BONUS CLIP: Johnny's Father - The PolyCast Interview with Johnny Roccia

TL:DR | A very important lesson for multidisciplinary people, whether you are a generalist, polymath, or even just a specialist. Learn from Johnny's father.

3 min read

Dustin Miller Polyinnovator:

Here is some bonus PolyCast content.

Johnny Roccia:

Bonus content is a story about the ultimate polymath who was my father.

I am not a third of the diverse character that he was. My father truly did everything. He worked for Hewlett Packard. He also drove an oil truck. He counted cards in a casino. He was been in jail. I mean, just all sorts of these wild things. And my father had... methodology for figuring out which things were valuable and how to divide up time very efficiently. And there's this lesson he taught me that I now realize is a crucial lesson for anyone that wants to be multidisciplinary but has to recognize that there are finite hours in the day and years in your life. I am 15 years old.

My father tells me, we need to change the oil in your mother's car. Come on out. great. We go out to the garage, we take my mother's Dodge, whatever it was, drive it up onto the ramp.

My father had his own ramps. He drove it up onto the ramps. We climb onto the car, we pull off the oil cap drain, we start draining the oil into this big pan. We're reaching under there getting all filthy, pulling the filter out. Then after the oil is draining, we go up to the top, we pop the hood, and then he shows me where the cap on the top is and how to read it and figure out what oil you need.

We take the cap off. Then he says, all right, while it's draining, we're gonna go to the auto store, take the cap with us, we can find the oil, we find the oil, we come back. Now we gotta dispose the old oil and you can't just like throw it in the yard, right? So he says, here's how you gotta jar it up and dispose it to get rid of it. And then we put the new filter in there and then we put the cap on the bottom and then we pour the oil, the new oil into the top after making sure it's the right amount and the right kind. We put the cap back on, we back the car down off of the ramps and he says, now you gotta drive it around a couple blocks to like work the oil in. It took all afternoon.

And when it was all done, and we're filthy and gross and it's been all afternoon, it's done, and we pull the car back in the driveway, he says, all right, what did I teach you? And I stopped for a minute and he said, you taught me how to change the oil in a car.

He goes, no, I taught you the value of $20 because for $20, somebody would have done that for you in 15 minutes. And you never would have had to do it again.
I taught you this so you'll never do it again.

Because my father believed that you needed to know how to do those things. but that it was not a point of pride to do everything yourself. It was a point of pride to be able to. It was a point of pride to talk intelligently about it. But my father understood opportunity cost very, very well. So he said, you can't do everything yourself.

There are things that you do well so that you can give them to other people so that other people do things well and give them to you. But he was aware of the trap that can be if you don't take the time to learn. So that balance. There's your bonus story.

If you are a generalist, if you are a polymath, you need to understand economics because you need to understand that that way of thinking can also lay traps for you if you aren't careful, just as a incredibly single-minded, single-disciplinary focus can make you trapped if you don't pay attention to the risks.

So no matter what path you're in in life, be aware of what traps are laid for you, take the steps to avoid them, to disarm those traps, you'll be very happy.

Dustin Miller Polyinnovator:

We actually just look like we talk about it off the camera too, a little bit, the content management system thing and how like WordPress and working with the cPanel and doing all that junk. I knew how to do it. It's good for me to learn how to do it. The waste of time of dealing with all that updating, preventing me from creating content. Once I switch to something that pays a little bit more, costs a little bit more, it saved me a lot of time. It makes it way more better now. Kind of like going off what you're saying.

Johnny Roccia:
A critical lesson. Awesome.


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