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An Interview With Sir Ken Robinson

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Born to a working class family in Liverpool, England, Sir Ken Robinson overcame childhood polio and paralysis to become a New York Times best-selling author and internationally recognized leader on creativity and human potential. The videos of his 2006 and 2010 TED talks have been viewed more than 25 million times. We talked about his new book, Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life.

Karen: People come to Etsy from all walks of life. Some are life-time artists, some are in second or third careers, some are general enthusiasts. But like people everywhere, they often have questions: “Am I doing the right thing with my life? Can I make a living doing something I love?” or even, “If I follow a dream, am I being true to myself or just foolish?” What would you suggest to someone who has these kinds of questions?

Sir Ken: Well, the original book I wrote, The Element, is based on the recognition that an awful lot of people don’t have a sense of what their true talents are. They might be good at something, but they don’t necessarily enjoy it. Then, there are people who seemed to be living the life they should be living, doing things they love to do and are good at — that’s what I call being in your Element. The question I was always asked was, “If I haven’t found my Element, how can I?” So I addressed to this new book to those people.

The quest for your Element is really a two-way journey: an inner journey to explore what lies within you — to get away from the world of constant clutter, noise, distraction, and criticism — and an outward journey to explore opportunities in the world around you. I provide practical exercises in the book to help.

karen_brown_randy_parsons_guitars

David Aldrich

Red Queen guitar by Parsons Guitars

Karen: In Finding Your Element, you show that sometimes working with your Element is about finding the right form for your passion. You have a wonderful story in the book about Randy Parsons.

Sir Ken: Yes, Randy wanted to become a rock star when he was in high school, but realized it probably wouldn’t be the route for him. He sold all his guitars and gave up music entirely. Then, years later, one morning in the shower it hit him like a lightning bolt. He immediately ran out and bought some tools and set up a woodworking shop in his basement, without any idea of what he was doing. He worked passionately for two years and then became an apprentice. Now he operates several guitar-making studios and makes guitars for people like Jack White and Jimmy Page. He never lost his passion for music, and it became his quest to find the right form for it to take.

It’s important to mention, however, that some people don’t even want to make a living with their Element. The point is, whether you make money with your Element or not, that you find balance in your life by fulfilling your talents and passion.

Karen: In the quest to find our Element, what is the role of risk-taking, experimentation, and making mistakes?

Sir Ken: I do not think people should be foolhardy, of course, but some risk is inevitable. Getting up in the morning is a risk. Chances are, if your life is like most people’s, there has been a certain amount of chaos. I mean, a resumé is a narrative applied to your life to make it look deliberate and intentional, although it probably wasn’t. I write in the book about how to take stock of what is appropriate risk for your circumstances. And it needn’t always be a massive risk. For example, Randy didn’t throw his entire life away — he started by going down to the hardware store and buying a few tools. You simply can’t always know where it will lead you. You can start small and see how it goes.

Karen: Is there an age barrier, a stopping point at which if you haven’t found your Element it’s time to consider other things?

Sir Ken: No, I don’t think so. Not if you’re still drawing breath. As we get older, we experience changes in our bodies, of course. I am 63, and I don’t think I’ll do the 100 meters in the Olympics. But it often means we just need to think a little more creatively. Some of the most creative things in life — crafts, art, painting, music, writing — have no age limit.

Karen: I wrote an Etsy story last year on homeschooling. A mother I interviewed said she wanted her daughter “to dream her own dreams and not someone else’s.” Do you think education today can stifle dreams and if so, how can parents help their children find their Element?

Sir Ken: Education can be stifling, no question about it. One of the reasons is that education — and American education in particular, because of the standardization — is the opposite of three principles I have outlined: it does not emphasize diversity or individuality; it’s not about awakening the student, it’s about compliance; and it has a very linear view of life, which is simply not the case with life at all. I am for personalizing education to the greatest degree possible. Homeschooling is good for those who want it and can afford it, but it isn’t for everyone, and for most people I would say the best shot is the public education system. I believe the majority of people in public education also feel trapped and want to make it better. So there are opportunities for parents and educators to meet to work on improving the system.

Karen: Have you found your Element?

