One day in late-August I found myself bursting into tears while casually browsing through a friend’s Facebook posts. They’d shared a short memorial post, and that was how I learned that Sir Ken Robinson had passed away. I cried reading the news, and felt upset for weeks afterwards.
Today would have been his 71st birthday. I never met him, but after finishing my PhD it was his voice that started me on the path I’ve been on ever since. His 2006 TED Talk connected with me in a profound way. Over the following years I read his books, pre-ordered them when he published more, scoured YouTube for more talks and reflected on his message, his presentation style, his wit and his passion.
“Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent” was a framing that helped me as I explored how I could help researchers in the space I’d found myself in. His encouragement to try things, even uncertain things – “you won’t find anything original unless you’re willing to be wrong” – helped me to develop my work, my business and myself.
If you’ve never heard of Sir Ken Robinson before, I’d encourage you to learn more about him, his incredible life story and the great work that he did. We’ll feel his impact for a long time to come.
And for you, for today, I’d encourage reflection on your talents. By this stage in your PhD journey, you must be talented in many ways. How do you define your talents? What makes you certain of them? How will they help you find success in your viva?
And what might you do with your talents after your PhD is completed?