Embrace the inconvenient

An unwelcome consequence of living in a world where everything is “easy” is that the only skill that matters is the ability to multitask. At the extreme, we don’t actually do anything; we only arrange what will be done, which is a flimsy basis for a life.

We need to consciously embrace the inconvenient — not always, but more of the time. Nowadays individuality has come to reside in making at least some inconvenient choices. You need not churn your own butter or hunt your own meat, but if you want to be someone, you cannot allow convenience to be the value that transcends all others. Struggle is not always a problem. Sometimes struggle is a solution. It can be the solution to the question of who you are.

The Tyranny of Convenience

A good life is not always an easy life.


Specialist vs generalist vs self-sufficiency

Two quotes I’ve been pondering for a last while:

I think the correct path for everybody else is to specialize and get very good at something that society rewards, and then to get very efficient at doing it. But even if you do that, I think you should spend 10 to 20% of your time [on] trying to know all the big ideas in all the other disciplines. Otherwise … you’re like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. It’s not going to work very well. You have to know the big ideas in all the disciplines to be safe if you have a life lived outside a cave. But no, I think you don’t want to neglect your business as a dentist to think great thoughts about Proust.

The Generalized Specialist: How Shakespeare, Da Vinci, and Kepler Excelled

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”?

“Don’t be intimated by anything. In the vast majority of the professions and vocations, the people who succeed are not any cleverer than you.  The adult world is not full of gods, just people who have acquired skills and habits that work for them.  And specialize – the great human achievement is to specialize as a producer of goods or services so that you can diversify as a consumer.  Self-sufficiency is another word for poverty.

Matt Ridley – Tribe of Mentors