Sir Ken: Yes, for me it is communicating and working with people. When I was at university, my wife Terry said she could tell when I had a day of meetings and administrative work because I came home looking ten years older. When I was working with people or directing plays, she said I looked ten years younger. When the time passes quickly and your spirits are lifted — when you feel ten years younger, so to speak — that’s when you know you are in your Element.

Watch the most viewed TED Talk of all time: Sir Ken Robinson delivering “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”

More Posts From Karen

Karen Brown is an award-winning designer and creative director of the Center for Ecoliteracy. Her work has been included in the Smithsonian Institution and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and featured in The New York Times, Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, and on Today on NBC. She believes that the handmade movement is a fundamental force for transforming society and the economy.

  • catarinamonteiro1

    Catarina Monteiro from StylesBiju says:

    Congratulations. Great interview. For me, the best part is "The point is, whether you make money with your Element or not, that you find balance in your life by fulfilling your talents and passion".

    1 year ago

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    Matejka Max from NattyMatty says:

    Rock On!!!

    1 year ago

  • baroquedoll

    baroquedoll says:

    great post. I totally agree on the part about the education system: it does nothing to bring out your own creativity. I discovered later and by myself that I could be an artist because nobody noticed I was in love with photos, with poetry, or that I have taste for "avantgarde" clothing - even if I was dressing in a diffent way all the time..so it was harder for me to realize how I really felt

    1 year ago

  • maggiesraggedyinn

    Mary Robertson from MaggiesInn says:

    This post has made me happy as I have decided to change the direction of my life at the ripe old age of 56. I have lived a life away from who I was and what I wanted to do.. This story is just what I needed to read today.. thank you so much!!!!

    1 year ago

  • hatwitch

    Wendi from mizdarlinhats says:

    What this man has to say is valuable, and certainly true for me..at 64, after a lifetime of 'careers' that I hated, I now create, and sell my work, at various craft/farmers' markets throughout my area..and the interaction (and appreciation) with people is as important as the selling, perhaps more important. Creation is all about process..afterwards, at the finish, all you can think about is the next project..so the interaction with those who might potentially purchase and use your product, is something I look forward to. last week, a wonderful man bought a necklace from me; he came back later to tell me that his adult daughter (it was to be a present for her) cried when she opened the gift...no amount of money or accolades could have made me any happier that day...

    1 year ago

  • seasidecloth

    seasidecloth from seasidecloth says:

    Education is stifling ? Isn't your video educational? No reason to criticize a free American education system that attempts to process millions of children who arrive here from myriad countries with the hope of realizing the dreams that you speak of in your video. It's not up to the school to discover what your child's potential is; that is primarily the responsibility of the parents, the family and child itself. Awareness starts from within.

    1 year ago

  • PennyBirchWilliams

    Penny Birch-Williams from PennyBirchWilliams says:

    Sir Ken's new book sounds very interesting and I hope to read it. I am one who has always known what my 'Element' is, in art and writing primarily. But I have known many people who don't believe they are creative in any sense of the word, or that they have any special talents. I think parents and schools too often squash the seeds of creativity under the weight of conforming to expectations and standardization. I homeschooled my two kids for these very reasons and it was a fantastic experience for our family. Both kids, in college now, are creative in different ways (one is a dancer, one is a computer guru) and able to think outside of the box. The TED speech is great; funny and so true. Thanks for sharing this interview.

    1 year ago

  • dizhasneatstuff

    deb fearon from dizhasneatstuff says:

    As a highly visual creative person, I struggled in school and desperately wanted to drop out. I stayed but sacrificed my artist dreams and any hope of making a living being who I was. It's been a long difficult road back to hang out with that imaginative child within. Wish Sir Ken Robinson had been invited to a dinner party at my childhood home!

    1 year ago

  • CelesteCraft

    Celeste from CelesteCraft says:

    I'll have to go find his book. I'm happiest when my life is varied with activities that nourish different parts of myself. I day where I have been a dancer, designer, leader, teacher and team member is a wonderful day for me!

    1 year ago

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie says:

    What a great interview!!!

    1 year ago

  • cottonbirddesigns
  • ikabags

    IKA PARIS from ikabags says:

    Great post ! Thanks !

