Embracing my inner generalist
143: You want to try everything and are intrigued by the unknown. However, it isn't easy to commit to initiatives for an extended period of time. You are quickly bored.
My interests come and go in waves, usually over two years. I discover something new, obsess over it, and devour everything I can on the subject, until a point, before moving on.
I dig deep enough to gain a general framework, but I quit before the actual effort towards mastery begins.
There are diminishing returns for a generalist in the blurry center of mastery, or "the dip," as Seth Godin refers to it.
Specialists use the blurred center as a barrier and struggle through difficulty before achieving clarity.
Being a generalist can be difficult in some ways.
There is a widespread cultural belief that life is about "mastery" and that being a generalist is a subpar way of living/being in the world.
You want to try everything and are intrigued by the unknown. However, it isn't easy to commit to initiatives for an extended period of time. You are quickly bored.
However, there are many hidden upsides of being a generalist. I find that
You learn faster than most peers; you're pretty quick to get up to speed on things.
You easily connect with almost anyone you meet because there is something they are interested in that you've tasted or tested before, and so there is some common interest.
It's super fun finding something new to obsess about; it's a thrill.
Life is full of variety, and you get to taste a wide range of that variety.
Gaining market credibility
The market is the element that generalists frequently struggle with. The market is looking for the most effective answer, so you must become marketable by becoming a specialist in order to optimize for the value you can share with others.
You don't want a doctor who isn't wholly committed to medicine; you prefer an SEO expert who loves and breathes their work.
There are two methods for dealing with this to serve your natural tendencies while also meeting market demands.
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