Stop specializing: I am my own niche

For years I’ve thought that the way to truly be successful and influential in your field(s) was to specialize – experts would always best Jack of all trades, masters of none.

Yet I quickly realized I had so many interests, genuine passions, for so many different fields that didn’t necessarily coordinate well together.

In high school, I’d be deeply interested in chemistry and math classes and how the world worked, my favorite class still was acting, and yet I received the top English award.

After class, I’d balance basketball practice with musical theatre rehearsals and violin orchestra practice. I constantly wondered whether I was spreading myself too thin, and I also realized I was never truly able to be the best in any one field.

I ended up dropping the basketball team out of lack of dedication, I felt like an imposter leading my high school strings orchestra as concertmaster for 3-years, and when I played Scar in Lion King I couldn’t help but have a lingering feeling of regret that I sacrificed basketball to sing. Why couldn’t I be like Troy Bolton?

Now I am at another semi-crossroads.

Am I the magician?

The philosopher, daily blogger?

Will I work on Wall Street and run a hedge fund, trading stocks, and options?

Or will I dive into academic economic research and cure poverty – my all-time goal?

I don’t have the answer, but I think I’ve come up with a path: I am my own niche

Specialization worked in the days of Henry Ford assembly lines, and yes it still works today too

But there’s something to be said about the creativity of bringing in interdisciplinary skills and disciplines

The most recent book I’ve been reading dives deeper into this concept of Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World.

Steve Jobs famously cited his Chinese calligraphy class for giving him the inspiration for pioneering Apples typography and design

Roger Federer didn’t specialize in tennis until much later than his peers, and in fact, might have learned towards soccer at one point in his childhood

And Lindt chocolate brought together dark chocolate and spices to create something new, unique, and not necessarily specialized but surely special

There’s ultimately nothing wrong with specialization, and equally nothing wrong with having a broad range of skills.

I hope to find a balance between both practices so that I can further build bridges between philosophy and business.


How do we know anything is real…?

Descartes brings up the question of dreams and reality: how do we know what is truly real?

Do we even know anything?

What if what we perceive as “reality” is simply a dream–and when we supposedly “wake up” from our dreams, we simply wake up into another dream? Inception???

Elon Musk believes we live in a simulation. But I find it ironic that humanity also developed Sims 3. Is that video game just some sort of sick way of the universe designer mocking us?

What about universal power. Who is the designer of this world? Is it the religious orthodox approach of an omni-God? Or is God amoral? Or is he multiple designers? Or was the world simply constructed out of a mix of convenience, chance, and miracle?

I believe reality is real, insofar as we are able to interact with one another. While in a dream, we are unable to conceive the thoughts of other people, nevertheless interact with them. In reality, we are. The fact that I am able to question my own reality, while also conveying that to other people who may have that exact same question, refutes the concept that I am living a dream. Or else we are all somehow living the same dream?

Life could be a simulation. But insofar as we are able to have free will, we are thus not in a simulation. To accept that life is a simulation would have to refute humanity’s ability to have freedom and free will. You can only choose one, and I choose the fact that I have free will.

And what about religion and deities?

I believe that the universe does not have an omnipotent-omniscient-omnibenevolent God in the traditional sense. I believe the designer of our universe is either amoral OR is benevolent but NOT omnipotent. If he were, however, omnipotent & omnibenevolent, then there are too many contradictions. Evil exists in our world, insofar as humanity knows. Thus, God is either not omnibenevolent, because he created evil, OR he is not omnipotent because he does not have the power to remove the evil in this world. And God cannot be comprehended as omniscient because only another omniscient being can say another is all-knowing–knowledge proceeds. I suppose the real question here is how does religion play into all of this, and whether or not this amoral God is worth worshipping?

The only way I know how to live life is as an agnostic in every sense of the word. I must remain skeptical about all of life’s questions, thus, I can remain curious and continue to seek knowledge in this finitely infinite universe.