All In

Learning never exhausts the mind. Leonardo da Vinci

It’s a misconception that a renaissance human — someone who practices multiple skills — can’t be as good as a specialist who only focuses on only one skill.

Yes, It’s true that the more you divide your focus, the less amount of time and energy you can give to each. And yes, there is a limit to how many things you can pursue at once without scattered yourself in too many (ineffective) directions.

But a multi-disciplinary can be just as great if not more so that single-disciplinary individuals. Divided time doesn’t mean you aren’t putting in the hard work.

Even pursuing one skill, there’s only so much time and energy you can give to something before you need to stop and take a break. For a renaissance type, it just so happens you’re likely going to take a “break” by jumping into another skill. You aren’t reducing work, you are adding in different work.

You can go all-in on multiple things. Not too many — there are only so many hours in the day. Try too many things at once and you won’t be able to go deep enough. (This is the jack/jill of all trades zone.)

While alive, our hearts keep beating. Our minds keep thinking. Even while we sleep our mind and body are still active.

When you are jumping from one skill to another to another, you are feeding your curiosity. The key is to pursue interests that rejuvenate you and keep you doing and learning new things. We get stale when we stay in our comfort zones instead of challenging ourselves. (That goes for both specialists and renaissance humans.)

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #868

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Is it Possible to be a Multidisciplinary in Today’s Age?

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.”


Is it possible to reach Leonardo da Vinci or Benjamin Franklin’s level breadth of skills and knowledge in today’s world?

Yes. But there’s a difference between today and as time goes forward (assuming there’s no apocalyptic zombie outbreak).

There’s a lot more choice today than in the past. For example, Leonardo, although an I legitimate son, had more access to paper than most growing up because his father was a notary and landlord. That’s like me growing up without a cellphone versus kids today growing up with phones, tablets TVs and other screens aplenty! For most, paper was not cheap. To think and draw and write was quite a luxury.

Think about how plentiful our access to paper is today. The same is true for everything in our modern world.

Even the poorest of us have more choices than in the past.

To be multidisciplinary, we must be extremely cautious with what we give our time too. Every skill and industry, be it woodcraft, design, dance, artificial intelligence, or medicine has multiple multiple sub-skills and paths we could take.

To reach a level of mastery of any trade is difficult. Most don’t get there. To reach mastery in multiple trades takes discipline, creativity, and dedication.

It’s possible, certainty. But it means we have to choose. We must prioritize our essential few over the plethora (and ever-expanding) options.

There’s room for trying new things and experimenting of course. But there’s not much room for idleness and complacency.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #847

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