May 7, 2018

Below is a video lesson from The Mission on medium.com on why you should become a polymath, as well as our key learning.

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.


People Who Have “Too Many Interests” Are More Likely To Be Successful According To Research

By Michael Simmons

The most comprehensive case that has ever been made for why nearly everyone should become a polymath in a modern knowledge economy.

“Jack of all trades, master of none.”

The warning against being a generalist has persisted for hundreds of years in dozens of languages. “Equipped with knives all over, yet none is sharp,” warn people in China. In Estonia, it goes, “Nine trades, the tenth one — hunger.”

Yet, many of the most impactful individuals , both contemporary and historical, have been generalists: Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Richard Feynman, Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Marie Curie to name just a few.

What’s going on here?

If being a generalist was the path to mediocrity, why did the most comprehensive study of the most significant scientists in all of history uncover that 15 of the 20 were polymaths? Newton. Galileo. Aristotle. Kepler. Descartes. Huygens. Laplace. Faraday. Pasteur. Ptolemy. Hooke. Leibniz. Euler. Darwin. Maxwell — all polymaths.

Continue Reading Here.

https://medium.com/the-mission/modern-polymath-81f882ce52db?inf_contact_key=5c38cb6b6ddd982563ba60ba84bd026e7420a200853e488585a2f8a3b4e7c53a


Key Learnings:

  • The most comprehensive case that has ever been made for why nearly everyone should become a polymath in a modern knowledge economy.
  • The warning against being a generalist has persisted for hundreds of years in dozens of languages. “Equipped with knives all over, yet none is sharp,” warn people in China. In Estonia, it goes, “Nine trades, the tenth one — hunger.”
  • Many of the most impactful individuals, both contemporary and historical, have been generalists: Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Richard Feynman, Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Marie Curie to name just a few.
  • If being a generalist was the path to mediocrity, why did the most comprehensive study of the most significant scientists in all of history uncover that 15 of the 20 were polymaths? Newton. Galileo. Aristotle. Kepler. Descartes. Huygens. Laplace. Faraday. Pasteur. Ptolemy. Hooke. Leibniz. Euler. Darwin. Maxwell — all polymaths.
  • Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Larry Page, and Jeff Bezos — all polymaths (who also follow the 5-hour rule)?
  • Definition of a modern polymath is someone who becomes competent in at least three diverse domains and integrates them into a top 1-percent skill set.
  • Polymaths bring the best of what humanity has discovered from across fields to help them be more effective in their core field. Specialists, on the other hand, just focus on knowledge from their own field.
  • Modern polymaths go against the grain of this popular advice, building atypical combinations of skills and knowledge across fields and then integrating them to create breakthrough ideas and even brand new fields and industries where there is little competition.
  • There are several significant changes trending in our knowledge economy right now, which are flipping the conventional wisdom on the value of specialization on its head. In today’s world, diverse interests are not a curse, they’re a blessing. Being a polymath instead of a specialist is an advantage, not a weakness. People who love learning across fields can use that tendency to be more financially successful and impactful in their career.
  • Polymath Advantage 1: Combining two or more skills can make you world-class. If you want something extraordinary [in life], you have two paths:
    1. Become the best at one specific thing. Can be difficult to the point of near impossibility.
    2. Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things. Fairly easy – everyone has at least a few areas they could be in the top 25% with effort.
  • Polymath Advantage 2: Most creative breakthroughs come via making atypical combinations of skills.
  • Polymath Advantage 3: It’s easier and faster than ever to become competent in a new skill.
  • Polymath Advantage 4: It’s easier than ever to pioneer a new field, industry, or skill set. One of the main ways that new skill sets, industries and fields emerge is by combining them with old ones. The number of new academic fields and business industries is increasing exponentially. As the number of new skills increase, the number of possible combinations increase exponentially.
  • Polymath Advantage 5: It Future-proofs Your Career. We can’t see into the future – a polymath is much better positioned than a specialist in being prepared for future needs in valuable skills.
  • Polymath Advantage 6: It Sets You Up To Solve More Complex Problems. Many of the largest problems that face society and individuals benefit from solutions that integrate multiple disciplines.
  • Bottom Line: Make Yourself Anti-Fragile. Supply and demand – decrease the supply and increase the demand to increase how much of a price premium you command through becoming a polymath.
  • “What’s the one thing you believe is true that no one else agrees with you on?” – Peter Thiel, self-made billionaire.
  • Polymaths are “anti-fragile” – changes to the environment make them stronger. As new paradigms of business emerge or their passions grow, they can quickly combine their existing skill sets in a myriad of ways.
  • Mental models transcends disciplines, help you learn multiple skills more quickly, and are a key to becoming a better polymath.