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Friday
Jul092010

success and the polymathic perspective

Success is great even though you might have to suck cess to achieve it. Sucking up all that cess from the numerous cess pools available may make you a tad queasy, a little green at the gills. What’s the alternative to being chained to the success machine day and night?

Change.

Yep. Change your clothes, house, car, job , place of residence, whatever. Humans get a buzz from change just as they get a buzz from success. But buying change is or can be expensive. Holidays and travel aren’t cheap.

How do you build change into your life?

One way is to adopt a polymathic perspective. Polymathy, is not, for those new to the term, a weird kind of perversion stemming from an abuse of arithmetic, it is choosing to study/learn/practise many different things, especially mixing physical pursuits with artistic and intellectual endeavors. It is being a jack of a number of trades and maybe a master of more than one.

A polymathic perspective allows you to exalt in things being various. It allows you the freedom to dabble, to try different things, to break out from the specialist’s straitjacket. Isn’t that dilution? Courting failure? Spreading yourself too thin?

It could be. You’d have to find out what worked for you. How many different activities you can fit into one life. It is certainly true that at any one time trying to improve in more than two areas of your life is very difficult. However, maintaining an area without trying to improve in it is easy. The key is to be sequentially polymathic. Spending viable chunks of time on each area you want to achieve expertise in.

Expertise. We are lead to believe that expertise can only occur in one area. Why? It takes 10,000 hours to master a subject – a good enough estimate based on surveys of high achievers. Work a 50 hour week for a year and you clock up 2000+ hours. Do that for five years and you will have achieved mastery. A career of 40 years allows up to eight areas of mastery.

Extreme? Maybe. But the possibility exists. Maybe it’s enough to just know that monopathic specialist success is not the only way to live.

 

 

 

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