Why the Future Belongs to 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 specialized in not one, but several domains, and handled a problem with a diverse inventory of mental knowledge and understanding.
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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 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.
The current age is abundant with knowledge like no other before, and this is powerful and distracting at the same time. It is a good idea to develop your senses.
Due to the technology breakthroughs of recent times, more and more people are poised to be at the intersection of different and varied disciplines. The world is getting integrated, and those of us who can absorb this unification will thrive.
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... is someone who becomes competent in at least 3 diverse domains and integrates them into a top 1-percent skill set.
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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.
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.
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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 o...
When polymaths become interested in something, they don't care which domain or sphere it leads them. Some qualities of a Polymath person:
“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.”
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Polymaths manage to achieve mastery across multiple industries, arts, or fields of study. What sets them apart? The willingness and drive to learn new.
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