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Are you a Multipotentialite/Polymath?

Discussion in 'General Mindset, Motivation, Beliefs' started by JWM, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. Never1
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    Never1 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    When I was in highschool, one of my teachers had this quote on a blackboard, and it stayed up there for all the years I was there.

    "There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people."

    20 years later, it still comes to mind quite often.

    I don't like using too many terms to describe myself, but I absolutely fit the descriptions in the OP. A girl I once knew referred to me as a new renaissance man.

    No matter the subject, I always have a good grasp of it, usually enough to carry on a conversation. I'm a curious guy and I ask tons of questions, when I meet people who work in interesting fields.
     
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  2. JWM
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    JWM Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I like it, a lot of things in there that I'm interested in, I'm mainly getting my hands dirty with metal work at the moment. Can I ask what kind of airbrushing you have done?
     
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  3. JWM
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    JWM Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    You're a model example of what I'm talking about :) that cake is pretty impressive. And I'm pretty sure that dog is loving his bed.
     
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  4. JWM
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    JWM Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I see what you are saying. When i start learning something new, I always have a goal to achieve, whether it's to produce something to a certain standard or gain a certain level of understanding or ability. I never have to many new challenges on the go at once, I always try to focus on one.

    For me it's not so much about being an expert, as I am not doing it for anyone else, it's for me. If I'm considering to be an expert or having a strong grasp on something it would normally be to make money from or assist in a business project and this is where I assess why I'm learning and should I bother. Am I really interested in learning it or am I wanting to learn it because I don't trust someone else to do it properly? That's normally what I ask myself going into a new skill.
     
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  5. JWM
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    JWM Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Thanks for the reply. Didn't realise Steve Jobs did calligraphy, but his reasoning is what I'm talking about, because he was interested and for no other reason.

    I love that quote too, " I collect hobbies". I will probably actually use that one :rofl:
     
  6. B. Cole
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    B. Cole In thine hand is power and might. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I dabbled with license plates, t-shirts, stuff like that, but I used it heavily for painting decoys - at 16 I began carving birds and decoys, and grew into carving competitively, where birds were made as realistic as possible. The extreme artistic end of what used to be a utilitarian/folk art form.
     
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  7. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Fits me perfectly. I want to do/try everything. I walk into a book store or a library and I want to READ/LEARN everything.

    It's kinda cool, but it's also detrimental and lends itself to a lack of focus. As someone else mentioned, could cause Shiny Object Syndrome.
     
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  8. Eskil
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    Eskil Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Hehe...yes! Gotta be careful and try to have discipline and focus. In my younger years I would stray from one thing to another ("gotta master ALL the things!") lol, but the trick is to teach yourself to just do, and enjoy, a thing a time.
     
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  9. Never1
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    Yup. I acknowledged this darkside in myself, some time ago, and always need to remind myself to not get lost in academia-style BS. If there's nothing of value to my future goals, I'll do my best to ignore the temptations to learn about "quantum metaphysics" or whatever. lol

    Man, do I ever wish we could just soak up any subject like NEO in the Matrix, when he was training. Maybe someday technology will get us there?
     
  10. Gabry_ITA
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    Reading your answer and thinking about it, I understood that my problem is that I don't think about a goal; this isn't good, I know, and I'll try to change my mind, 'cause now it's like to sail without a compass.
    Now I'm learning HTML and CSS for a personal business project; I'll define a goal like you said because I don't need to be an expert, I just need to know what is helpful to my business cause.
    Thanks a lot, you gave me a big help to understand!
     
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  11. Kak
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    Kak Capitalist Swine Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I fit the concept for sure.

    I am one of those jacks of all trades.

    On two ends of the spectrum... I own businesses in wildly different markets and can put on a suit and make C level dealings. The next week I can rebuild the top half of my engine and remodel my house.

    I want to build (and fly) an experimental airplane at some point.

    My interests are very broad. I'm weird like that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019 at 10:42 PM
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  12. Primeperiwinkle
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    Primeperiwinkle Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I used to say this ALL the time. I love the Matrix. But .. you know it’s not any fun to just get info downloaded. That concept of “education” is exactly why public schools are so incredibly worthless. “Teachers” lecture and expect children to just swallow bland oatmeal down without ever trusting in them enough to give them real meat, letting them struggle with the concepts. Public school kills curiosity and THAT is a true tragedy.

