5 Reasons Why Specialization is Overrated
I’ve noticed that there’s a massive amount of importance placed on a person’s skills; what they’re good at, what they’re not good at, and what they should be good at.
I think that it’s great to have natural talent, and as long as you’re passionate about it then you should make the most of that talent, but is it okay to only focus on one thing?
I think it’s a bad idea, let me explain why:
1. It Causes Us to Box Ourselves in
Allowing yourself to only focus on a single part of your life restricts you from a number of things. Boxing ourselves in is easy and can happen without us being conscious about it, but it’ll catch up eventually.
This Causes Our Creativity to Suffer
If you only focus on one thing, all the time – don’t expect to be overly creative. Creativity comes from diversity; trying out new things, stepping out of your comfort zone.
You can’t expect your brain to be satisfied with constant repetition of the same stuff every day, like you, you’ll get bored – regardless of how passionate you are about your craft.
We Take Less Risks
That’s right, we play it safer. Why? Because most of the time we don’t need to take any risks because we’re not trying anything new.
I’m a music producer, and when I focus on my music for days on end I find myself doing the same things without change, I’m not taking any risks. If I take a break and write an article, or study something – then I’m more accustomed to taking a risk.
It’s Easy to Become Satisfied
Easy satisfaction might feel good at the time, but in my opinion it’s really not the best thing. If we’re easily satisfied then we’ll never push ourselves, never go beyond where we are.
There is no better feeling than finishing a project that you’ve put blood, sweat and tears into. I’m sure you’d agree with me on that.
The problem with focusing on only one area is that we do start to become easily satisfied.
There have been many times where I’ve focused on something for too long and I subconsciously justify my satisfaction. I’ve finished what I’m doing to the ‘best of my ability’ – though that’s just a lie.
2. We’re Less Applicable to Situations
I’m sure we’ve all learnt by now that life is a series of random events, some of these events contain little input from our end.
Now we can choose to diversify ourselves, prepare ourselves for a number of situations that may arise. Or, we can just continue to focus on one thing.
If there were two people left on earth, one who’d focused on filming movies his whole life, the other who chose to diversify themselves in the areas of fitness, cooking, and building – who do you think would survive the longest?
The second person. Now, that person’s cooking skills may not be up to the standards of a chef, or their fitness level at an athlete, but they’ve still got some amount of knowledge.
There are a lot of jobs that require specialization, but there’s also a number that don’t.
If I owned a real estate company and two people applied for a job – one with a master’s degree in economics and the other without qualifications but previous work in many different and diverse companies – I’d pick the latter 9 times out of 10.
If you have something to show for your wide range of skills, then you’re likely to get ahead of the person who specializes.
3. We Get Bored
I mentioned bored above when I was talking about satisfaction, but really, where’s the fun in focusing on one thing?
I, for one, like to take part in new challenges, learn awesome stuff; I couldn’t live with just one or two things.
Don’t get me wrong, my life revolves around ‘one or two’ things, but those one or two things don’t take up my whole day. If they did, I’d probably have given them up by now.
You might tell yourself, “I can’t add something new to my life, I don’t have enough time.” Yet you’re watching TV for 2 hours a night. Why not go to the gym? You only need 30 minutes for a good workout.
Boredom Destroys Productivity
I used to always think that if I became bored, I’d get motivation to work on something useful, I’d become productive.
I soon found out that this wasn’t the case; in fact getting bored caused me to become even more bored while making up excuses for being bored.
Unless you’re David Blaine, you probably can’t stick with something for more than the typical workday.
Well guess what? A workday is only 8 hours, and last time I checked we’ve got more time than that in the day.
You can try your luck going home and working on your job again, but you aren’t going to get much done. Why not focus on something else?
4. We Have Less Ideas
The great thing about being diverse is that your creativity and ideas go through the roof. Focusing yourself on more than one thing allows you to see patterns, patterns that you wouldn’t normally see if you spent your time on one thing.
As soon as I started studying psychology, I saw the link between psychology and music. As soon as I started writing about productivity, I saw the link between psychology and productivity.
You’ll be surprised how much two exclusive interests can transfer over to each other. It really is eye-opening.
5. It Makes Us Less Interesting
I’ve noticed that a lot of conversations I have with people last for a long time. Maybe it’s because I like talking, or maybe it’s because I’m diverse.
I’m not saying you can’t specialize and not be interested in something, of course you can. But it helps actually being able to talk about something you do.
If someone came up and started talking to me about how they’re a doctor, I’d listen. After 2 minutes I’d probably try and direct the conversation to something I’m interested in, and if after 3 minutes the person is still talking about their profession, I’d apologize and leave.
I’m not harsh, I just find that boring.
Do you want to become more interesting? Be diverse.