A commonly misquoted phrase says: “Jack of all trades, master of none.”
Engage your curiosity about everything. Possessing skills in multiple areas is valuable.
Learning even a little bit about business, philosophy, physics, coding, economics, etc. may put you in a position of immediate value in almost any group.
Basically, be a T-shaped person. A T-shaped person is: someone who has specialised knowledge and skills in a particular area, as well as the desire and ability to make connections across different disciplines.
Have one deep domain expertise but also be knowledgeable about other areas.
In his book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialised World, David Epstein says:
“Like chess masters and firefighters, premodern villagers relied on things being the same tomorrow as they were yesterday. They were extremely well prepared for what they had experienced before, and extremely poorly equipped for everything else. Their very thinking was highly specialised in a manner that the modern world has been telling us is increasingly obsolete. They were perfectly capable of learning from experience, but failed at learning without experience. And that is what a rapidly changing, wicked world demands, conceptual reasoning skills that can connect new ideas and work across contexts. Faced with any problem they had not directly experienced before, the remote villagers were completely lost. That is not an option for us. The more constrained and repetitive a challenge, the more likely it will be automated, while great rewards will accrue to those who can take conceptual knowledge from one problem or domain and apply it in an entirely new one.”
It is possible that in a world where change occurs slowly, specialisation represents a significant competitive advantage.
In today’s ever-changing world, integrating your specialist skills with a variety of other skills is the new competitive advantage.
In a world where you have the freedom to explore the things you’re curious about, don’t limit yourself to just one.
Definitely be an expert in one particular field, but don’t be afraid to go out and learn about topics that aren’t directly related to your speciality.
“A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”