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HOT TOPIC Are you a Multipotentialite/Polymath?

B. Cole

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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?
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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MJ DeMarco

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"A multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life.
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.
 

Eskil

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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.
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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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.
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?
 

Gabry_ITA

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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.
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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Kak

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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.
 
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Primeperiwinkle

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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?
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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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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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.
 

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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.
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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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.
 

404profound

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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.
Would you say today that it's Elon or DeGrass Tyson?
 

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Would you say today that it's Elon or DeGrass Tyson?
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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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!
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.
 

Primeperiwinkle

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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.
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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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.
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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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.
 

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@Eskil that's pretty awesome. You actually wrote a song for your wife... great idea and so simple...

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.
Very very few people are gifted in multiple areas of science and mathematics as well as in painting and sculpting.
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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@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?
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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According to Wikipedia, it seems like there are two definitions of multipotentiality.

The first one:

Multipotentiality is an educational and psychological term referring to the ability and preference of a person, particularly one of strong intellectual or artistic curiosity, to excel in two or more different fields.
The key word here is "excel."

And the second definition:

It can also refer to an individual whose interests span multiple fields or areas, rather than being strong in just one. Such traits are called multipotentialities, while "multipotentialites" has been suggested as a name for those with this trait. By contrast, those whose interests lie mostly within a single field are called "specialists."
This simply means that you have many interests, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you excel in all of them.

I wouldn't consider myself a multipotentialite according to the first definition because I don't really excel at anything. Even considering my main business skill, writing, I still wouldn't consider myself "exceptional" when compared to writers specialists like Stephen King. Same with entrepreneurship in general, which is my big passion, but it would be ridiculous to call myself an exceptional entrepreneur.

I would consider myself a multipotentialite according to the second definition, though as I do have many interests and can't limit myself to just one hobby. I've experienced a lot of different things and learned a lot from different domains. I often take ideas from one passion and apply it in another. It's also easier to learn new things after you've learned a lot of diverse things as you get better at learning fast.

At the same time, I often feel inferior to other people because I've never reached mastery in anything, particularly in sports which have always been my primary passions outside of entrepreneurship.

It seems like no matter what sport I engage in, I always stop improving after about 2-3 years and end up with average skills. But then it makes me think of Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, who wrote in his book Let My People Go Surfing:

"I've always thought of myself as an 80 percenter. I like to throw myself passionately into a sport or activity until I reach about an 80 percent proficiency level. To go beyond that requires an obsession that doesn't appeal to me. Once I reach 80 percent level I like to go off and do something totally different; that probably explains the diversity of the Patagonia product like - and why our versatile, multifaceted clothes are the most successful."
Perhaps that's a fitting word for me, too - an 80 percenter. You're proficient enough, but you can't call yourself exceptional.
 

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Well I still haven't gotten around to most of them, lol. Which.... trust me, I want to check them all off of my bucket list once I retire from my FTE :D

But to answer your question for the ones I have tried so far - I feel like every time I get my hands into something new, I really want to master it and do my very best at it. I'm never gonna become a complete expert at each and every hobby, but as long as I feel like I learned something or created something that felt rewarding - that was good enough for me.

For example, I think I did pretty well when I made my first guitar (which I posted a thread about here), wrote and composed a few songs (including one I made for my wife when we were dating), and tried my hands at building dog furniture or making birthday cakes, lol...



Wtf!!! I hope you're joking when you said you made that cake!!!
 

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I think being a polymath is a strong predictor of success.

What I used to do sometimes is walk into Borders or Barnes and Noble and just skim through different books. Read one paragraph here another there. The idea being that I get an extended awareness of topics, theories and ideas. Maybe not a complete one but enough so that I can dive in if I'm on a potential idea.

I think every discipline or area of study has some kind of "lesson" or "principle" or "law" that can be used in our heuristic decision making or problem solving in other areas.
 
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At the same time, I often feel inferior to other people because I've never reached mastery in anything
I think this is where I put my twist on the definition. I develop a goal and a reason for pursuing and learning something.

To master something, in my mind, would mean you have found something that you consider your life's work or that would consume a large portion of your life. That isn't to say you can achieve various things within that field.
 

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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.
I would like to challenge your thinking just a bit because DaVinci (or any other remarkable person) didn’t start out as phenomenal, he dabbled first and then became phenomenal, long after.

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.
You said “Can anybody achieve proficiency in multiple dissimilar areas? No”

I strongly disagree. I think you’re getting tripped up on the difference between prodigies and multipotentialites.

There are very few prodigies in the world but ANYONE can learn to be proficient in multiple areas. I like what the other guy said about 80%.

I think this is the difference between fixed mindset vs growth mindset. There aren’t incapable people, we just don’t believe in their capabilities.

I’m not trying to disregard common sense. If you have a genetic predisposition for being short and stubby you probably won’t play in the NBA but we’re not talking about just sports. Being a person with several academic pursuits or handicrafts or sports or languages all count.

