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asleep at mal 9/09
question of the day... discuss 
1/15/09 9:07
asleep at mal 9/09
Question of the Day
Is it better to be good at a lot of things, or great at one thing? Discuss. (from devo.livejournal.com)

both? being good/competent at a lot of things indicates that you're a well rouned individual, capable of handling a lot of different situations

for instance... i'm a good cook, i'm good with math, cisco stuff, basic construction and electrical work, dancing, dressing myself well, making home look nice yet fit my personality and tastes

and i've become an excellent (if slow) seamstress over the years, which contributes to being good at a few of the things above - this is probably the thing i lose patience with most often, but also the skill i show off the most and love to do in spite of the frequent frustration when my first attempt at a design doesn't quite work out

but if i wasn't good at some of the the other tasks i wouldn't have time or money to dedicate to sewing/clothing design, and if i didn't have the creative outlet of designing and making clothes i'd never have the patience to do many of the things i'm good at (which are often boring tasks because they come so easily)
1/15/09 17:20 (UTC)
I think it depends on who you are around.

If you are great at one thing then it is important to be surrounded by other great/good people and that way you create a working unit.

If you are more of a solitary sort then being good at many things is more productive/secure.

1/15/09 17:41 (UTC)
it depends on if you want to be a good person, or want money or fame. If you want to be a good person then learn everything. be able to set a broken arm, make a latte, scram the pile on a nuclear reactor, fix a flat, draw a picture, land a plane, grow tomatos, comfort a crying baby, pickup the hot person in a bar, or build a house.

if you want money or fame then totally commit yourself to one thing. take classes,read books, go to conventions, practice, practice, practice, . then open a shop, make a name for yourself and get into magazines. lord help you if you get a flat or your nuclear reactor goes critical. but then you'd be able to hire people to do such things.
1/15/09 20:36 (UTC)
It's interesting you bring up the topic, as I was discussing this with a client over lunch the other day.

While I think personally it's better to be good at a great many things, I believe we are becoming a society of specialists. Take college/university students; those that decide to be premed, engineers or take up law are typically rammed through a very defined and directed series of coursework dedicated to their field of study/profession. And while I want a doctor who knows what he/she is doing when I'm on the operating table or defending me when I'm falsely accused in the courtroom, I think general knowledges suffer as a result.

Take your engineering student/worker. I am engineer by trade, but not by study (I was a history major), but those that I work with and frequently come in contact with are typically Masters or PhDs in chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering. These people are often fantastic in their field and area of work, but ask them to speak to a customer or write up a manual for an end-user and they become immediately uncomfortable. I find it puzzling that in their course of study and occupation they become so specialized that even social interaction becomes a difficult task.

I think its a double-edged sword. As a society, we want the best teachers for our kids, the best doctors for our health, the best engineers for our homes, cars and "green lifestyles," the best lawyers to protect us, and the best jobs to pay for it all. However, these occupations often require you become so specialized you are no good at anything else. Just look at the UAW. Specialized to the point of unhirability.

Personally, I'd rather be well-rounded: able to fix the engine, hang a shelf, fix my computer, be loving to my friends, use powertools and machinery and able to cook my dinner. On the other hand, my doctor had better know what he's up to when he's up to his elbows in my guts.
1/17/09 21:42 (UTC)
Shryke: Cannot one be a good person w ho wants money & fame? I'll take just the money, that'd be swell.

More skills are good unless it's the skill with which you feed yourself. Then that skill must take dominance whilst other skills are relegated to hobby status.