    The joy really is in the challenge. I remember the first time I used a blowtorch on pinewood slats and it smelled like marshmallows! Of all things! Or when I taught myself to knit from a book and for some weird inexplicable reason it took me an hour to master this one stupid knot. Or.. when I said screw it and decided to take my boys fishing.. and because I had read about weights and bait or maybe just because the grace of God, we caught more than anybody else at the barge that day...even though their mama had to say a prayer over EVERY worm. Oh lord.. too squishy! ROFL!

    Or, reading the original Faërie Queene with my son who was THREE at the time and laughing hysterically as we tried to understand it, line by line.. then, as my son started discussing what it takes to be a good knight.. oh my.

    Those are all precious memories of learning, REAL learning because we feel timid, foolish, maybe overwhelmed by the task ahead but also full of awe and wonderment.

    Passively receiving information doesn’t make us feel alive. The struggle does. The challenge to grasp an idea or a skill, wrestle it down to the ground, and then lift it up with my own hands and say “This is mine” with real love because I fought to understand it and no one can ever take that from me.

    I wax poetic about learning.. anyhoo.. it’s really nice to find more people who understand.
     
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  13. diegorueda
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    diegorueda Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I stumbled upon this term some years ago, and found a book that helped me a lot to understand me better in that regard.

    "Refuse to choose" by Barbara Sher.

    The downside of it is that you rarely monetize any of your skills, as specialists do. But once you recognize yourself as a generalist and accept that fact, you can become a better entrepreneur, or creative problem solver, or conector, or whatever.

    ... I love to be a generalist, but I cannot avoid to envy some specialists sometimes.

    At least, I've found a passion where being a generalist is necessary. I'm into filmmaking lately and that allows me to learn a lot about so many topics without going out my way. As a good teacher of mine said "as a director, you have to be the second best in everything" :D

    I guess the same applies to a lot of entrepreneurial endeavors.

    Enviado desde mi MotoG3 mediante Tapatalk
     
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  14. 404profound
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    404profound Gold Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I think people are naturally this way. Then society puts us in a box, or tries to anyway. As kids we ask "why" about everything; we want to know how the world works and manipulate it in different ways. As adults we get punished for asking why. But at our root we're designed to explore and learn.
     
  15. diegorueda
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    Since we, as kids, have a tendency to do more of the things from which we have validation for, probably kids with some natural talent for a specific something will have more probabilities to become specialists. Even if they could be even better in another field never explored.

    But I agree that our education system, and industrialized society, is built to grow a lot of specialists.

    But, as the people who train in le methode naturelle or any of its variants (movnat, etc) say, "specialization is for insects." :D
     
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  16. lowtek
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    lowtek Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    Kind of seems to me that we are loosening the definition to simply mean anyone with broad curiosity and the tendency to dabble.

    When I think of a polymath, I think of DaVinci. Very very few people are gifted in multiple areas of science and mathematics as well as in painting and sculpting.

    Isaac Newton also comes to mind. Best known for his application of calculus to physics (I think it's debated whether he or Leibniz developed calc), he was also a heavy practitioner of alchemy, the precursor to modern chemistry.

    IMHO, it's someone with world class talent in multiple arenas that are so dissimilar that it would take two or more individuals to achieve comparable expertise and recognition. I think few such people are alive at any one time that we can name them on one hand.
     
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  17. 404profound
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    Would you say today that it's Elon or DeGrass Tyson?
     
  18. lowtek
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    lowtek Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    Elon almost certainly, but not NdG. He's not really noteworthy, to be honest. He has no significant contributions to astronomy/astrophysics/cosmology.

    He's an OK communicator, but I like the guy who narrates the space time channel on YouTube better.
     
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  19. JWM
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    JWM Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Happy to help in some way, I'm glad you found some value in my post
     
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    Being a multipotentialite is a gift and a curse. I find myself finding an interest in something. Then, I will excel at it quickly. After mastering whatever it may be...I'll get bored with it and move on to something else. I get annoyed by my own actions when that occurs. I wish I can kick the habit and just focus on ONE thing. Not trying to sound arrogant or anything of that nature. But imagine you are good at everything. Now, it's time to make money. But you don't know what direction to go because anything is an option for you. No action is taken towards anything because of the fear of "I don't know if i'm doing the RIGHT business." It is also a form of perfectionism. I feel it is holding me back from reaching my full potential in the world of business. Combat sports(mainly the sport of boxing) and music production are the only things that keep me constantly interested. I don't know why I've never gotten bored with the sport of boxing yet. I lowkey think it's because humans are unpredictable. A person may assume but no one truly knows what an opponent is going to do in the ring or outside of the ring. Especially, in a time of desperation.
     