    1 year ago

  • Ebrown2503

    Eleanore from FiberBeads says:

    Love this Ted talk! Great interview!

    1 year ago

  • richdon1

    Rich and Dona from TheCottageMouse says:

    I agree with the first post by catarina. You have to work to at what you love and what you are good at with passion. I stated before that I squint all day with my back bent painting and wonder is it worth it. But when I step back and see what I created it makes me smile. When I look at my own shop page it make me proud to think others are viewing and maybe enjoying my work as well. I may not be Picasso but I am doing what I love and something I was never taught to do. Once again, life is about inner peace and if creating give you that feeling it is well worth the work.

    1 year ago

  • LAccentNou

    Anastasia from LAccentNou says:

    Awesome words!

    1 year ago

  • Oldnewhome

    Monika St from MUNIshop says:

    Love this interview:) It is so close to me and to everyone in Etsy.

    1 year ago

  • NirvanaRoad

    Lisa from NirvanaRoad says:

    This was a really interesting feature and certainly food for thought! I have always felt that artistic technique can be taught but that creativity comes from the soul!

    1 year ago

  • TheMotivatedType

    TheMotivatedType from TheMotivatedType says:

    Karen you did an amazing job bringing such concise and inspiring points from Sir Ken Robinson! Thanks so much for sharing this his amazing TED talks. His new book promises to be very insightful, particularly in so far as it speaks directly to the ambitions of so many in the Etsy community. Truly inspired :)

    1 year ago

  • HabitNation

    Rebecca and Daniel from HabitNation says:

    I wholeheartedly enjoyed this interview and especially the video. Thank you for sharing.

    1 year ago

  • anniethwaytes

    Annie Thwaytes from AnnieThwaytes says:

    An inspiring interview that touched a nerve with me. In the last 10 months I have finally changed my career (to be a gardener) which has in turn freed up my mind for my creative work. I might be skint but I've never felt so happy!

    1 year ago

  • christineshmisteen

    CHRISTINE SHMISTEEN from TheArtOfFinerThings says:

    "start small and see how it goes". Live by it.

    1 year ago

  • lovelygifts

    Linda from lovelygifts says:

    Great article!

    1 year ago

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage says:

    Wonderful motivating article!

    1 year ago

  • NicolasKnitKnacks

    Nicola and Jessica Belton from CelticKnittingCo says:

    Great interview, enjoyed the read!

    1 year ago

  • lilyblueboston

    Caitlin and Lily Edge from lilyblues says:

    Great interview.

    1 year ago

  • admspeicher
  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage says:

    Wonderful. There is hope!

    1 year ago

  • genisepark

    Genise Park from genisepark says:

    Thank-you for that post! It is exactly what I have been telling my kids for a long time. Pick something that you like to do in life an area that interest you in college. Who knows where it is going to take you. Let it be something that you can be happy about when getting up in the morning to do. Who wants to do something they hate for years. Life is just too short. As I always say follow your heart that will lead you to great things.

    1 year ago

  • DonKatChaLLC

    DonKatCha from DonKatChaLLC says:

    very timely article... in the throws of defining my element at the moment...

    1 year ago

  • sommervilleglass

    sommervilleglass from SommervilleGlass says:

    Great interview!

    1 year ago

  • JohnMetBetty

    Jillian Darnell from JohnMetBetty says:

    Great article! I've done the education thing and often wondered what was wrong with me as I was never focused. I attended University for 3 years (for fine arts) but couldn't find my place which was frustrating because I had always been incredibly artistic. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't find my niche and floundered around for years. After school I went to work in retail and suddenly something struck me. I became passionate about fashion design. I worked my way up the ladder from retail sales associate to assistant fashion designer and shortly thereafter returned to school for fashion design. I think it is really important to find something you're truly passionate about and then pursue it with all you have.

    1 year ago

  • MagpiesHaunt

    Kath Burrows from MagpiesHaunt says:

    Very interesting interview. I agree that what we consider 'traditional' education in schools can be conformist, standarised and stiffling especially for creative types.

    1 year ago

  • nativestrandsjewelry

    Rachel from PeppersJewelry says:

    Great article and interview!

    1 year ago

  • deekish

    Deeksha Lakshmi from TheColorWagon says:

    Interesting interview. I'm sure the book will be a good read too.

