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#89 Polymath



Our modern world promotes specialists.


The specialist is one who devotes his life to one concept, idea, or pursuit.  He becomes so knowledgeable that he is fully engrained in all aspects of the pursuit which he undertakes. Nothing else matters to the specialist. Only the pursuit of perfection. He is so relentless in his endeavors that he pushes aside all other concerns. Once he meets his challenge, he then strives to surpass even that victory.


Gone are the polymaths.


A polymath is one who pursues numerous endeavors. He excels in various fields. His pursuit is not perfection in one arena, but knowledge itself. He takes bites out of all aspects of life, savoring the richness of accomplishments in a wide array of subjects.


The Samurai were polymaths. When I was younger, I found it odd that Samurai were often masters at skills beyond the battlefield. They were expert calligraphers, poets, artists. They studied flower arranging, pottery, tea ceremony. They excelled in politics.


Benjamin Franklin is perhaps the greatest polymath of American history. He was known by turns as a scientist and satirist, an inventor and entrepreneur, a printer and politician. He was a statesman and diplomat. He was a member of many societies and social orders, including the Freemasons and the Hellfire Club. The son of a soap and candle maker, he never even went to college.


Leonardo da Vinci was an inventor, painter, and a sculptor. His expertise extended to architecture, science, music, mathematics, anatomy, geology, and botany, as well as to engineering, astronomy, paleontology, and history. He lived in a time when it was illegal to see the nude human body. He hired men to dig up freshly buried people so he could dissect them privately in his lab and make detailed drawings of what he discovered.


Brian May is lead guitarist for the British band, Queen, and is a writer, recorder, and producer. He is an astrophysicist who earned his doctorate for his dissertation on interplanetary dust and is a Knight of the British Empire (CBE). He helped design the Hubble Telescope and several of its retrofit upgrades.


 

What drives people to become polymaths?


Insatiable curiosity.


Some people are so curious about the world around them, so insatiable in their quest for experience and understanding, that they will excel in numerous pursuits to gather as much knowledge as possible about all that life has to offer.


Today, most people go to college to learn a profession, be it teaching, engineering, political science, graphic arts, etc. After landing a job in that field, they simply stop moving forward. They learn all they can from periodicals or trade publications, but time in grade is their advancement in expertise. Additionally, they may have a hobby.


I’m an accountant, but I play golf with my friends. I’m a chemical engineer, and I sail my boat once a month for relaxation. I’m a schoolteacher, and I sell crochet on Etsy. I work in a factory, and I compete in fishing tournaments.


The average American reads less than one book a year.


Today, most people are more concerned about entertainment than accomplishment. Some men can recite the stats on more than 30 different football players. While working in a factory thirty years ago, I overheard two men talking about a high school basketball game. Neither of these men went to this high school, nor did they have children at the school. But they discussed in detail the performance of one particular athlete. They recalled a play he made in a game two years prior. They ruminated about his future success in the game, which scouts were rumored to be eyeing him, which university might offer him a scholarship.


We care more about entertainment than accomplishment. We now have nearly two dozen paid streaming sites, cable systems with up to 400 channels of banal, mind numbing, soul crushing drivel. We have two major game systems upon which we are encouraged to insult, degrade, and demean all other players with impunity. Most young people read more manga and graphic novels than they read bound books. We carry in our pockets devices that can instantly retrieve 4.64 billion (with a B) pages of information. Most of it is cat videos, dancing teenagers hoping to gain instant stardom, OF girls selling subscriptions to photos of their feet, and gym girls who do stupid exercises practically naked so they can shame men in the gym who might glance in their general direction. I’m not making any of this up. They call themselves content creators or influencers. I have other words for it.


We are bombarded with instant gratification, comfort and convenience, worthless information, endless entertainment, and political division.


We fail to achieve, because we fail to attempt. We lack patience, because we don’t engage in activities that require discipline. We fear failure. We care more for feelings than facts. The world revolves around us, and we are incensed if the rest of the world doesn’t play along.


Motivation develops discipline, which becomes a habit.


If you read 20 pages each day, you will have read 7300 pages each year. That’s nearly six “War and Peace” length books, or twenty-six “Pride and Prejudice” length books each year.


Twenty pages. Hell, I reach my steps goal each day by listening to audible while I walk.


What would happen if you spent just 5 minutes each day doing some bodyweight squats or pushups?


What would happen if you attempted one new hobby, like painting, woodworking, knitting, or writing?


How would your life improve if you spent some time each day talking to one stranger, and actually listened to what they had to say – instead of judging their experiences and politics as different than your own?  


In Norway they have “living libraries” where you can go sit with someone who will tell you stories about their interesting lives.


Do you have an interesting life? Have you accomplished something difficult? Have you challenged yourself to an arduous task and climbed the pain and suffering ladder to surmount it?


Challenge yourself to do something tough. Permit yourself to fail along the way. Failure is good. Failure teaches. Embrace it. Learn new things. Study interesting topics. Become acquainted with subjects more exciting than “The Bachelor” or “The Real Housewives of Dubuque” (or wherever the hell they are now).


You are so much more than you are now. You have yet to reach your full potential. You haven’t scratched the surface of what you could become.


You only have so much time, use it. You will never again be as young as you are right now.


Every sunrise is one closer to your last.


Louise Hay lost her job at 48. In 1976 she wrote and self-published her first book, a pamphlet called, “Heal Your Body.” At 88, she died as a prolific author and the head of the huge publishing empire, Hayhouse.


It’s never too late.  


Get out there and do something exciting, scary, fun, and difficult.


You are worth it. You deserve it.


 

Do the hard thing.

 

 

 

Weeg

 

 

Joe “Weeg” Weigant is a Board-Certified Massage Therapist, Holistic Health Authority, Reiki Master Teacher, Herbalist, Metaphysician, and Empowerment Coach. He combines bodywork, energy work, and coaching to improve quality of life by healing from the outside in and from the inside out.


Weeg sells Nature’s Sunshine Products, Pure Herbs Ltd., doTERRA, and Juice Plus+. Weeg suggests lifestyle changes and provides herbal remedies to his clients so they may build new habits for long life and vibrant health. He teaches Karate and Tai Chi, Reiki Certification, as well as seminars and workshops in metaphysical and spiritual matters. He hosted a metaphysical radio show “The World Beyond” and has been on The Travel Channel. Weeg is available for sessions at Tri State Holistic Wellness by appointment only.

 

Contact by text 812.568.5356, or Facebook Messenger to set an appointment.

 

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