Why People Who Have “Multiple Skills” Are More Likely to be Successful
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The COVID-19 pandemic will change lives and careers than any other event in recent history. We’re not even sure of the duration of the effects of this pandemic yet. We are sure of its scope around the world — hope you are safe and your family is safe and indoors too.
Today, right now it pays to be a polymath — a person of wide knowledge or learning. Think people like Leonardo da Vinci (a painter, an architect, an engineer, a theatrical producer), Benjamin Franklin (founding father, writer, political philosopher, politician, scientist, inventor,) and even Steve Jobs.
Cross-discipline expertise help can help you survive and thrive in almost any environment. “The future belongs to the integrators, ” says Educator Ernest Boyer. Modern work demands that we become versatile and live a more polymathic life.
You can make space for multiple interests and improve your skills in any disciplines of interest to you. Develop your senses — especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.
Capitalism rewards people who are rare and indispensable.
If you want something extraordinary in life, you have two paths:
1. Become the best at one specific thing.
2. Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.
The first strategy is difficult to the point of near impossibility. Few people will ever play in the NBA or make a platinum album. I don’t recommend anyone even try.
The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people.
In the 21st century, careers are no longer narrowly defined by core skills, but through complementary skills and learning agility. Complementary skills include the ability to work effortlessly with others, the ability to apply knowledge across disciplines, the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you, and an understanding of fields outside your area of expertise. Simply learning a new skill opens up so many options.
Learn something totally different from your expertise. Develop a wide range of skills that complement and support your main skill. Ask yourself, what do I want to achieve? What’s my goal, vision, or target after isolation? And then ask yourself what are the most important skills I need to have to achieve those? After you find out, start learning them.
Pay attention to the trajectory of your industry and stay on the forefront by learning new applicable skills. Transforming into a polymath professional could be just what you need to take your career to the next level.
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