Updated: Mar 19, 2021
Continuous improvement is a necessity in life. You see it as people advance in their personal and professional lives. You read books, take a course for work, you learn a new move in martial arts, a more positive way to parent and raise your kids. Part of that continuous improvement is seeking the guidance of others to help you in your journey. This may come in many forms...coaches, mentors or the person at the desk next to you. Recognizing that you need help and then taking the steps to get help is a significant psychological hurdle. It's important though that we ask for help. The wisest individuals know that seeking guidance from others is an important aspect of growth and understanding.
There is an African proverb that states...
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Seeking help from others is a type of feedback loop and considered a pillar of more effectively operating your organization (see DevOps article). When you ask for help from others, you are getting a fresh perspective. That fresh perspective, when clearly conveyed, is a game changer for how you operate your business.
A polymath is a multidisciplinary thinker with a wide breadth of knowledge and expertise across multiple subjects. One of the bigger values that I believe a polymath can provide is a completely unique "fresh perspective". That perspective comes from the curiousity, learning, thinking, practicing, failing and evolving across a wide spectrum of knowledge areas, industries and verticals. Because someone with such a diverse background is exposed to many different problems and situations, it affords them the ability to see things quite differently. Such diversity enables them to look at the interconnectivity of all facets of what they're working on...an ability to connect the dots across an enterprise and to see problems other do not because a polymath isn't necessarily in the weeds or hyper focused on one particular area. They use multidisciplinary thinking to approach situations with that unique perspective, using different mental models, which leads to innovative and extremely valuable outcomes.
Here are some famous polymaths - Hildegard of Bingen, Maya Angelou, Hellen Keller, Leonardo Da Vinci, Charlier Munger, Nikolai Tesla, Aristotle.
Have you sought out that fresh perspective?
Thanks for reading.