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Specialize & Separate or Broaden & Connect?

June 19, 2019

 

We live in a world of increasing specialization. Doctors don’t even specialize in oncology anymore, now they specialize in particular cancers.

Make sense, right? Hard skills, clear roles, every single thing pointed toward that one goal. There is no doubt this is good for a resume. But it turns out it’s not necessarily good for us.

People in industrialized nations have gotten sharper because their thinking has become more broad, more abstract, less narrow and concrete. This allows us to adapt and apply our knowledge to new domains, an ability that is important now and will continue to be in the future.

“Modern work demands knowledge transfer: the ability to apply knowledge to new situations and different domains… Research on thousands of adults in six industrializing nations found that exposure to modern work with self-directed problem solving and non-repetitive challenges was correlated with being “cognitively flexible.”

And this is what we see in top performers. Yes, they specialize, but they have wide-ranging interests, providing a good amount of mental crop rotation to keep their cognitive soil fertile.

Scientists and members of the general public are about equally likely to have artistic hobbies, but scientists inducted into the highest national academies are much more likely to have avocations outside of their vocation. And those who have won the Nobel Prize are more likely still. Compared to other scientists, Nobel laureates are at least twenty-two times more likely to partake as an amateur actor, dancer, magician or other type of performer. Nationally recognized scientists are much more likely than other scientists to be musicians, sculptors, painters, printmakers, woodworkers, mechanics, electronic tinkerers, glassblowers, poets or writers, of both fiction and nonfiction. And, again, Nobel laureates are more likely still.

Ever meet someone who is a total one-trick pony? Great at their role, terrible at everything else? Don’t let yourself be that. Teach your pony a few more tricks.

Systema doesn’t specialize and separate, rather it broadens and connects. It recognizes that each individual possess the abilities to defend oneself and the curriculum helps to foster those abilities. A premium is placed on using creative ways of defending oneself. It places great value in our collective differences. All this offers great depth and width to learning.

I have always said the “Systema is so much more than a martial art”. I have used its principles in all aspects of life with great results.

See you on the mats,

emmanuel

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