The Story Of Becoming An Expert Generalist

My energy comes from learning multiple topics

Looking at my childhood, nothing about it told me I was going to be who I am today. Growing up, I enjoyed playing outside with friends, and when inside I’d play video games. I also made sure to do all the homework I got from school, plus the homework that my dad would make me do. I was a pretty busy kid, but mainly followed the rules the best I could and tried my best to get straight A’s. If it weren’t for English class in high school, I would have probably achieved that most of the time.

Where my passion for growth started

My passion for growth didn’t start until I finished my engineering degree. School never gave me the space to be relaxed and think about the world differently. For the most part, I was focused on figuring out how specific things already worked. It wasn’t  until later that I realized my education gave me the most important skill: learning how to learn.

 

My interest for learning and growth happened in one day. Like a light bulb that just switched on. 

 

I was sitting with my wife (who was my girlfriend at the time), deciding on something to watch for the evening. We ended choosing the documentary Food Inc. because there was some noise around it at the time and well, we had nothing better to do. At the time, I had been diagnosed with Crohns for about four years. For those who don’t know what Crohn’s is, it’s a disease where your immune system attacks you along your GI tract. I was taking 6 pills a day and also taking steroids to keep it under control. Basically, being a good boy and listening to my doctors when it came to my Crohn’s Journey.

 

Long story short, Food Inc. changed the way I saw the world. When I learned all this new information about where our food comes from and what is in it, I was terrified. For the first time in my adult life, I felt truly alone. No one could help me figure out the next step: not my doctor, parents, wife or friends. I had to either choose to ignore the information and live as I had, or accept this new information and figure out what to do with it.

For people who know me today, they can  tell you which path I took. But back then, it wasn’t my personality to just jump head first. But I’m happy I did. I started questioning everything I knew about food, and asking, “Is my body reacting and defending against the food that I’m putting in my body?” I spent a month doing research, talking to farmers and learning a lot more about health than I previously knew. Long story short, about a year later, I was off my medication and living life without the pills that I was told I’d have to take for the rest of my life.

The shift

This story is important because it changed my view on the world from being told what it is, to me asking, “What have I missed because I was just listening to what I was being told?”

 

From there I began to learn more about myself. There are more stories I will share later on, but I began to learn about things like

  • Emotional intelligence and getting to know myself deeper
  • Personal training and how to deal with injuries 
  • Technology: from firewalls to cloud architecture
  • Entrepreneurship and building passive income

…and many other things.

 

I began to enjoy knowing about things and validating ideas. Now as an expert generalist, I enjoy jumping into a topic, learning about it up to 70-90% and then moving onto something else. Typically, to get the rest of the 10-30% will take years to master and you become specialized in the field. At that point, I like to find people who have that skill set so that I can learn from their lessons.

 

Now considering myself an expert generalist, I enjoy being able to look at many different topics and start weaving together ideas that others may not be able to see. I begin to see the value that I bring is more than just knowing specific things in a specific field but how to bring many ideas from multiple fields together. Knowing this excites me.

A question for you...

Now I ask you, what have you chosen to accept in your life that you aren’t happy with?

How can you take a small step in changing that?

Comment below

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2 Responses

  1. I used to think the ‘traumas’ of my life meant something had gone wrong. Quick! Get some therapy on it! My healing work has shown me that the most overwhelming tragedies of my life were initiations to my greater being.

    Each challenge gives us the option to practice (a) avoidance, distraction, wishful thinking and denial or (b) a ‘yes’ to the call to action to discover all that we are capable of being. Even blindly following medical advice, such as in your case, can be a form of avoidance. Simply passively listening without critical thinking is not engaging with existence and the wealth of wisdom that exists within. The real momentum in life comes from a vivacious inner dialogue and saying ‘yes’ to all the shadows that show up.

    Yours came in the form of critical thinking and the ‘dark night’ you went through in plunging towards an underworld where conventional wisdom wasn’t going to help you. My own started as early as getting stuck in the birth canal on the way out and needing to be pulled out with forceps.

    Our DNA doesn’t fully express unless we encounter adversity and respond with courage. We are all more than we think we are and the limits are unseen. You became an expert generalist while I have thanked every shadow I’ve ever found for unlocking my genius mode (we all have one).

    Thanks for the content.

    1. Wow so well said Carson and thank you for taking the time to comment. Read that one twice over as there is lots of value in there.

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