incredibly invested in my ideas, or anything I care about, and can be the most enthusiastic and energetic person there is. I’m also told I’m very funny. I do know that I love funny things and will always be the one trying to lighten things up.
  • Writing/Language – I once took one of those types of intelligence tests and scored strongest on the linguistic side. Which makes sense, seeing as that is my major. I love words, grammar, writing, reading, blogging, and anything word related.

Perhaps because I think I’ve already discovered my dream job of teaching, I can see how well my strengths complement that discipline. Think about it; when teaching, I get to do something different every day or week, I get to create enthusiasm and use humor (best way to teach kids, after all), and I get to work with language and writing as an ESL teacher. Perfect! I hate doing the same thing over and over again for a long time, so a job where I have to come up with new ideas constantly and utilize them in a fun way sounds like heaven!

Finding how my talents and the things I enjoy work together has been a huge blessing. I know so many people who are working at jobs they hate, never getting enough time to spend on what they enjoy. What a drag! I looked at their lives and then looked at how my life could go; picket fence and suburbs and all, and it felt like I was being suffocated. But looking at my life in Korea as an elementary ESL teacher and blogger, well, looks like a field of daises with unicorns and fluffy cats and milk tea trees and clouds that rain coffee. Or something like that. All the best things in the world.

This book was enormously helpful. Yes, I probably could have figured all this out on my own, but having a guide and being able to read accounts of other people who’ve discovered their dreams just puts the wind right in my sails. I get so inspired to find inspiration. I also appreciate how Sir Robinson emphasizes the lack of higher education most of these people had. I’ve always believed you don’t need a degree to be happy or successful. If only the Korean education system agreed with me.