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    I highly recommend picking a category like stocks/trading, e-commerce, real estate investing, or digital marketing.

    There’s enough to learn in any one category that you won’t be able to master it as fast.
     
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  22. JWM
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    I think though that's why there are so many words floating around for this phenomenon. Polymath is quite specific and has it's definition, same for all the other titles that have been made for it, they differ slightly in definition.

    I guess where I'm coming from is the need to fulfill the desire of learning various skills for yourself, not for anyone else. By setting a goal for that skill and achieving it. One skill at a time. This I don't think fits the actual definition of "Polymath" but is derived from it.
     
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  23. MythOfSisyphus
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    I wouldn't want to be any other way. I've got my business to a pretty successful level and I now only work about 25 hours a week on it so in my free time I follow various sports, I brew my own beer, I do strength training, bike riding, yoga, I love learning how to cook and have developed an obsession with American BBQ. I love hiking, camping, travelling and have a list of probably a hundred other things and new business ideas I wish I had the time to pursue. Sadly, life is too short to do it all.

    I couldn't imagine having my identity or my time wrapped up into only one or two things.
     
  24. Everyman
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    @Eskil that's pretty awesome. You actually wrote a song for your wife... great idea and so simple...

    I have read a lot of your posts and would like to ask here, because you seem rational / reasonable.

    Why would you say talent / gifted? Most of the guys I have studied, that achieved world class level at something, had zero talent or even below zero. They literally sucked at what they are masters now... just curious here?

    Would you say a polymath is a person that knows how to, not only knows, ok, can / is able with his own body to:

    - speak a couple of languages
    - play an instrument (art)
    - build something (engineering)
    - has exercised most of his life and is good at sports
    - chemistry, maths, physics (look engineering above) is easy to him
    and I could go on and on.

    Where do you see the 'threshold' of becoming a polymath? Is it a level of mastery + the number of different areas?

    My experience is that a person is only limited by his beliefs, e.g. I have a mathematical brain or any other brain that limit my abilities to this or that, which is actually a great excuse not to do something which feels uncomfortable at first...

    Everyone can become a polymath if he believes he can and acts upon it. Would you agree or disagree?
     
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  25. lowtek
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    So I think for the purposes of discussion I was being too pedantic about the definition. It's an unfortunate side effect of being so technical. I didn't mean to be a party pooper.

    Can people achieve proficiency in many disparate areas? Certainly. I believe the folks here who claim skill in multiple areas, and I've seen several such folks in my own life.

    Can anybody achieve proficiency in multiple dissimilar areas? No, I would say not. I'm not a neuroscientist, but I would say it probably requires a brain with a high degree of plasticity, coupled with a high functioning intellect, innate curiosity and strong work ethic.

    It's like asking if anybody could become good at basketball. I'm part of the manlet brigade, so there is zero chance of me becoming competitive at basketball. If I were a foot taller, had great athleticism, and a strong desire and work ethic to become so, then possibly, but it's not a given.

    No amount of belief is going to compensate my stumpy little legs, just like no amount of belief is going to get someone to the level of world class in nearly any other endeavor, if they don't have that innate capability. If someone has a 90 IQ, they're not going to be a polymath. They can be successful in life, but they're probably not going to be recognized by those in their immediate circle as gifted in multiple areas, let alone a broader social sphere.

    As far as what it requires, I'd say that's a bit subjective. I think it's one of those things that you find it difficult to define, but know it when you see it.

    I was a band geek in school, and one of our other members was what I would consider a polymath. He could play every instrument in the room, at the level of top 2 or 3 musicians, and was also highly intelligent and a straight A student in the AP classes.

    If I were forced to specify what it means to me, it would be strong capabilities in some technical field (math, chemistry, physics, engineering, software, etc.) plus at least one type of art (music, sculpting, painting, writing, etc.). Bonus points for speaking multiple languages, strong business acumen, strong leadership / communication skills, or athleticism. I pick these because they require totally different wiring in the brain, and many hours of dedication to master.

    Edit: Also, can you please specify what you mean by people achieving world class mastery with zero talent. This seems like an oxymoron to me, so perhaps I misunderstand you.
     
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