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Why some people are impossibly talented

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20191118-what-shapes-a-polymath---and-do-we-need-them-more-than-ever

bbc.com

Why some people are impossibly talented
If it weren't for an actress and a pianist, GPS and WiFi might not exist. In the late 1930s and early 40s, Hedy Lamarr was already the toast of Hollywood, famed for her portrayals of femme fatales. Few of her contemporaries knew that her other great passion was inventing.

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Polymaths

Polymaths

A Polymath is defined as one who is specialized in at least two unrelated fields or domains while having a passive interest in other domains too. They are individualists that hold a holistic view of the world.

Polymaths have an interest in many different phenomena and are curious and adventurous by nature, looking to experience and uncover new facts.

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Qualities Of A Polymath

Qualities Of A Polymath

When polymaths become interested in something, they don't care which domain or sphere it leads them. Some qualities of a Polymath person:

  • Above-average intelligence
  • Open-mindedness
  • Curiosity
  • Self-reliance
  • Individualism
  • A desire for personal fulfillment
  • Desire to find connections.

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Waqas Ahmed

“The polymath not only moves between different spheres or different fields and disciplines, but seeks fundamental connections between those fields, so as to give them a unique insight into each of them.”

Waqas Ahmed

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Understanding A Polymath

Understanding A Polymath

Genetic and environmental factors, along with curiosity and self-awareness, make polymaths complex personalities.

They have historically been rebels, as society has always encouraged individuals to specialize in a particular field.

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Jack of All Trades

Jack of All Trades

The idea of "A jack of all trades, master of none" falls flat when we study the polymath.

Pursuing multiple interests can fuel creativity and productivity, creating connections between domains, leading to cross-pollination.

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Feeding Off Diverse Knowledge

Feeding Off Diverse Knowledge

Polymathy leads to creativity, as one domain can inspire something new in a different domain.

For example: Having knowledge of geometry can help in painting, or knowing to play the piano, one can apply more creativity in a domain like mechanical engineering, by forming connections.

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Switching Subjects

Switching Subjects

What we can learn from polymaths: we can be better and more productive at our jobs if we keep switching between different skills or subjects, changing our environment, the company we keep and our interests. This is also an excellent tool to solve problems.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Polymaths

Polymaths

Polymaths, geniuses with diverse skillsets and varied interests, are the source of some of history's greatest contributions.

Giants like Aristotle, Galileo, and Leonardo da Vinci were...

The Approach Of A Polymath

A polymath sees the world with a unique perspective, making connections that are not apparent to others.

Early polymaths had the advantage of a wide-open field, and went deep in their disciplines, yielding branches and sub-branches of specializations. Deep down, these different branches lead to the same trunk and roots.


Polymaths Vs Specialists

Polymaths differ from specialists, as they are on to a highway that is getting wider, and specialists are parked in a spot that is getting deeper.

Polymaths have the advantage of learning new fields of study, and forming new connections, while specialists start having a narrow vision by going deep, learning less. The learning ability of the polymath is the required skill-set of the future.

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The modern polymath

... is someone who becomes competent in at least 3 diverse domains and integrates them into a top 1-percent skill set.

In another words, they bring the best of what humanity has discov...

Creating an atypical combination of 2+ skills

Even if you're merely competent in these skills, combining them can lead to a world-class skill set.

Example: Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, one of the most popular comic strips of all time, was not the funniest person,  not the best cartoonist, and not the most experienced employee. But by combining his humor and illustration skills while focusing on business culture, he became the best in the world in his niche.

Creative breakthroughs

Most creative breakthroughs come via making atypical combinations of skills.

Researcher Brian Uzzi, a professor at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, analyzed more than 26 million scientific papers going back hundreds of years and found that the most impactful papers often have teams with atypical combinations of backgrounds.

The real master has no tools

He/She has a endless power to improvise with what is to hand.

The more fields of knowledge he/she covers, the greater his/her resources for improvisation.

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville

"Nothing tends to materialise man, and to deprive his work of the faintest trace of mind, more than extreme division of labour."

Invention fights specialization

To come up with new ideas, you need to know things outside your field.

The further afield your knowledge extends, the greater potential you have for innovation.