All humans are capable of broadening their education, having love for many subjects, and becoming proficient in them. We’ve just been taught by a factory worker style education. It pigeonholes people into one “specialty” this erroneous idea that we are born to do one job and one job only.

Prior to the 1900’s people were required to have various pursuits or they wouldn’t have survived. If you’re a person who takes your family to the Midwest in 1873 you know how to do a bunch of stuff, well. You had to or you’d die.
 

Everyman

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@Primeperiwinkle you actually touched a lot of great point, which I also wanted to cover. Hopfully there is little repetition...

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.
Did you contradict yourself there? (Not being an a**hole, just curious and wanted to know if it's on purpose). You wrote 'not', but then gave good points on 'yes'... or is it just me?!

Aside from some really exceptional cases, which always exsist... I believe yes. You can achieve high proficiency. I saw @Eskil enumerating a bit of this and that (i.e. manual labour, music, business....) which he didn't admit, but I feel he is proficient at (at least to a certain level)...

I think Mozart is the example of a child prodigy given everywhere all the time. While he was a genius, his father was a musician, and he started playing the piano when he was 1yr old or 2yrs?! So when he was 5 or 6 he already had 3-4 years of experience under a professional eye. No luck there, some talent inherited after his father, YES, BUT the biggest factor was he had a mentor and put in the hours properly! (Sorry if I confused Mozart with other composer, but the story is, there are no born geniuses, they are made, mostly...)...

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.
You are correct. There are probably DNA or physical limitations that we cannot overcome (e.g. we cannot fly on our own, beacuse gravity will kill us).

I believe that you can develop IQ and other skills / qualities. Mold on DNA, 'talents' you received from the Creator (whatever you call it)... Of course the questions is "Is it worth the investment to go from 90 IQ to 150?". Is it even possible? Most certainly. Is it viable?....

And picking on your athletism and athletic examples. I have read about NBA players and there are quite a lot successful (on the top), that are really short (The Shortest NBA Players of All Time, Ranked). And you can carve your muscles. The limitation is probably black people have different muscle and body composition that allowes them to be better athletes than white people. I don't know if this is the case, but you can see it (black people dominate short distances 100m, 200m, NBA, NFL?, ...).

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.
You actually understood perfectly. This is the fun part (for me).

From the top of my head. Steve Vai admitted, between the lines, he had zero talent. He couldn't even hold the guitar properly. He just spent so many hours (8-12hrs a day for a couple of years), surrouneded himself with great musicians (Joe Satriani, Frank Zappa), so he has developed greatly, but with tremendous effort. He is also a great businessman (thanks to Frank Zappa) and you could say a philosopher...

"Hard work is a talent" - Garry Kasparov​

If we understand it this way, then yes, you need to be talented. Talented with the ability to work hard.

It's also easier to learn new things after you've learned a lot of diverse things as you get better at learning fast.
Exactly. Check languages. When you learn one, then learning another from the same language group is so much easier (e.g. Dutch - German - English, Spanish - Italian - Portuguese...)

At the same time, I often feel inferior to other people because I've never reached mastery in anything, particularly in sports which have always been my primary passions outside of entrepreneurship.

It seems like no matter what sport I engage in, I always stop improving after about 2-3 years and end up with average skills. But then it makes me think of Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, who wrote in his book Let My People Go Surfing:

Perhaps that's a fitting word for me, too - an 80 percenter. You're proficient enough, but you can't call yourself exceptional.
Thanks for this quote MTF and your input. It helped me a lot!
 
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I would consider myself a multipotentialite according to the second definition, though as I do have many interests and can't limit myself to just one hobby. I've experienced a lot of different things and learned a lot from different domains. I often take ideas from one passion and apply it in another. It's also easier to learn new things after you've learned a lot of diverse things as you get better at learning fast.

At the same time, I often feel inferior to other people because I've never reached mastery in anything,
This is me. I know a ton and can do a ton of things, but I'm not sure at what level something is considered mastered. My father was a true polymath (and a polyglot) and having someone that close to you who's like DaVinci and Einstein and Mozart rolled into one is awfully intimidating. :oops:
 

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This is me. I know a ton and can do a ton of things, but I'm not sure at what level something is considered mastered. My father was a true polymath (and a polyglot) and having someone that close to you who's like DaVinci and Einstein and Mozart rolled into one is awfully intimidating. :oops:
Who was your dad?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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@Primeperiwinkle you actually touched a lot of great point, which I also wanted to cover. Hopfully there is little repetition...


Did you contradict yourself there? (Not being an a**hole, just curious and wanted to know if it's on purpose). You wrote 'not', but then gave good points on 'yes'... or is it just me?!

Aside from some really exceptional cases, which always exsist... I believe yes. You can achieve high proficiency. I saw @Eskil enumerating a bit of this and that (i.e. manual labour, music, business....) which he didn't admit, but I feel he is proficient at (at least to a certain level)...

