My dad used to make perfect model replicas of different British aeroplanes. He could spend hours painting intricate detail on those models and it drove my mum mad. ‘The trouble is, he’s in his element,’ she would say. It wasn’t a compliment! He was ‘gone’, and she was aware of his absence and knew she had no chance of getting him to do anything else till he was ready to come back.
And she was accurate in her description of him being in his element. I’ve been reminded of this as I’m re-reading the book by Ken Robinson called ‘The Element’. It is a brilliant exposition of what being in your element means, why it matters, and how important it is to find your own version of it.
So, being in your element is when you’re doing something you love doing, and that you have a natural ability in. It’s your particular passion that completely absorbs you.
Some people have one area in particular: dancing, painting, cooking, looking after children – it can be anything. Others have several things that take them into their element.
And there is no hierarchy. It doesn’t matter if being in your element leads you to being a famous chef, or a great mum or dad, a renowned professor, or a delightfully helpful shop assistant.
What matters is that we find those things that enable us to be in our element. Because when we are in our element, we are creative, we are happy, we are fulfilled. And that has a knock-on effect in the rest of our lives.
I am lucky. I have found quite a few different ways to be in my element. And I use them to boost my positivity, to enliven my life, to just feel good.
So, when are you in your element? Are you allowing yourself to enjoy your own talents? It’s never too late to find more ways of being in your element, so don’t let convention stop you from having the joy of doing what you love and what you’re good at.