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Why Being a Specialist Can Hurt Your Career Success


expressed opinion entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

For a long time, we have been told to maximize our professional utility. We should focus our energy on being really good at one thing.

In short, specialization prevails. With a few exceptions, the professionals most in demand in their fields are those who are the best at what they do. The best engineers are those who get jobs at Apple and Tesla. The best quants are those who get jobs at Renaissance and SAC. The best chefs work in Noma and Per Se.This adage holds true in most fields, and as such, people are encouraged to be real Be good at one area at the expense of all others. In fact, specialization within specialization happens. You are no longer an engineer – you are a DevOps engineer. You are no longer a chef – you are a pastry chef. Any time that is not perfect in a field of expertise is a waste of time.

Related: Is Focusing on a Specific Niche Really That Important?

While historically these people have been well paid, it doesn’t seem to have always been the case these days. In fact, categorizing your talents into a major these days can actually block one’s path to accolades, accolades, and the associated monetary windfall. why is that? Neither Steve Jobs nor Elon Musk are the best engineers in their organizations. Nor are they the best managers. Or the best designer. Or really the best at anything. However, they have developed a high level of expertise in a number of often disparate areas of knowledge. Few are like Steve Jobs, a talented designer, a product visionary, an incredible judge of talent, and an inspiring (albeit difficult) manager.

Strangely enough, our educational system and our cultural fabric often encourages people to become really good at one thing at the expense of everything else. at the same time, research shows The people who achieve the most in entrepreneurship, science and art are those with diverse interests. This practice, known as skill stacking, suggests that being in the top 10% on several disparate skills is more unusual than being in the top 1% on a single skill. The more different the skills, the less likely you are to find someone who reflects the same combination of expertise. This can make individuals not only unique in what they can do, but they are also more likely to see problems and situations from a unique perspective. While most entrepreneurs in computing approach it from an engineering background, Jobs approached it from an engineering and design perspective. In turn, he was able to build things that people with a narrower engineering frame of reference were simply not capable of doing.

Therefore, the prescription for any aspiring world-class entrepreneur is a simple two-pronged process, first embracing the diversity of existing interests and then further consciously cultivating new interests.

related: Why being an expert in your field in today’s fast-moving workplace doesn’t cut it

Embrace your different interests

Many times when talking to emerging entrepreneurs, they admit that they also have hobbies that don’t seem to be directly related to the business they’re building. They were quick to assure me that they were just rarely visiting these hobbies because of the brief downtime they were going all out to build the business. It’s hard not to grimace when one hears this all-too-common refrain.While not always immediately obvious, usually those precise Help inform the core of what makes their product unique and of special interest. A fintech entrepreneur with a brief interest in the psychology of human behavior will almost certainly let the latter inform their product vision in ways that are crucial to distinguishing them from their competitors. Different interests do not prevent success. Instead, they are often the core reason for success.

Committed to learning new things

Almost everyone has some hobby they’ve long since put off because they just “don’t have enough time. There’s never enough time in the day between our careers, friends, family, and any other obligations we can take on. For The idea of ​​busy entrepreneurs spending five hours a week learning something irrelevant to their business can feel criminal under the constant hype culture. Every entrepreneur should get rid of this notion and commit to weekly Spend at least five hours investing in things they want to do but put off for a long time. At worst, these investments will give the brain a much-needed respite from the labor of building a business. At best, one will learn And there are moments of epiphany that inform what builds up, and with an almost astonishing frequency, culminates in critical differentiation.

As entrepreneurs, we all have ambitions to build life-changing businesses. But truly innovative, original ideas are hard to come by. A lot of smart people are turning their energies toward trying to come up with the next big thing. A person who studies finance every day is less likely to come up with something radically different than thousands of people doing the same thing. But suppose the same person happens to spend some time in finance, interpretive dance, social psychology, and architecture. In this case, they are more likely to have views that are shared by few, if any, others. These other aspects of their lives will inevitably affect their approach to fintech.

So the next time you feel guilty about reading some psychology papers or signing up for an interpretive dance class, realize that these things won’t distract you, but are likely the way to fulfill your entrepreneurial dreams .



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