The world is going to tell you that you can’t be a multi-disciplinary — someone pursuing mastery in multiple crafts — nor have a ‘Renaissance Life’. To the world, the age of polymath’s like Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin or Bertrand Russell are dead.
And in a way, they are right: You can’t learn everything. You can’t be everyone. Unless you stumbled upon the fountain of youth, or have the unfortunate (or fortunate depending on the kind of person you are) life of being an immortal vampire, there is only so much time you can give to learning new pursuits.
But then you look around at your peers or psudeo-mentors online and ALL YOU SEE are multi-disciplinaries. Doctors who are also great at Podcasting. Business owners who are also YOGA masters, and fluent in the art of Aryuvedic Medicine and social media. N of 1 types who experiment and test thousands of hacks across multiple industries. Founders with multiple businesses.
And then if you look even closer, you’ll notice that a multi-disciplinary is exactly what everyone wants you to be. Your boss doesn’t want you just to be a designer. They want you to be great at design, and communication, and animation and a million other related skills. Your freelance clients don’t want you to just be a web developer. They want you to help them with SEO, social media, email marketing (getting more eyeballs on their work), and create copy that sells. Your spouse doesn’t want you just to be good being a spouse. They also want you to be a good parent, confidant, lover, communicator and more.
We’re all multi-disciplinaries. We’re just not doing it well. Some of us have more tools and insights on how to master multiple pursuits than others.
Don’t let someone tell you that you can’t do something.
But also don’t fool yourself into thinking you can do everything you want, especially everything at the same time. Decision is a part of what makes you you. Deciding what to say no to is some of the most important decisions you’ll make. What you say no to defines who you are, and also refines what you say yes to. And refinement is what pursuing multiple disciplines is about —
Having the consistency, will, and energy to become a master at something like you want to, and doing it without unnecessary stresses in your life, or having to sacrifice the more important things like your friends and family in the process.
STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner