The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything has inspired readers all over the world and has created for Robinson an intensely devoted following. Now comes the long-awaited companion Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life, the practical guide that helps people find their own Element. Among the questions that this new book answers are:
- How do I find out what my talents and passions are?
- What if I love something I’m not good at?
- What if I’m good at something I don’t love?
- What if I can’t make a living from my Element?
- How do I do help my children find their Element?
All quests involve risks and you can’t anticipate them all
They involve opportunities too and you can’t foresee all of those, either. You can only set a direction and take the first steps. You then need to stay open to risks and to possibilities and be willing to respond to both.
This is how the creative process works and how organic processes take their shape. Martin Luther King had just this in mind when he said, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
How long do you think your journey may be?
Fortunately, we normally don’t know. But if all goes well, you may live for eighty, ninety or maybe a hundred years. That might seem a long time if you’re currently bored or frustrated with your life. But in cosmic terms, it’s less than a heartbeat.
Do you hope to enjoy your life or just endure it?
Someone once said that whenever you see the dates of someone’s life the most important part is the dash in the middle. What did they do to fill the dash? It’s a good question to ask yourself.
Regrets in life
Brownie Ware is a writer who worked for many years in palliative care. Her patients suffered from incurable conditions and knew they were dying. She took care of them during the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
When she asked her patients whether they had any regrets in their lives or if they would have done anything differently, a number of themes came up again and again. These are the most common ones:
→I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back on it, they often realize how many of their dreams have been unfulfilled.
→I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
This came from every male patient that she nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.
→I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people supressed their feelings to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a life they didn’t want and never became who they could have been.
→I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.
Many people didn’t appreciate the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down.
→I wish I had let myself be happier.
Many people didn’t realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits.
Lessons for those with much of their lives still ahead of them:
- HONOR YOUR DREAMS. It’s important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. Take the opportunities you have, especially when your health is good.
- REDUCE THE BURDEN. By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to reduce what you think you need to earn and have to live a fulfilling life.
- VALUE YOUR OWN LIFE AND YOUR FEELINGS. You can’t control the reactions of others. Although people may initially react badly when you speak honestly about your feelings, in the end it raises the relationships to a new and healthier level.
- VALUE THOSE YOU LOVE. When people are facing their approaching death, they want to get their financial affairs in order if possible, but in the final recknoning, it’s not money or status what really matters. In the final weeks, it all comes down to love and relationships.
And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
~ANAIS NIN, Risk.
Complement Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life with Pursue Life, Liberty, and Meaningfulness. In Are You Fully Charged?, Tom Rath reveals the three keys that matter most for our daily health and well-being, as well as our engagement in our work.