#45 From Dabbler to Generalist, Ship Your Product

Once again I write from the city’s park. Now on a Saturday, I’m bathed in a mix of sunlight and dozens of different kinds of sounds, from groups of teenagers to the big wolf-looking dog in front of me. She reads book on how to create social businesses, and I wonder what can be of my new challenge.  There are so many things I want to do. But here, overtaken by the information overload of an incredibly busy Saturday at the park, I can think of little to do.

We’ve just watched an interesting series called polyamory, which, surprise, surprise! Is about the lives and issues faced by poly families. One tryad faces a new boyfriend of one of the girls, and two couples trying to get accustomed to living together, all four of them. Reminds me of how far most people are from freedom. From the mental freedom of even considering a life with 2, 3 or 8 people as an option at all. I wonder what would happen if the instinct that makes us want to be like others, and susceptible to peer pressure, were turned off. What would people really be like?  It has never been done, so we can’t say it would be like a !kung tribe, or a Californian republic, it would not be like a Vogue magazine nor a Miyazaki movie. Maybe it would just not be sustainable in the long run.

In social transmission, the name of that instinct is conformity bias. There is also prestige bias. Both of them make us more like each other. One by makings us more like most are, no matter whom, and one making everyone more like a few select people, who are considered prestigious by the majority, or whoever controls the media you most watch.

An interesting writing was brought to my attention by probably my favorite Fin. In that writing a distinction is traced between a true generalist, whose work is appreciated in many different disciplines, like Leonardo, Socrates or Russell and a dabbler, who kind of knows about a lot of things but always seems to be giving up one thing to do the next one.

The author’s thesis is that generalists deliver, while dabblers stop the work at 95%. The writing got me for a simple reason. I’m  a dabbler, and I didn’t know it. If a real artist ships, I’ve been living an amateur’s life. That is exactly how I feel about many things, and in particular, about my masters, a book I wrote mostly four years ago, and haven’t taken the trouble of finishing in these last two months when I should have.

#45 From Dabbler to Generalist, Ship Your Product

I’ve been meaning to this for a while, to go back to my old things, texts, my vlog, my writing sample for philosophy PHDs and so many other things, give them a final touch, put them in a box, and deliver.

For the next month, I’ll finish projects I have left near completion when I felt personally satisfied, and will get them ready into final form for others. I’ll begin by whatever is nearest to completion, and move on from them.

I got a new half-shift job, thus it will be fun to try to make time for all of it. The new job is, itself, turning many dabblers into generalists. They created an NGO and have a beautiful house and an almost sustainable socially engaged business. They are about to start shipping a better world.

Previous Challenge Tracking

Challenge #47 Share Your Goals With Who Shares Your Goals was hard to do. It is unbelievably natural to tell people what you just did and what you are about to do, specially parents and girlfriends. It worked very well, and I intend to keep my sharing of goals with people who don’t share my goals to a minimum. 

Challenge#46 Living as if Money Were No Object is not as complicated as one would think. You can take a job because you like,  regardless of salary and conditions, and to choose where you eat you can consider money as paper with no symbolic value other than as paper. I’ve worried less and less, and though I believe it wouldn’t be possible in the long run, this is an exercise I fully recommend to anyone. It’s even fun to think of money that way. 

If you just arrived at fourhourscience, take a look at the first challenge as it is the only one you have to go through to jump straight on to the current challenge. Do challenge yourself on the comment section, and every first of the month, I’ll start a challenge chosen by my readers, and ask how they are going at their own self-challenges. Every 15th, I’ll choose one for myself. If you want to give me a challenge, make a comment in the most recent post, which is where I’ll get them from every 1st of the month. To subscribe to fourhourscience.com and keep track of your challenges, click on the blackish square on the bottom right that says follow.  If you are logged in a wordpress account, check the top left instead. – Neotenic

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3 thoughts on “#45 From Dabbler to Generalist, Ship Your Product

  1. Oddly, I published this writing yesterday and the server didn’t update it. I re-published it today, and it seems to be working fine.

  2. “If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant”. According to this author, you should give a book 50 pages max., if you don’t like it, let it go. Basically he’s saying that there is no point to continue on the wrong path if you know it is wrong..You shouldn’t worry about the opportunity cost! just think of all the other things you could have done instead of finishing something you didn’t want to start

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