Monday, April 15, 2013

Mr. T, a Tall Height, and a Wide Horizon

I have wondered before which is better: devoting your time to one pursuit and reaching a height, or devoting your time and effort to several different directions so as to be a well-rounded person. I usually choose not to provide an answer to the question and try to always affirm that both possibilities are desirable and that the key lies in finding a balance between them.

Well, today I read this.

A T-shaped man has two characteristics. First, he has a depth of knowledge and a focused expertise in one skill or discipline. This characteristic is represented by the vertical stroke of the T. Second, he has an interest in and a willingness to use a broad range of skills and disciplines outside his area of expertise. This characteristic is represented by the horizontal stroke of the T. A T-shaped man is, in short, a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of one. (See what I did there?)

This is one possible balance to strike when considering which direction to go in. He advocates (putting it into the terms that I typically use) reaching one height and then having a familiarity with the surrounding landscape. This allows for mastery and versatility at the same time: ensuring that you can collaborate easily with others but also ensuring that you have a valuable skill that you can be considered an expert in.

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