Jack of all trades and the master of none... or interdisciplinary minded?

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Often misunderstood as ‘the Jack of all trades and the master of none’ the person with an interdisciplinary mind could be a profound master, if only they didn't get bored and move on so fast!

In fact, it’s likely that a person with an interdisciplinary mind will produce the equivalent of somebody else’s version of their ‘life’s work’ over a dozen times in their life time.

So what is an interdisciplinary mind?

A few years back I stumbled upon a course at California institute of integral studies; an undergrad course in interdisciplinary studies. At the time I thought this was an American way of saying ‘Humanities’ however the more the course unfolded and we looked at the multiple ways we know what we know, I started to notice my cohort were falling into different camps of learners. Those who could grasp and run with multiple levels of learning and creative expression, and those who would get stuck on a single point, and not join the dots.

This for me was a breakthrough, as I had wondered within my own work with clients, why some could see the patterns I was pointing toward, and some people would become transfixed with the pointing finger.  These second group of clients would always take a little longer to change their perspective on a problem as they couldn’t see the dots that were able to create life changing breakthroughs.

I find the characteristics in the interdisciplinary minded fascinating (and not just because I am one), mostly because they go against the grain of what society says will make you successful i.e. ‘stick to one thing, become great at it, expand and make lots of money’. However it’s my belief the interdisciplinary minded are exactly what we need in society to change the entire planet.

If you’re interdisciplinary minded you:

  • Find it hard to stick to one thing at a time, often having multiple projects and ideas on the go at the same time. Some of them will reach a conclusion and get finished, but once finished you are already bored with it. So you don’t stick with it until it makes money; only to find between 2 and 5 years later, someone who is doing the same idea, has just become a millionaire! You were ahead of your time… again.
  • Your ideas are often outside of your ball park. In other words too grand for the financial backing you have or would require you to have a bigger influence or platform. They are basically a jump too high for the current step you are on. However sometimes this doesn’t matter, as someone sees your genius and you are an amazing blagger, so you get where you need to go quicker than anyone ever thought you would.
  • Often have problems with people in authority. People in management are unlikely to like you. It’s nothing personal, you are intimidating! Firstly if you are in management you are likely good at one thing, managing people. If you are brilliant at many different things then you are better for the company on the ground force. The likelihood is you are competent at many different jobs, thus saving the company the money and effort of hiring other people when you can do it all. You also love doing it all, as one job would bore you silly. Of course you are intimidating and everyone is slightly in awe of the genius! You might find this results in bullying, with the hope that you will hide your genius. My belief is to never put a person with an interdisciplinary mind in an office coop, they always need to be a free range hen. However on the ‘Wealth dynamics profile’ created by Roger James Hamilton, these people are known as ‘stars’. They need to hire some people to do the jobs they don’t like to do, otherwise they won’t be successful in business. Every electrical spark needs an earth wire.
  • You don’t suffer fools and you likely think everyone is a fool. People simply don’t think as fast as you do, and can’t understand the multiple ways in which you can pull patterns of information together quickly and form a whole new picture. When people say to you ‘this will never work’ you dream of the day you will shove the cupcake of their disbelief right into their face - making sure the cream is smeared all over there smug self-righteous chops. Yet when that day comes and they say ‘wow who knew?’ you smile graciously, as you have already moved on to the next project and no longer feel emotionally invested in this one.
  • You’re brilliant at multitasking.
  • Likely to be somewhat dyslexic but have worked around it for the things that you love. This can also mean you have an interest in language and enjoy using words you haven’t come up with before or wording that is old style and often not used. You like to understand things fully and will often research something that interests you. You seem to know something about everything, or at least have an opinion on it. You’re great at remembering random facts but not details.

In conclusion if you’re interdisciplinary minded you’re likely to think that you are less than you should be. You may feel over looked and undervalued and that you can’t stick to one thing for toffee. The truth is you have to learn to play to your skills.

You are an idea’s person, and in being so you need to be able to create ideas, take them to the highest level you can by only doing the bites you really enjoy and farming the other bits of to someone else who loves doing those kinds of things that you hate. Then when it’s done, find someone to market it whilst you move on to the next thing. Working like this will turn your brilliant mind into that of the fully functioning entrepreneur.

No-one who has ever been successful has ever done it alone. Use the inner guidance system of fear to support you. Whenever you feel scared, it’s because you are being too independent. Independence is something the interdisciplinary minded do way too much of.