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05 April 2014

Sir Ken Robinson: Brun Magazine's "Notable Person of the Month" April 2014

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Brun’s “Notable Person of the Month” for April 2014 is Sir Ken Robinson, English author, speaker and renowned educationalist.  He believes that there should be a revolution in education not reformation. Aside from being a great thinker, he is also a very engaging speaker. Personally, I consider him more as a hybrid of a stand-up comic, a philosopher, and a motivational speaker. Sir Robinson often discusses the potential of the individual to become extraordinary not by conforming to standard notion of intelligence, but by knowing one's element. In addition, he believes that diversity produces more learning. As he said, "most great learning happens in groups." To paraphrase him, the current world education system may actually harm the individual and worst, disenfranchise many people and rob them of their innate ingenuity. In our changing world, the old idea of getting a degree to attain fulfillment and prosperity does not work anymore. In one of his speeches in a TED Conference, he stated that:

“In the next 30 years, according to UNESCO, more people worldwide will be graduating through education since the beginning of history, and it is the combination of all the things…technology and its transformation effect on work, and demography and the huge explosion in population, suddenly degrees aren’t worth anything… we need to radically rethink our view of intelligence. We know three things about intelligence. One is it's diverse…secondly, intelligence is dynamic…and the third thing about intelligence is that it is distinct.”

Sir Robinson also focuses on the importance of discovering our true elements or what we enjoy doing, not necessary the skills that we are good at.  It is not enough to be good at doing something, but we must also enjoy doing it. Our elements fuel our lives and life is not linear. It is can take an unexpected course. We are the creators of our own lives.

If you think Sir Robinson's ideas seem lofty, you are wrong. His ideas resonate in the latest popular teen flick "Divergent." The story encapsulates the notion of "divergent thinking," albeit in a pop culture approach.

Notable quotes from Sir Ken Robinson


  • “I define creativity as the process of having original idea that has value."
  • "Divergent thinking isn't a synonym (to creativity) but an essential capacity for creativity. It is the ability to see lots of possible answers to a questions lots of possible ways of interpreting a question."
  •  “Finding your passion does change everything.”
  • “I don’t mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative, but we do know is, if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original.”
  • “Very many people spend their entire lives doing things they don’t care for. They just get through the week, one way or another. They endure their lives and wait for the weekend with no real sense of fulfillment, kind of general sense of tolerance for it or not.”
  • “One of the ways to know that you are in your element is that your sense of time changes. If you’re doing things you don’t like, five minutes seem like an hour. If you’re doing things you love to do, an hour feels like five minutes.”
  • “What I mean by spirit is the sense that animate your life”
  • “If you are in your element, doing whatever it is you love to do, then at the end of the day or at the end of the week, you can be physically exhausted by it but spiritually uplifted. But if you are doing things you don’t care for, at the end of the day, you can feel physically fine, but down, and needing to lift yourself up again. In the end, it is about energy. That’s all life is. It’s about energy. It’s what stirs your energy, what encourages it, what fuels it and what takes it from you.”
  •  “Life is not linear. When you follow your interest, when you connect with your own true energy, your life takes a different path. New people come into it. New opportunities created. You affect their lives, and they affect your life. It is process of reciprocity.”
  • “We create our own lives. We create it for ourselves. It is the gift of human life that you are not committed to a single course. You can change course. You can create and recreate your life. You are more likely to do that if you tap in to the thing that you find motivating and fulfilling than not.”

Instead of discussing his ideas in details, it is best to hear him speak for yourself. Below are several links to his public speeches, most notably his speeches in TED Conferences.

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