    1 year ago

  • sanibelsands

    Karen from sanibelsands says:

    Great interview.

    1 year ago

  • John8eight

    Michelle from SimplyJoiDesigns says:

    Coming from an inner city public school background, I was always told that I would never make it as an artist. Teachers would tell me to be 'realistic' and do something that made real money like being a nurse or dental assistance. It takes a lot of guts and strength to survive the public school system with your 'inner artist' still alive. Life is not a rat race or a fight to get the job that pays the most, because as our economy has shown that 'big bucks' job can disappear overnight. If you are not following your passion and doing what you love, no amount of money will make you happy. I believe that when you are doing what you truly love, the money you need will follow.

    1 year ago

  • Nemki

    Nemki from nemki says:

    Love this.

    1 year ago

  • BohemianThings

    Elaine from BohemianThings says:

    Great article/video. Thank you for the post. As a person who struggled in school, I have always been stronger creatively than academically, which is okay because I've always know that there is a place in the world for creative minds.

    1 year ago

  • alanazak

    Alana Owens from oZdOinGItagaiN says:

    Very nice! Enjoyed it very much! Thank you!

    1 year ago

  • thelollipopstop

    Hannah Furman from TheLollipopStop says:

    Wow, this has always been my favorite TED talk! So cool that it is on Etsy for everyone else to see. :) I really agree with the homeschooling thing, I have been doing it for a couple years now and have had a lot more time to work on my jewelry.

    1 year ago

  • flourishingagain

    Lacey from FlourishingAgain says:

    Thanks so much for the encouraging post! A great reminder that starting slow is okay and your Element doesn't have to be your income. Loving what you do and taking the journey to find it is more important.

    1 year ago

  • WhisperingOak

    Quality Handmade Items from WhisperingOak says:

    This is so interesting. I feel like going to my library and finding this book to read in one sitting.

    1 year ago

  • vintagehappinesstime

    Vintage Happiness Time from VintageHappinessTime says:

    There was so much I liked about this article. I decided to become a Librarian late in life. There is no time limit on living your dreams. I want to read his book too :)

    1 year ago

  • jessgreenleaf

    Jess Greenleaf from GREENLEAFblueberry says:

    I agree that education can, ironically, be stifling. I like the idea of being a student for life, independently pursuing interests.

    1 year ago

  • HandpaintedThreads

    Maureen from HandpaintedThreads says:

    Thanks for posting this article. Enjoyed it very much.

    1 year ago

  • jibbyandjuna

    genevieve williamson from jibbyandjuna says:

    Dear Sir Ken, Can not begin to explain what your books have meant to me! Thank you! - Genevieve

    1 year ago

  • BarnshopAntiques

    Carol Bender from BarnshopAntiques says:

    Great interview, thanks.

    1 year ago

  • HouseOfMirth

    Nerrissa McKee from CoilandSlab says:

    Very insightful. I was lucky enough to attend public schools that encouraged the arts, like pottery, painting, music, sewing, cooking, jewelry making & sculpture. My stepson is not so lucky.

    1 year ago

  • AbleAprons

    Erika Kelly from PortlandApronCompany says:

    Love this! He's right, we need to remember it's OK to make mistakes!

    1 year ago

  • jmariesf

    Jessica Blevins from JMariejewelrySF says:

    wonderful article. thank you so much!

    1 year ago

  • susio

    Susanne Ryan from TheFeltedGnomeKnows says:

    I was 47 years old before I found my element. Though I always felt like I was an artist I could not find my medium for expression. It was by chance that I found wool sculpting. Thank goodness I did, life is to short to not love what you are doing, and I love what I am doing now. It makes me a happier fulfilled person and by being so, I support the people around me to find their element.

    1 year ago

  • GeorgieGirlLLC

    D George from GeorgieGirlLLC says:

    Great interview!! Thanks!!

    1 year ago

  • lauriemills

    Laurie Mills from lauriemills says:

    I really recommend everyone to watch Ken Robinson's "Changing Education Paradigms". Look for the RSA Animate version on YouTube, as it's perfect for us visual learners. Basically, it's a whiteboard animation of Mr. Robinson's TED talk on education. It is extremely powerful. In fact, one friend's school district recommended it to its parents. Wish more would do the same! Sadly, my own kids' elementary school cut out art and music for budget reasons. So extremely shortsighted.

