You shouldn’t have to choose between being a fireman, a horse-rider, a truck driver and spiderman. You can do all of them. A fireman that knows trucks and can climb like spiderman would be an asset to the profession.

Why are we made to specialize? You can study law OR politics OR finance OR psychology OR art OR drama OR accounting…and most students pick fairly randomly because who knows what they want to do at 18 years old? And many people stay stuck in a field because it’s expensive and time consuming to change direction. Yes, there are certainly some issues with the concept of the Renaissance Man (or woman). One could argue that if you have serfs running your farmlands then of course you’d have time to learn archery and how to write poetry. I don’t want to get into that debate. I just want to make the point that it’s time to stop separating disciplines so rigidly.  The world is calling for multi-disciplinary thinkers – not just people trained in engineering or economics or law or biology. All of the above.

We should all be studying lots of different things and bringing the diversity of that knowledge and those skills to all we do.

I love the fact there’s a growing trend towards multi-disciplinary thinking all over the world. I’m so inspired by the stuff I’ve been reading by Ken Wilber, Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworksi, Betty-Sue Flowers, Richard Barrett, Prof Henry Mintzberg.

Here’s just one example of the trend in this article I found through twitter (tweeted by the Graduate School of Business of the University of Cape Town). It’s by Ken Starkey, professor of management and organisational learning at Nottingham University Business School. You can read the whole article here:

Encouraging this type of leadership requires us to integrate management and education best practice, eastern and western philosophy, psychology, the arts and humanities, systems thinking, action and narrative inquiry, story-telling, life histories, scenario planning, management learning and personal development.

Our overarching goal should be to facilitate the creation of more humane, more inclusive narratives of self, business and society that acknowledge that the social responsibility of business is much more than just increasing its profits.

I’m a lawyer and a lecturer and a writer and a consultant in organisational consciousness and a counsellor and a philanthropist and a blogger and a mountainbiker and a wannabe triathlete. And that’s just today. 

It doesn’t matter what you do, just try new things and you will develop new skills and new perspectives. My friend who’s a trauma surgeon is an excellent chef  – she can cook a 5 course dinner for 20 without breaking a bead of sweat. Why? Because remaining aware of a timeline and focusing on 10 things simultaneously, all of them critical, is what she is trained to do. Surgery helps her cook and her cooking probably helps her surgery!

Tending plants might make you a more patient maths teacher.

Mountainbiking helped me become a more decisive lawyer.

The world’s your oyster.  Why not try scuba diving?


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