Recently, I came across this article about becoming a polymath. The concept fascinated me, because it gave me a term for a goal I already had. A goal of Learning.
It’s been almost a decade since I left full-time education, but I can honestly say that I’ve never stopped learning. Education has always been extremely important to me, and while I enjoyed Educational Institutions, self-education is so much more powerful.
It is an essential element if you want to reach your potential. To continue to grow as a person, you need to continuously and consciously increase your skills and abilities, which is something I aspire to help people with through Kaizen Journaling Academy. You also need to keep practising and polishing the knowledge you already possess, lest you lose it.
My problem has always been that I want to learn too many things, and I’ve never been able to decide if I want to be a specialist or a generalist. I’ve said for years that if the profession of a scholar still existed, like in the ancient days, that is what I would’ve chosen. But the fact that no one has stepped up to pay me for learning, hasn’t stopped me from my devoting my life to learning.
Over the last decade, my journey of self-education has been full of detours. I’ve tried to make lists, and eve syllabi for myself to decide what I would like to focus on, but usually a new interest or a new book got in the way, and I never quite managed to pin down what I wanted to learn.
But lately, things have changed. I still haven’t managed to pin down a specific syllabus, but I have realised that I don’t need to. Having spent the last decade on self-awareness and self-discovery, I have a very clear idea of what I want to learn, what values are important to me, and what subjects fascinate me.
By focusing on those broad categories, I would be “specialising” within my areas of interest, but they are wide enough and big enough that I could be a generalist as well. They are also deep enough that my plan of learning has the room to constantly evolve, as I discover new material, and even as my knowledge grows.
Before I read this post, I already had a plan in my bucket list called, “Become a Renaissance Woman.” But I like the term “Polymath” better. I also looked up Project Polymath – a university for would-be Polymaths. Their philosophy is to focus on projects, rather than exams. By doing projects, you apply the skills you learn, and you also broaden them. Anyone who’s ever delivered a project would know that there is a lot more to it than simply your specialised subject.
To me, that seems a better test of one’s skill than simply taking exams. So I decided to make that a part of my Becoming A Polymath plan.
So what is my Polymath challenge? What do I want to master before I die?
Becoming A Polymath – My Personal Challenge
1. Become a Hyperpolyglot (defined by linguist, Richard Hundson, as a person who can speak 6 or more languages fluently)
- English (Fluent)
- Gujarati (Fluent)
- Hindi (Fluent)
- Spanish (Beginner)
2. Writing (Fiction)
Initially, I had “Writing” as one category, but I know from personal experience that writing Fiction and Non-Fiction are two very different things. So I’ve decided to keep them separate, as their projects would be different too.
3. Writing (Non-Fiction)
This would mostly be journaling related projects – courses, books, articles. But there may be things on few other topics too.
Of all the 7 things, this is the one I would score the highest based on where I am right now. But like almost everything, there is always more to learn and try.
5. One form of Physical Activity
Current choices are Yoga, a form of Martial Arts, or Running. Healthy body is very important, and also necessary if I’m to achieve all my other mental goals, so this needs to become a priority.
6. Human Behaviour / Body Language / How the Mind Works
I don’t expect to master this. I am not sure if anyone can entirely master how humans work, but I’ve always had an interest in it. This is also a pretty important element in becoming a better fiction writer.
7. Learn to write with my right hand, as well as I do with my left hand
This is what my right handed hand-writing looks like at the moment:
I would love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments below.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:
Define your Personal Polymath challenge, even if it is just one thing you want to master.