Generalist vs specialist

Day 25 of the November Nablopomo 2015 chalkenge and still going strong. Today’s prompt asks, “Do you think it’s better to be a recognized expert for one thing, or known to be really good at lots of things?”

When I was younger I thought that it would be better to be really good at lots of things. Or know lots of different things. I favoured a generalist approach to learning lots of things. I also needed lots of things to keep my mind stimulated. Perhaps it was superficial thinking ability. Or Goldfish Syndrome. But I guess when you are younger there are so many things that interest you. And your sense of time at that point is that it’s infinite in terms of what you can learn and do and be. And because when you’re young, everything is new and exciting.

As you get older I guess you develop an appreciation of time. You would like to still be interested in everything but of course, there is too little time. You realise that you haven’t learnt all that there possibly is to learn about everything and you have an increasing awareness that there is a finite supply of time.

So, as much as I do have an interest in most things. I have chosen to focus on something which kind of allows me to have a wide interest. The field of branding is fascinating from this perspective. It encompasses everything from behavioural psychology through to having an understanding of the impact of colour. The added spin-off is that brand strategy allows you to then have multiple interests because you need to understand as much about the human condition as possible. So I give expression to my generalist inclination through my chosen area of specialisation! Pretty nifty.

At this point in life I appreciate the level of practice it takes to achieve mastery in any given field. And while I still do like knowing a lot of different things my preference now is to achieve mastery and be an expert in one particular thing.

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