In praise of the polymath

2017-05-13 2 min read

    These days it’s incredibly easy to keep learning and find information on any topic but it’s much rarer to find people that are interested in everything they come across. More often you find people passionate about a few domains that are the most relevant to them and don’t bother pursuing knowledge of anything new. This mindset is both sad and irritating - why would someone consciously limit their knowledge?

    Beyond knowledge for knowledge’s sake it’s valuable to train your mind to learn and absorb information; you never know when it can come in handy. Beyond making you a generally more interesting person you’ll be able to connect with nearly anyone - an immensely useful ability regardless of what you do. It also adds to your own character and gives you the ability to think from a variety of perspectives - something that seems to be lacking in the modern world.

    Many innovations and inventions have come from ideas cross pollinating from one field to another and a micro version of that can be achieved in our own minds by learning and absorbing everything we can. This helps us connect the dots across different disciplines and is able to provide new perspectives on the same old problems.

    None of this is difficult to achieve. Just embrace your curiosity and make it a habit. If you find something interesting on Wikipedia keep following the links and don’t stop until you can’t go on anymore. If you start a book and aren’t enjoying it - deal with it and just finish it. See an interesting book mentioned in a blog post? Buy it. Change your mindset to welcome new knowledge and you’ll start seeing these opportunities everywhere.