One of my closest friends argues that I have a tendency to spread myself too thin. He thinks that I would realize greater success in my professional life if I focused on only one thing instead of attempting to do so many different things at the same time.
Some would call this a hedgehog and fox debate, an idea first introduced by the ancient Greek poet Archilochus, who said that the fox knows many things about a little, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.
A different friend sent me this quote, which aptly summarizes my position on the fox and hedgehog debate:
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." – science fiction writer Robert Heinlein
Oh, and in terms of Heinlein’s list, I can:
- change a diaper (unfortunately)
- plan an invasion (thanks to videogames and capture-the-flag)
- conn a ship (sailboat, canoe and rowboat)
- write a sonnet (none of them are very good, but still)
- balance accounts
- build a wall (stone)
- comfort the dying (as long as it isn’t me)
- take and give orders (I’m better at both than you might expect)
- cooperate, and act alone (though I prefer to act alone most of the time)
- solve equations (thanks to college algebra)
- analyze a problem (though it’s often greeted with great disdain)
- pitch manure (spent my childhood doing this)
- program a computer
- cook a tasty meal (breakfast)
- fight efficiently (never lost a fight)
I still can’t butcher a hog (nor do I want to), design a building (shouldn’t we leave this to experts?) or set a bone (though I’ve temporarily splinted more than one).
I’ve died twice already, but I don’t think I’ve done it gallantly either time.