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Generalist vs Specialist

Trong Nguyen
June 15th, 2020

When you hire a person to solve a problem. Do you want to hire a person who knows many things or a person who great dept in one thing?

You have a problem with Math, you want to hire a tutor The tutor knows English, Philosophy, Math, History, Art, Design… or mensa math genius. Who do you choose?

The mensa math genius. But why?

They do inside out, upside out, they do while in sleep. They’ve seen the problem 1000 times.

While the generalist, just 1 time.

Creative people have an addiction to the new. Tired of doing the same thing. As Jordan Peterson said:

“Where are by nature divergent thinker. Versus converging thinking. So if we exercise a little discipline. We pick a lane. We can do really well for ourselves.”

So here is the thing you should do:

You should specialize externally. Remain the Generalist internally.

Show the world that one thing you are good at. They assume that you good are everything.

This called Halo bias. This happens all the time. You see somebody good at one thing, you just assume they are smart at everything.

When you archive this level of fame or expertise. Credibility. Then they will ask for all kinds of stuff.

The other makes me rich externally, meaning money in the bank.

Internally, you study philosophy, you look at typography. You can look at lots of different things. I don’t put that out most of the time.

This makes me rich internally.

You can still love all the things you like to do. Just pick a lane and go deep on that. And put that face to the world. Because the halo bias works for you, and also works against you.

Inspired by

Hi, I'm Trong, product designer living in Singapore. I write to practice, and write to find ideas. Nice to meet you!
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