In theory...

Emma De Vita's weekly look at management-speak

You might think The Element was a book about the periodic table, but this element is about "finding your passion", not remembering whether sodium is heavier than calcium.

This book is bursting with advice on how to achieve your creative potential. Author Ken Robinson's theory goes like this: the element is the "point at which natural talent meets personal passion". When people arrive at their element, they feel "most themselves, most inspired, and achieve at their highest levels". It's the age-old dream of earning a living from doing something you love.

As passionate souls working for charities (unlike the soulless automatons who work for big business - or what's left of it), you're halfway there already. Let's face it: no one chooses to work in the third sector for the money.

For the less lucky, Robinson suggests finding out what it is you love doing, exploring what your natural talents might be and being imaginative and creative in your ambition. Once you've done this, you're officially in "the zone", which is "to be in the deep heart of the element". It's all a bit Da Vinci Code. After the "zone" comes finding a group of like-minded people to hang out with (the "tribe"), and finally, it's about taking the plunge into whatever it is you want to do.

After that, Robinson writes: "If we discover the element in ourselves and encourage others to find theirs, the opportunities for growth are infinite."

- Emma De Vita is editor of the books pages on Management Today

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