Sunday, October 16, 2022


 In his book, "Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World", David Epstein brings forward a comparison between Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. Tiger Woods is used as a prime example of early specialization in Golf. His father recognized his talent very early in life, nurtured it over the coming years- leading to Tiger becoming one of the greats.

Roger Federer on the other hand wasn't focused just on Tennis since his early years. He tried many different sports when he was a kid: Squash, basketball, handball, tennis, table tennis, badminton, soccer, the list goes on. He found that the type of sport itself didn’t really matter much to him, as long as it included a ball. It was only in his teen years he began to focus on tennis.

Federer's way is truly more reminiscent of today's times when shelf life of a skill is diminishing by the day. I recall in one of the podcast Ravi Venkatesan called out to "Experiment with many things and discover for yourself. (in these times, we are at) a very high risk of becoming obsolete. To avoid hard landing, you need to reinvent yourself."

To reinvent, one of the fundamental things that is needed is to embrace learning agility. We are constantly thrown in situations where we need to learn quickly and emerge quickly with a solution. How can you approach learning in this situation ?

I quite loved the way Shaan Puri mentions ( about the roles we play while learning in any field. He says, we play one of the 4 roles:

1 - Sketpic (on sidelines, judging everyone)
2 - Cheerleader (on sidelines, cheering other people doing things)
3 - Participant (in the game, using stuff other people created)
4 - Player (in the game, creating things yourself)
As much as possible, try to be at level 4.

Catch the summary in my sketchnote.

Learning in any endeavor is maximized if we have proper skin in the game i.e. we are learning and creating at the same time. As we embrace our own reinvention journeys, it makes ample sense to prioritize to "Do" some real stuff while we gear ourselves up to "Read" tons of stuff. Reading without doing is only half as effective.

What do you think ?

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