    1 year ago

  • Aristocrafts

    Aristocrafts from Aristocrafts says:

    Wonderful interview and article! I found my Element thanks to Etsy, and now I know it's called my "Element" thanks to Sir Ken Robinson :)!

    1 year ago

  • HappyEarthTea

    Niraj Lama from HappyEarthTea says:

    I wonder if you can more than one Element, if I can actually be in my Elements?

    1 year ago

  • DigitalCS

    Mercedes from DigitalCS says:

    I loved this interview! Thank you, Sir Ken Robinson!

    1 year ago

  • evesand

    Eve Sand from evesand says:

    Wonderful interview! Just talked to a friend today who's struggling to find his Element. Interesting how when you ask a question answers seem to come up from everywhere :) I'll make sure to recommend Sir Ken's book to him. Thank you!

    1 year ago

  • LaBIGI

    Ilaria Bigelli from BeRough says:

    I read the book a few months ago, while I was doing a job that I didn't love. The Element gave me so much inspiration although few answers ...but some months later I started my experience on etsy ... maybe is not a coincidence!!! :)

    1 year ago

  • regmarlo

    regmarlo from lovegrade says:

    very interested in reading the book and learning more. this interview couldn't have come at a better moment. :) it's worthwhile to take the time and find your element.. you only live once! thank you!

    1 year ago

  • emily8150

    emily from emilyemilyjewelry says:

    really like your post , i agree it is no age barrier for finding the element . and also is not easy or maybe do not know which is our element , but think sometimes when we do somethings is not our element in order to find our elemment , sounds try the things not we are so can know what we are . and also happy can get the views from Sir ken about the story of Randy , " I do not think people should be foolhardy, of course, but some risk is inevitable." , we can be more carefully and try small steps and see how it goes on . and also agree the view with our education , looks should bve standard answer , and also the peoples life around us , in fact , even small creatity or idea can let us defferent , and the point is "we know and belive we have our own element , and also can be after it " . know a best way to know which way can easy to find my element :" when i do it found i am younger ten years " for me , maybe is not talk with people too much , i prefer read and wirte or create somethings . thanks Karen and Sir ken !

    1 year ago

  • StudioYTE

    StudioYTE from StudioYTE says:

    Thank you for this post! I've listened to his lectures on Ted many a times, and am always inspired...

    1 year ago

  • pinksnakejewelry

    pinksnakejewelry from pinksnakejewelry says:

    Great Post!! Curious about what more he has to say!

    1 year ago

  • glynniskillen

    Diane and Glynnis from DiGiJewels says:

    Really terrific article! TED should be in the schools!

    1 year ago

  • gossamer531

    Gossamer Tearoom from TheGossamerTearoom says:

    Very interesting reading. I am fascinated by the story of Randy Parsons and am particularly interested in the idea that it is never too late to find your Element! What good news this is to the "older than 30" folks, like myself! I have this idea, what with the potential changes coming to retirement and Social Security, that wouldn't it be ideal to find your perfect vocation, that you practiced yourself (no bosses but yourself!), and made sufficient money doing it that you could postpone your "retirement" and just do what you were meant to do for the rest of your life? I don't think this is just a pipe dream, I think it is entirely do-able! Thank you for the further inspiration for my dream!

    1 year ago

  • IsabellaDiSclafani

    Isabella Di Sclafani from IsabellaDiSclafani says:

    Excellent interview and quite inspiring. Thank you!

    1 year ago

  • BeaconMills

    Patrick from BeaconMills says:

    That's right Gossamer T.! Finding your Element is the same as taking the path of least resistance - if it feels right you have to go with it. Happiness (often times health as well) comes from being in your Element, believing in it and living without the stress and pressures of our common society. Ah, but what do I know. I may be poor but I have my health and I have found my Element.

    1 year ago

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger says:

    I want to read his books...Love this interview..So inspiring ....

