Did you ever wonder about what sets the most successful people apart? It may seem that they all just had great ideas and luck. The real reason however, lies in their ability to combine skills from multiple subject areas – thus developing unique solutions. People have been doing it for years i.e. expanding their knowledge in different academic subjects and then developing connections (mental models) between the subject areas. Today the common term for such people, with a voracious appetite for learning, is “polymath.” This is opposed to the common method of becoming a specialist based on narrow silo based learning. If you are intrigued by several subject areas but have always been told that the path of a generalist is that of mediocrity; then read on as I highlight the numerous advantages of being polymathic in your career:
Being polymathic gives your career flexibility
We are living in a world of constant change. Everyday new technologies are being developed to make jobs easier and also extinct. With the advent of AI this reality is becoming all the more true. People who have been mastering a skill-set for years may find that computers are able to do their jobs much easier and efficiently. The only solution to such a problem is to develop a polymathic approach to learning. Diversify your knowledge areas so that you become indispensable in a company. Learn multiple skills and apply it in your core area. Remember that as much as a computer can be better at efficiency – it will never be capable of replacing human judgement and intuition. Therefore you should always strengthen your mind by exposing it to new challenges and skills.
When a company goes through a massive restructuring, the least valuable is often the first to join the unemployment bandwagon. Job security is a big risk in the century we live in. Simply having a degree today doesn’t guarantee the success and security you may want. The only way to safeguard yourself is to develop a broad knowledge base in several areas through polymathic learning. In this way, the flexibility will reassure your company that you are capable of being an asset in various areas in the company.
Companies pay big salaries for people that add value. It’s simple logic that if you bring in the wealth in a company then you will be remunerated for your efforts. Polymathic thinking is therefore essential for you to move up the ranks and demand that paycheck. Having a multifaceted mindset will enable you to be a better strategic thinker and understand the business better. This will result in you progressing to senior positions in an organization and eventually being remunerated extremely well. All the great CEO’s are polymathic since they are able to understand all aspects of the business. They can strategically move it forward; this is the reason why many CEO’s are much older. They have spent years moving through companies developing skills in several niche areas.
For the mind to expand it needs challenges. Doing the same repetitive job everyday can be draining and purposeless. Polymathic thinkers know however that there is an abundance of new things to experience and learn everyday and therefore are much happier and satisfied with their work-life. If you live your career has a polymath, you will see the fulfillment of moving between job roles and never having a mundane day. Exploring life as a polymath really does expose you to the wonders of the world.
Leads to better opportunities
Being a polymathic type of person makes you more creative and better at thinking. Due to the vast amount of knowledge that you will possess, you will be better equipped at making decisions and forming innovative solutions. You will find that polymathic people are often great conversationalists since their vast knowledge makes them interesting to listen to. This is a great skill for networking and relationship building where a good impression counts.
Being a polymath is not everyone’s cup of tea yet for those that see the value and enjoyment in it – it is rather effortless. If you are one of them, then enjoy exploring the power of learning, it really is worth the effort.
Don’t forget to drop your comments below on how being a polymath has helped you in your career. Let us learn from each others insights.
Also check out: