Where to begin?
When I was a little boy, lets say around 5 or 6 years old, I really discovered I had an affinity with creation and art. My sister who is three years older than me was in school and brought home a small book with tracing paper and blank sheets to draw on. Her teacher, who later on would also become my own educator, had drawn a number on the first page and instructed the then wee girl to draw up a monster using the number as a basis. As young as I was, I loved the idea of creating something out of another persons idea. Fast forward almost 30 years and I find myself still doing this exact same thing but in a more professional manner. I did, however, found out that there’s more to life than just being good at drawing numbers…
One for all and all for one
In modern society there seems to be a lot of pressure on achievements in life; You have to be successful in work, have a healthy family, have a perfect physique but how many people actually stop and take a look at what they accomplished outside of their targeted comfort zone? Everyone dreams big of what life is that they don’t always stop to smell the roses or try to explore other fields of interest. This is generalising of course but it also becomes apparent within a more corporate environment or worse, in creative business and small, thriving startups. I have noticed this much when applying for jobs: I am a man of many talents but never have really been a specialist. I can fair well enough within graphic design, videography, illustration, and more. But why does this generalist still notice how hard it is for a multi-talent to get noticed and used properly?
A place for everyone
Now I know this sounds like complaining (which I coincidentally love to do, but I digress) but I am serious about this. Specialists can really dig deep but tend to not have the understanding of different fields to be able to really see it as a viable option for co-operation or even as a tool to solve a problem at hand. Generalists might lack skill in the field of production but can use their knowledge and experience to link often overlooked connections and possibilities. “Us” generalists are connectors and creative minds more often than not and are eager to learn and expand beyond our own expectations. Correct me if I’m wrong on this but doesn’t every company or even every relationship need growth and adaptation to become a better version of itself? Isn’t creativity and management of tools as important as productivity and knowledge on it’s own?
A healthy balance
In the end though seclusion is a bad thing and everyone has their talents. As the old saying goes – “Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid”. You have to search for strong and weak points in employees, friends and even in family and have a healthy balance to enjoy the biggest profit from their joined qualities. I may be a generalist but I need help in production at times, where a specialist has to be helped to broaden his or her horizon when things aren’t going the right way. It’s not an us versus them type thing, it is all a matter of understanding that both specialists and generalists are deeply needed in a team of professionals.
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“I haven’t seen Sandy, Angry Johnny or Mary
I heard they got married and might have had a couple babies
And traded their memories for Fairview and Acres
And never play no pinball or get out past the breakers”
(The Gaslight Anthem – Even Cowgirls Get The Blues)