A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post called “Specialization is for Insects.” The title was something I’d jotted down, but couldn’t remember where it came from. Recently I ran across the source for the title, it comes from Robert Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love.” Here’s the full quote:
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.
There’re probably some more skills that could be added to his list, like being able to swim and ride a bike, but it’s a pretty good starting list for a generalist to shoot for.
It’s a good idea to build up your tolerance to uncertainty, striving to be adaptable instead of over specialized.