    1 year ago

  • WomanShopsWorld

    Carter Seibels Singh from WomanShopsWorld says:

    THIS is an awesome interview, a lovely ray of light. Thank you etsy - for this, and for helping so many of us to find, and to be in, our element! OX~

    1 year ago

  • irinisklavounou

    irini from IrinisWorld says:

    Karen, you make some great posts. I spent my first fifteen years suffering from 'learning disabilities' until i was inspired to make a book bag out of the sleeve of an old fur coat which i sold to a classmate. I quit school, bought a leather punch and a pair of scissors and have now been a happily self employed artisan for the past forty five years. Every few years i throw it all into the air and start up something new and my latest move is selling metalwork on etsy.....Who needs stressed out mediocrity? Bring on the risk and lets all enjoy interesting lives. TEN YEARS YOUNGER IS THE WAY TO GO.

    1 year ago

  • nightcloud

    Catharina from nightcloud says:

    brilliant -- may many Etsyans feel encouraged to make the 'needed mistakes' to be creative and create their happiness!

    1 year ago

  • lauramazzariol1

    Laura Mazzariol from shesimplyhandmade says:

    Nowadays it is fundamental to find "your Element" thought not easy! Thank you for this interesting interview.

    1 year ago

  • SoulRole

    Nancy Campbell from SoulRole says:

    Mahalo mahalo mahalo!I first came across Sir Ken Robinson like many of us-via the Ted talk "do schools kill creativity" and at the time was deep in the throws of helping to convert our failing local public school to an innovative charter school.School almost killed my creativity and when I had children it was clear there was no room for creativity what so ever for them ,so a group of us worked very hard and I am happy to say we are just finishing our first year as a charter school.We have a long road ahead of us but now we have some room to breathe and the creative opportunities abound.In my rural community most students do not go on to college and my hope is that we can open up their minds to all the wonders,and all the elements they each bring to the community and to nurture the gifts they have to share.Maybe this coming school year for one of our free after school programs I will do an intro to high school kids to selling their handmade work on Etsy!

    1 year ago

  • SoulRole

    Nancy Campbell from SoulRole says:

    Right on @Michelle from SimplyJoiDesigns

    1 year ago

  • FreddiesGirl

    Wendy Stennett from FreddiesGirl says:

    Great Interview. I have all of Ken Robinson's books and they are so inspirational. The saddest words you could say, looking back on your life are " what if ". Don't hesitate. Do what you love!

    1 year ago

  • CuriousmeDesign

    Pinar from CuriousmeDesign says:

    Loved this interview! Thank you Sir Ken Robinson! your words are so inspirational! Sometimes I find it's difficult to do the thing that you love and have the understanding from others. This has really given me the energy to carry on stronger.

    1 year ago

  • AfreshDownloads

    Pauline Black from AfreshStudioDownload says:

    "The point is, whether you make money with your Element or not, that you find balance in your life by fulfilling your talents and passion". Spot on! At 68 and for the first time in my life, I'm following a passion...or two :-)) Slainte Mhor

    1 year ago

  • CuriousmeDesign

    Pinar from CuriousmeDesign says:

    Loved this interview! Thank you Sir Ken Robinson! your words are so inspirational! Sometimes I find it difficult to do the thing that I love without conflict. This has given me the energy to believe more, work stronger and better.

    1 year ago

  • WeddingLab

    SSW from WeddingLab says:

    Incredibly inspiring! Thank you!

    1 year ago

  • INeedAStitch

    Katy from INeedAStitch says:

    Great article. I am very inspired to read his books!

    1 year ago

  • longlynette

    Lynette Long from YarnedTogether says:

    This interview really hit home for me. I grew up watching my dad work in a factory that he hated, so he could work on the family farm that he loved. His moods severely changed when he was on vacation from the factory....like he was a totally different person! The farm was, and remains to this day, his element. That is where he's most content. Truly fortunate are those who can make a living by doing what they love! I only wish I'd have pursued my dream job earlier in life. :) Very inspiring interview! Thanks!

    1 year ago

  • emadefreitas

    Ema de Freitas from EmasCorner says:

    Great article and great interview. I have been "following" Sir Ken Robinson for a while now, and I'm always inspired by him :)

    1 year ago

  • H88255

    H88255 from HillarysSuperfoods says:

    I liked this, and it exemplified character qualities!

