Have you ever wondered if you are a polymath?
You may have been taught at one point or another that you cannot do everything. Parents or teachers told you that you must pick one profession and master it.
You don’t want to be a jack of all trades and a master at none, right?
This is sound advice for many people but not for everyone. So if you are someone who has felt limited by this advice, you might be a polymath.
What Is A Polymath?
The word polymath stems from the Greek and means “much or many learning”. So essentially a polymath is a person who knows a lot about a variety of subjects. He or she is well-rounded and knowledgeable about many different things.
Some of these areas include,
Polymaths have the unique ability to look at a problem from multiple angles. Consequently, they are good at making connections to unrelated topics. They connect the dots and find a path when there seems to be no path, for instance.
3 Famous Historical Polymaths
Many of the great heros and inventors of the past were considered to be polymaths.
During the Renaissance period, people were generally expected to be well-rounded and knowledgeable in a variety of different fields.
Three of the most well-known polymaths in history are,
Benjamin Franklin: one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a renowned polymath and a leading author, printer and politician. Furthermore, he was also a freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.
Leonardo da Vinci: known as the “Universal Genius”, or the “Renaissance Man”. Leonardo was a very curious and imaginative man. His areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture and science. He also loved music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history and cartography.
Aristotle: also called “the master” or, “the philosopher.” He contributed to diverse fields of study. These fields included logic, rhetoric, ethics and physics. Other areas were story, poetry, government, metaphysics, geology and zoology.
Universal Traits Of A Polymath
Four of the most common traits that all polymaths possess are,
Knowledge. Polymaths are very knowledgeable in a lot of areas of life. They read a lot and so they absorb information from many different sources. They are incredibly curious and therefore you’ll most likely never find them bored.
Physical Development. A common characteristic amongst polymaths is to be in great physical shape. For example, they often play some type of sport.
Social Accomplishments. Polymaths are known to have good social skills. In addition, they communicate well with people around them and operate with ease and sophistication in social interactions.
Arts. All polymaths have great artistic abilities in areas such as painting, music, writing and drawing. In conclusion, they are naturally drawn towards artistic expressions.
Our Culture Of Specialization
Polymaths shaped the world the way we know it today.
In today’s world, most people are “monoliths”. As a result, we’ve become specialists in one field while neglecting most insights in other areas. We’ve been heavily influenced and formed by a culture that celebrates specialization.
Work is done much more efficiently and faster in a group setting when each person knows their role and does it well.
However, looking into the past, we can see that some of the most brilliant minds were not specialists in one area only — they were masters at a number of things.
Why You Should Love Being A Polymath
There may not be as much of a need for people to be experts at many different things these days. But if you’ve spent a good portion of your life feeling frustrated because time spent doing one thing means taking time away from another thing, you may be a polymath.
We have access to more information than ever so becoming a polymath is possible for any of us. You are already a philomath if you consider yourself to have many interests. Commit to mastery and you’ll become a successful polymath.
Don’t let society tell you what you can and cannot do.
Embrace your polymathic tendencies and as a result, you’ll feel a greater sense of freedom. It will also make you better at everything you do. We need modern-day polymaths.
Here are three reasons to love and embrace your polymathic tendencies:
- You’re never bored. The depth of curiosity you have for life keeps you interested in even the smallest things. This makes you a very interesting person to be around and causes you to never be bored.
- You’re knowledgeable in various fields. Having increased knowledge in many different areas will make you a valuable asset to everyone around you. Not only will you be able to provide value to people, you will also be able to build upon that in your own profession and interests.
- You are creative. You thrive in a free environment! Let your creativity flow and find ways to use your hunger for knowledge in a way that serves the world.
How To Develop The Polymath Brain
Can you train yourself to become a polymath?
The short answer is, yes. You can develop and train yourself to become an expert at several things. The key to developing these skills is to become a “philomath”, which just means, the desire to learn and master.
Here are a few things that you can do to become a modern-day polymath:
- Cultivate Curiosity: The most brilliant minds have an unquenchable curiosity and therefore seek to know more. Ask questions, delve into topics that you know little about and read lots of books. Consequently, you’ll become a constant learner.
- Dedicate yourself to Mastery: Commit to becoming as great as you can be. It is easy to have multiple interests. However, it’s less common to be masterful at several things. Whatever your interests are, commit to mastering them.
- Block out time every day: We all have the same amount of time in our days. So the key to do all that you want to do is to get good at micro-mastery. This might mean setting blocks of time aside for your bigger goals every day. Be disciplined in how you use your time.
don’t buy into the idea that you are a failure if you don’t specialize in just one thing. Some of the greatest historical figures were polymaths. You too can become successful even if you’re not a specialist at one thing. Refuse to let yourself be boxed in by societal rules. You can become a polymath by committing to being a philomath and committing to mastery every day.