Superlearning is becoming a Polymath.
Specialization is for insects, not people.
In the colony of ants, if you were born as a worker, you die as a worker. There’s zero chance of moving in the social strata.
Humans are usually not good at building such social systems. Or at least are not as perfect in doing so as ants.
There’s a critical mass of individuals whose natural tendency and interest is to move among social classes. Or least they love to make a change.
Who is a Polymath?
A polymath is a person whose knowledge spans a significant number of subject areas. Such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve problems across many different fields.
The great ancient philosophers were polymaths.
Snobbish, overlooking the craftsmen as being members of the lower caste. I remember Plato, in dislike of physical work, divided the soul from the physical body. Yet, he and his predecessors regarded education as being a central point of development of the human being.
It started in Athens with their love of the physical body. It was just practical as without good physical abilities you could not be a good soldier or could not enjoy a relatively good health in the old age.
But, later education shifted toward the complex development of body and soul.
Socrates defined education as the means of enhancement of one’s situation – on the emphasis of rhetorics an individual was enhancing his societal possessions. Sophists did not hesitate to get paid for this seemingly useful dialectic skills – how to argue someone out with words rather than with a weapon.
The Greeks got that right, that education is here for a human prosperity. The only they did not get right was that they put limits on education – educated could be only someone who had money or were a man, not a slave and etc.
The polymath as a term really shines in the 17th century – the era of encyclopedists.
If we looked for a model educator of that time, we’d find someone who is well educated in a myriad of disciplines – spoke more than one language, played a musical instrument, possessed knowledge from practical engineering as well as being a proper theoretician of law, theology or philosophy of life.
Universities did not specialize and created employees as we know them today.
If you are a game – changer you are a polymath
I believe that life in cities created an environment for specialization. Where else can you focus on a specific set of routines that you can exchange for currency, that you can use to buy goods and services that you can’t or don’t have time to get yourself?
Corporations build that scenario as well. It’s a bunch of people that can’t deliver the whole package on the individual level. They just do their part and get it well – documented, so the other guy keeps the ball rolling.
And I think the surge of learning data is certainly creating a demand for specializing – there’s just no chance to deliver something rather complex if your mental capabilities are on the pieces.
Yet, all these great people that created the thing we call life – “Think different” guys from Apple commercial, were polymaths.
Just think about Leonardo Da Vinci – the polymath.
What set of knowledge he had acquired and excelled in it to deliver the piece of art as he did?
If you want to be on a top of the game and deliver top results, you have to be a polymath.
You have to excel in one thing for sure. Like you are a master presenter like Steve Jobs was. But, you have to see different perspectives from many fields.
My favorite version of what a polymath is that it is used especially for people who made lasting contributions in at least one of the fields in which they were actively involved and when they took a universality of approach.
You can’t create something great if you’re thinking in the same old patterns all over again.
From generalist to specialist and iterate
It is worth to get trained as a medical practitioner. It’s worth it to study medicine if you’re willing to take some sacrifices.
What you do over there is that you become a generalist of how the human body works and later you specialize on one practical outcome of it. Specialists can really earn their way up for becoming specialists and it’s the necessity of a profession that it’s designed that way.
The beauty of specializing is that certain operations are delivered leveraged. The difficulty and transactional costs of an eye surgery go down with the number of operations delivered.
Everything at first demands some investments to learn. That’s why it’s called research.
In business, you find yourself in demand for many skills that you need to acquire. You first need to learn how to make a sale, or how to create and communicate a value to a potential customer and guide him throughout the process until he pushes the transaction button.
I think the demand for being a polymath is strongest here.
A business is just an organization of people with different talents.
Managing one you will find yourself in need of different skillset to make it work – project management, value communication, sales, emotional intelligence, customer service, technical knowledge and etc.
I believe that best you can perform in any field when you acquire great knowledge in 2 or 3 fields yet you do have to get to useful levels in x number of fields of knowledge.
Because you have to be able to speak to people.
Take an IT firm for instance.
If you are a pure people manager and you get appointed to manage a coding crew, but you never coded yourself before – you’re facing a bunch of introverts with rather poor social skills that speak a totally different language than you.
What you do is that you have to learn their language. There’s a totally different view on a person, a manager when a crew knows that the management has some insight into programming or field of practice than when the managers do know a shit about it.
It needs to be clear where do you bring the most value for the organisation, but you’ll get more respect if you are a polymath and you know what other guys are doing.
Superlearning gets you perception and speed
Superlearning is the new mantra for a polymath.
Inherited in the term is the love for knowledge and especially learning. There are different types of learning of course, but let’s talk about the speed first.
In one and, the most popular definition the superlearning is really giving the boost in learning.
Normal human being is capable of reading with comprehension of around 200 words per minute.
Imagine, if you could double, triple or quadruple that capacity – what an outcome it’d bring on your learning capabilities?
This is what is trainable with superlearning. For learning check out these techniques that can benefit you greatly.
InEx is trying to bring a different perspective to superlearning.
One should first decide who he is and then learn accordingly. The emphasis is on the old Greek tradition of changing and forming a human being through education. Thank God we are in an era where education is becoming so democratized and accessible for most people (writing this with a surge in tuition fees on my mind, yet they are becoming deprecated.
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