    1 year ago

  • myword38
  • Chelsea413

    Chelsea from PandPDStudio says:

    Thanks for another great article Etsy!

    1 year ago

  • pancakeandlulu

    Aimee Knerr from pancakeandlulu says:

    wonderful and so true!

    1 year ago

  • emberair

    emberair from EmberandAir says:

    Those guitars are seriously cool! Great article and interview!

    1 year ago

  • GiftedLittleGoat

    Marie from ThrowingShop says:

    I listened to The Element on CD while sitting at my wheel making pottery and I found my self so interested in what the book was saying I was just sitting there not able to focus on pottery. I knew I had found my calling in clay but after listening I understood and felt proud that I had found my element. I have new clay friends that are my "Tribe", we really support and encourage each other. I really recommend his book!

    1 year ago

  • lmouer

    Lynsey from lmouer says:

    Great interview! I'm very curious to read his books!!

    1 year ago

  • foxpots

    Carole Fox from foxpots says:

    Thought provoking.

    1 year ago

  • bedouin

    Nicole from bedouin says:

    The power of words !!

    1 year ago

  • seastarglass

    Dafne from seastarglass says:

    Great article! I am another one that tried to find her element when young. A lack of opportunities contributed and then I had a chance to do the things I had always wanted. In that process I got back in touch with my desire to create and now I have the opportunity to live my dream. Thank you for this wonderful interview and giving me another book I must read!

    1 year ago

  • StayArtisan

    J.K. Ramirez from HudsonBlueArtisans says:

    Great post, thanks

    1 year ago

  • BrooklynLoveDesigns

    Megan C from AlaskaBagCompany says:

    Love this! Everyone in my family is highly educated and i took the different route, somewhat the 'black sheep' but I finally found my passion and a way to make a living that makes me so happy. I live an amazing life :) This post is great thank you!

    1 year ago

  • alangood

    alangood says:

    Great blog, Karen! Sir Ken is an inspirational figure who reminds us to keep after our dreams. Thanks!

    1 year ago

  • pamtiestrapit

    Pam from TIESTRAPIT says:

    I agree with Sir Ken about education it's just the same in the UK I'm nearly 60 now and happy with what I do now. But when at school always felt like a round peg in a square hole. Maybe being married to a liverpudlian for 40 years helps.

    1 year ago

  • FranceGallery

    France Gallery from FranceGallery says:

    Enjoyed this interesting blog interview!

    1 year ago

  • CupidandPsyche

    Yvonne from CupidandPsyche says:

    Love that guy and love that interview, thanks. I have struggled for years trying to figure out what I want to do.. maybe I still am in some respects because I wasn't like most people or my friends, I am now trying to figure all this stuff out about me and slowly changing or hoping to change my life. I have made some steps and am now also home educating my children, which again is against the norm of my family and people I know but I know it's right for us at this moment in time and I hope to allow my kids the freedom to discover who they are and what their own 'element' is.. hopefully they will figure it out before they hit their 40's!!! 8^) Now back to figuring out what mine is exactly! 8^)

    1 year ago

  • HeyChica

    Hey Chica from HeyChica says:

    Brilliant, thanks for sharing your wisdom!

    1 year ago

  • ionesAttic

    Barbara from ionesAttic says:

    20, 40, 60... launched...reset...revived

    1 year ago

  • H88255

    H88255 from HillarysSuperfoods says:

    What an inspiring story! Wonderful to hear of the success he has had!

    1 year ago

  • kathiroussel

    kathi roussel from kathiroussel says:

    Karen-- thanks for bringing Sir Ken here to Etsy. I just finished watching his TED talk. What a brilliant and humorous argument in favor of nurturing creativity. I agree with his ideas wholeheartedly. I'd always found school stifling, boring and sexist too. Luckily I had some idea of what I loved to do by the time I left high school. My hope is that those who still are searching to find their "element" will trust in their hearts when something clicks--and understand even the smallest sparks can become a fire! ..and many thanks to Sir Ed for speaking on behalf of children and improving education. We have a long way to go in changing the status quo, but with men and women like Sir Ed advocating this progress, there is a good chance of advancing the cause!

