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

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.
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.
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.

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.

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.

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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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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A polymath can take the skills that she or he has learned and combine them in new ways quickly to master new fields. 

On the other hand, a specialist whose fields becomes obsolete would likely take much more time to adapt to the change and have to start back at the beginning.

The new reality of success: embracing a diverse range of skills and experiences to thrive in the increasingly complex world.

Great men like Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs and Leonardo Da Vinci were not masters, but had a ‘talent stack’ of a range of skills. These Polymaths were having cross-discipline expertise, which turned out to be infinitely better than having complete knowledge of one single field of work.

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