Robinson: Who is Holding You Back?

In this section of Ken Robinson’s book “The Element”, he is talking about the barriers to finding your way into your special place – that place where your passion and capabilities meet. The first barrier is yourself. We all fear creating new things.

But that can be less of a barrier than the influence that people in authority can bring to bear on you — especially parents and mentors.  Ken gives several examples of people who managed to find their element despite severe intervention from parents. Sadly, it is more frequently the case that the child has no chance. The strong willed parent forces conformity.

BTW, my favorite story about this is Maugham’s “The Razor’s Edge”.  The main character is headed towards a life that others want him to live, until he gets put into the hell of the first world war.

This is a complex problem because many times parents and mentors know what they are talking about. But they cross the line when they stifle a child’s passion to learn something, even if it is not pre-destined to make them a zillionaire.

One path forward is to find a person who gives you safety to be yourself. That might be a mother or another adult whom you trust. But Ken has a point that this safety essential.


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