    1 year ago

  • ScottMillsArt

    Scott Mills from ScottMillsArt says:

    This is brilliant. So often it felt like schooling was there to keep me from finding the "element". My wife and I now run a small Waldorf inspired kindergarten for 3-6 yr olds and it is amazing to see what happens to creativity when you take media out of the picture and let children be children... Learning by playing and modeling. Not filling heads too soon and squelching the magic and wonder of childhood. Some of us get lucky and remain in contact with that original creativity we had as children and some have to work to shed the barriers. I'm so happy Sir Ken is out there working hard for these ideas.

    1 year ago

  • AM2PMdesigns

    Janet from am2pmdesigns says:

    I love his Ted talks and am interested in reading his books. Thank you for this interview. I feel I am on my way to finding my Element. It's hard because like he said there is risk involved. I hope to get there sooner than later!

    1 year ago

  • RasberryMoon

    RasberryMoon says:

    I love this article and I can't wait to read his books.

    1 year ago

  • tomsgrossmami

    Tom's Grossmami from tomsgrossmami says:

    Great interview.

    1 year ago

  • CasayCosecha

    ashley Gries from CasaAndCo says:

    Wonderful interview. I love the example of Randy Parsons, all it takes is a spark and an interest to learn your craft. Thank you so much for sharing - looking forward to reading the book.

    1 year ago

  • dorijewellery

    Dori from dorijewellery says:

    Thanks for a great interview

    1 year ago

  • StayArtisan

    J.K. Ramirez from HudsonBlueArtisans says:

    Agree. Agree. Agree. Most schools - almost by design - neuters creativity.

    1 year ago

  • CorbinWells

    Adam Marin from StolidArts says:

    ". I mean, a resumé is a narrative applied to your life to make it look deliberate and intentional, although it probably wasn’t." I love this. I've always hated working on a resumé. I'm just here figuring out if this is a proper route for my "element." Things are so wild for me and it feels like I'm going to be swallowed up sometimes. Nice interview

    1 year ago

  • magyartist

    Magdalena Rendula from magyartist says:

    Great story! I have found myself here..I will try to talk from someone's elses point of wiew about me. Its not good to talk about yourself from your own point of wiew. I was born, as people close to me and other that met me were saying as the "great talent". In the school I was allways the best in music, art and sport. Learning huge texts were stressed to me but parents were saying you have to learn for your life, art, music, sport, is risky..As I decided to study, I chose a law. It took me 9 years of very hard life, with no support, C.Dyon says "All by myself". And its truth, nine years all by myself in a large town, with no help, waiting for a day when I will graduate..just learning, working and waiting for a day when all my suffering will disappear and I'll bicome HAPPY!!!Finally came that day and I became a lawyer. But after my promotion you know what happened? I threw myself on the bed with all flowers I got and cryed from the depth of my soul..I realised that i did not become HAPPY. Than came a job and other obligations. In the meanwhile I was thinking what is happines and hoped and hoped that happynes will come..But as many of You know, and I realised, a happynes is a choice. In one hand people are forced to work for their existence, many of them do jobs they dont like or even hate. And it's sad..9 years of my studying all my gifts that I was born with were sleeping...and now I still ask myself "was your choice wrong?" Future will give me an answer but the most precious thing is that what lord gives you, it's always inside of you, you just need to wake it up and never stop!

    1 year ago

  • millerkent

    Kent Miller says:

    I'm all LOL from the TED video, which I didn't know about -- Sir Ken either -- prior to this interview. Thanks, Karen, for the headsup, and for your good questions. And thank you, Sir Ken, for your work. Your books are now at the top of my reading list.

    1 year ago

  • MsOwner

    Michelle from MintLeafBoutique says:

    I absolutely loved this interview and find Sir Ken fascinating. The article thoroughly kept me engaged. I watch TED Talks once in a while but will go back and review Sir Ken's presentations. I need to get his book! Thank you!

    1 year ago

  • STUCKINAPT602

    Willow from saltihippie says:

    amazing amazing man...... loved this..... I think I looked at this a few times. I would like to buy the book. Super awesome......

    1 year ago

  • attief

    mohamed bouharb says:

    I love this article

    1 year ago

  • korenkwan

    Koren Kwan from GarasuWonderland says:

    interesting interview!

    166 days ago