I think Mozart is the example of a child prodigy given everywhere all the time. While he was a genius, his father was a musician, and he started playing the piano when he was 1yr old or 2yrs?! So when he was 5 or 6 he already had 3-4 years of experience under a professional eye. No luck there, some talent inherited after his father, YES, BUT the biggest factor was he had a mentor and put in the hours properly! (Sorry if I confused Mozart with other composer, but the story is, there are no born geniuses, they are made, mostly...)...



You are correct. There are probably DNA or physical limitations that we cannot overcome (e.g. we cannot fly on our own, beacuse gravity will kill us).

I believe that you can develop IQ and other skills / qualities. Mold on DNA, 'talents' you received from the Creator (whatever you call it)... Of course the questions is "Is it worth the investment to go from 90 IQ to 150?". Is it even possible? Most certainly. Is it viable?....

And picking on your athletism and athletic examples. I have read about NBA players and there are quite a lot successful (on the top), that are really short (The Shortest NBA Players of All Time, Ranked). And you can carve your muscles. The limitation is probably black people have different muscle and body composition that allowes them to be better athletes than white people. I don't know if this is the case, but you can see it (black people dominate short distances 100m, 200m, NBA, NFL?, ...).



You actually understood perfectly. This is the fun part (for me).

From the top of my head. Steve Vai admitted, between the lines, he had zero talent. He couldn't even hold the guitar properly. He just spent so many hours (8-12hrs a day for a couple of years), surrouneded himself with great musicians (Joe Satriani, Frank Zappa), so he has developed greatly, but with tremendous effort. He is also a great businessman (thanks to Frank Zappa) and you could say a philosopher...

"Hard work is a talent" - Garry Kasparov​

If we understand it this way, then yes, you need to be talented. Talented with the ability to work hard.



Exactly. Check languages. When you learn one, then learning another from the same language group is so much easier (e.g. Dutch - German - English, Spanish - Italian - Portuguese...)



Thanks for this quote MTF and your input. It helped me a lot!

I don't think I contradicted myself, or if I did it was unintentional. I meant that a high degree of neuroplasticity, work ethic, and curiosity are all reasonably rare qualities, let alone all of them being present in a single person. I think all 3 are required for the true renaissance man, and hence they are quite rare.

As far as IQ, nobody is going from 90 to 150. As far as I'm aware, IQ is around 80% genetic and fixed by the time you're 15. You can do stuff to stave off the decline later in life, but it's not going above your genetic max. Same thing with height... big genetic component with contributions from early childhood nutrition. Once you're done growing, however, you're done. Lifting can stave off geriatric bone disorders, but nothing is adding inches to your stature.

You do raise an interesting point on what precisely talent is, and frankly I don't have a great answer. Is it God given? Is it the combination of a modicum of ability with insane work ethic? I would argue it's probably the latter, but in the end it may not even matter.

but, as I said in another post... I'm probably being too pedantic. One doesn't have to be a DaVinci to be awesome and skilled at a bunch of stuff.

Also, I don't think this particular forum is a good cross section of society. This place is highly skewed towards motivated and intelligent people, which are precisely the types we would expect to see exhibiting multipotentialite traits. MJ is a skilled writer, businessman, and early internet pioneer, for instance. He's not the only example we have.

For the majority of the population, self development is a laughable pursuit in light of the myriad of entertainment choices we have available. Bread and circuses, and all that. They may have a strong work ethic, but I would argue they lack the curiosity required.
 

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I think the Internet has made it easier than ever to "deep dive" into multiple subjects effortlessly in ways never before possible.

I'm 35 right now, which means I'm that funny generation that was old enough to know life before the internet but young enough to have basically adopted it immediately upon it's arrival as well.

I can tell you life before the internet was smaller. FAR smaller. If you wanted to learn something new you had to pick up a book or go to school for it. If you found that fascinating you had to seek out people who knew that stuff and talk to them and spend time around them to grow the skill and knowledge further. It was a lot of effort and quite slow.

These days, all you need to do to get "80% there" is find yourself a passionate and thriving internet community, or an expert who uploaded their knowledge to youtube, or take an online course for free (or cheap), or do a few google searches, or any number of other options.

It was REALLY easy to let your passions and questions "die on the vine" before the internet. If you didn't get what you wanted from a book and couldn't find a local and helpful expert to help you out - you basically hit a dead end unless you had some serious passion and commitment behind you that pushed you to keep going regardless of the problems.

These days I can lazily learn how artificial intelligence and quantum mechanics works at a university education level while I sit in my underwear and stream Spongebob Squarepants on the second monitor. If I'm interested I can pick up a few select books (in audio format!) that thousands of other people have already vetted as the "best of the best" on that subject. I can listen to the books on 2x speed while commuting around town and ask questions to fill in the gaps on internet forums while on the toilet. And if I want to find an expert I just have to say "yo, who's in Ottawa?" to one of the communities and I'll get 10 responses by the next day.

Frankly I'd be disappointed in the wasted potential if MOST people today weren't in some way, shape, or form considered Polymath's by old world standards.
 

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