Michael, when you mentioned polymath, I thought ‘this is me.’ Few people and companies know what to do with polymaths. The ones that have figured it out have become very successful utilizing polymaths.

Polymaths are like needles in a haystack. Once you find them (and especially they are interested in being a part of a particular company), keep them and rotate them and allow them to navigate within a company or system as they can be successful in virtually anything you assign them. They are possibly more suitable for leadership roles since they hold a lot more knowledge, flexibility and understanding (again, that mental model) than others. Additionally, their unique intuition is added benefit.

Polymaths hold lots of knowledge and can integrate things that others cannot easily do. Thus, innovation, inefficiency and productivity issues can be solved, sometimes, easily without effort, i.e., where the average person would have to expend more effort, it is effortless for many polymaths since it is natural to integrate and apply knowledge (going back to that mental model associated with polymaths).

I know this too well. I am INFJ and a bridge learner. Essentially, I am a polymath. I am that person that knows lots of things (and though I am not perfect, I am very good at what I do and I have mastered a lot too). I can grasp things very quickly, retain and recall information and comprehend it and apply it in various ways. I am that ‘big picture’ person, though I can adjust to see the singular picture as well.

Society has never advanced without this thinking. We cannot afford to be linear in our experiences, learning or thinking. While some people may feel it is great to stick to one thing, this is not what society and businesses have needed and wanted. This is to say that society and businesses have craved for innovation, efficiency and quality, but this cannot come without the integration of knowledge.

Associate Professor. Author. Tech Enthusiast. TEDx Speaker. Former UN Delegate for WILPF-US.

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