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A Book a Week-4

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By Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan

“ I remember a headmistress in a primary school in England who was worried about a particular little girl. The girl was always fidgeting and couldn’t seem to sit still. The headmistress thought she might have attention deficit disorder, so she sent her to see a doctor.

The doctor examined the girl and said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with her. She’s just a dancer.’

The headmistress was puzzled. ‘A dancer?’ she asked. ‘But she’s never danced before.’

‘She doesn’t have to have danced before,’ the doctor said. ‘She’s just got the natural talent and the passion for it.’

The headmistress took the doctor’s advice and enrolled the girl in a dance class. The girl thrived in the class and went on to become a successful dance director.

This story is a reminder that we all have natural talents and passions that we should be encouraged to explore. When we find something that we’re good at and that we love doing, we’re more likely to be happy and fulfilled in life.”

This anecdote is a powerful reminder that we should not judge people based on their behavior. The girl in the story was fidgeting and couldn’t seem to sit still, but this did not mean that she had a disorder. It simply meant that she had a lot of energy and that she was passionate about dance.

The headmistress in the story was wise to listen to the doctor’s advice. She enrolled the girl in a dance class, and the girl thrived.

This story is a reminder that we should all be encouraged to explore our natural talents and passions. When we find something that we’re good at and that we love doing, we’re more likely to be happy and fulfilled in life.That is a powerful real life story from Sir Ken Robinson’s book- The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything is a powerful and inspiring exploration of the importance of finding our true calling in life.

Sir Ken Robinson was a British author, speaker, and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education and arts bodies. He was director of the Arts in Schools Project (1985–1989) and Professor of Arts Education at the University of Warwick (1989–2001), and Professor Emeritus after leaving the university. In 2003, he was knighted for services to the arts.
Robinson was born in Liverpool, England, on March 4, 1950.

Robinson was a passionate advocate for creativity and innovation in education. He argued that schools should be places where students are encouraged to explore their talents and interests, and that the arts play a vital role in developing creativity. His TED Talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” has been viewed over 60 million times and is one of the most popular TED Talks of all time. He died in 2020 at the age of 70.

Stories abound in his book just as his talks all over the world did. He was hilarious and self-deprecating as only the confident can be. Just to recount a few more of the stories- Robinson tells the story of a dyslexic genius who was told by his teachers that he would never amount to anything.In his inimitable style, however the genius went on to become a successful mathematician and computer scientist.

Robinson tells the story of a businessman who was told by his boss to be more like everyone else. However, he refused to conform and went on to become a successful entrepreneur. That is the great philosopher statesman Earl Nightingale also advocated. These are just a few of the many funny and inspiring anecdotes that Robinson tells in The Element.

Nani Palkhivala, the courtroom genius was an accidental lawyer. He lost out to a lady while vying for an English professor’s post in a government college, in then Bombay. And Nani never forget to entertain the good lady every year, for beating her to it. India too owes her a treat said Fali S Nariman. Nani took to his career, after emulating Greek orator Demosthenes who was said to have treated his stammer and speech impediment by talking with pebbles in his mouth and shouting above the roar of the ocean waves.Nani got over his stammer to be in his Element, in his profession, by loving it the way the passionate did or do.

It was the cricket writer Robin Marlar who said,” Mine is the only profession where I am paid to do what I love”. How many of us aspire and achieve it?

Sir Kenneth Robinson is in his element in The Element as only he could be. It is of an unputdownable must read genre!

(Writer is author of multiple books and practicing advocate in the Madras High Court)


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