Is It Better To Master One Area Or Get A Bit Of Everything?

April 4, 2019

By Bretton Daniels

Being an expert in one field is vital, but people have different abilities and mindsets. What to do in such a situation?

Strict Specialization vs. Versatility

What is better in our modern life: to learn one activity, being able to perform highly specialized work much better than others or to have superficial knowledge about many things?

Being an expert in one field is essential, but the market acceptability of the profession in question can change, and even little knowledge in other areas might become useful. Different tricky situations can utterly frustrate you if you do not know how to cope with them. Of course, it is always good to be the best in something, having thorough knowledge in one area. But, you can also yield good results being diversified and curious about many things. If you have versatile expertise and many skills, you can always find a solid job with a steady income. For example, if you specialize in one or several fields and have a good command of English, you can try applying for services that offer people to hire professional writers who can cope with many topics.

Specialization Comes First

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” It is a highly resonant expression by a great martial artist, actor, and philosopher, Bruce Lee. Now, due to globalization, market expansion, and cutthroat competition, the contemporary tendency of the current generation is focusing on a highly specialized activity.

People say that knowing a bit of everything practically means knowing nothing. “It is well to read everything of something, and something of everything,” wrote Henry Peter Brougham, a British lawyer, and statesman. Newspapers, TV, the Internet, and all informational surrounding contribute to knowing a little of everything. But, this superficial knowledge will not yield perfect results. It is essential to be an expert in at least one field. In that way, you will always be satisfied with the results of your work, and you will always try to strive for perfection. Highly qualified specialists can develop only by mastering one trade. And, narrow profile specialists are in high demand. It is especially evident when you look at the employment policies in medicine, IT, and engineering.

Specialists vs. Generalists

Companies will hire only specialists with a relevant set of knowledge and skills they need. There are entire areas where many research institutes, design bureaus, and plants work as a unit. The leader of this industry must be a systems specialist. They must know precisely how each element of the chain works. Such experts are worth their weight in gold.

Companies’ founders and top managers must be generalists because leading a business requires multiple responsibilities. The motivation to be a generalist here is apparent. Yes, it is interesting to know about everything. Versatile people take a keen interest in new things, and they want to learn everything that can help them develop. Although, they may as well become bored one day and switch to a different subject.

Today, more and more people work independently. According to the research of  Freelancers Union, 40% of American employees will become freelancers by 2020.

If you consider yourself a generalist, we have good news for you. Experts predict that many jobs in the future will require universal skills, especially if you want to work as a freelancer. Today, more and more people work independently. According to the research of  Freelancers Union, 40% of American employees will become freelancers by 2020.

Modern Trend to Know More

We need to know a lot to succeed in life. However, it is hardly possible to know everything, even within only one field. Many business activities dictate the need for understanding at least the basics of other several joint areas. Narrow professionals often have to rely on other experts’ opinion and take too much risk in business.

What stops an educated person from gaining knowledge in other areas of knowledge little by little?

Firstly, learning something new is exciting. Throwing yourself in the hidden depths of novel experience is a method that will bring a positive result sooner or later. Secondly, we all need to operate information about the most relevant and necessary things because our main work activity should not limit our interests. After all, apart from our own business, we communicate with friends, relatives, and many other people. They can surely appreciate talking and discussing something with a comprehensively competent and interesting person for whom there are things other than their job.

Personal Preferences

To be strictly specialized or versatile in knowledge: it all depends on a person, their abilities, personality, and life goals. Some people prefer to delve into only one subject. They do not deviate from a set direction in life, gaining mastery and success and often becoming famous musicians, scientists, artists, doctors, teachers, etc.

Other people aspire to get a bit of everything. They are bored to stay in one place, work in the same team, and even to live in the same area. These people are born into the world to gather knowledge, accumulate all-round experience, and express themselves in many activities. Some of such eminent people in the history of humanity were Leonardo da Vinci, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, French encyclopedists, and many others. Thus, selecting our way in life, we have to listen to our personal preferences, ignoring different stereotyped views in society.

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