Here is a video relation to this post, as well as the PolyCast!
The Rise of the Niched Polymath
The whole point of being a generalist is to NOT silo yourself, however with the ever increasing levels of knowledge needed in some areas. Not to mention the cohesion between them is more close than ever. There needs to be Polymaths of a new kind, some that are focused in many areas in one main area.
For example: PolyInnovator, a Polymath of Innovation, the one area is Innovating things. However the term polymath still remains, and what means is that I don't need to limit myself to one specialty. So if innovating education, energy production, business operations, or even marketing. They're all divergent fields, but the point remains of innovating.
Maybe you really like Stem, or politics, but don't want to confine yourself to one role.
Becoming a niched polymath will allow you to keep your divergent thinking, and interdisciplinary lifestyle.
WHILE still fitting into the specialist world, which gives you the freedom of balance.
If you're someone who aspires to be a polymath like I'm trying to be, or perhaps are a multipotentialite that doesn't know where they want to go exactly. This new idea of how to approach polymathy I think will really help you start making a new path!
By following a meta-niche, or umbrella topic/specialty, then you can have the diversity of polymathy.
True mastery isn't always depth.
Now despite the premise for this OmniContent being around taking a smaller approach to polymathy, there still should be some context. A polymath as we talked about in the last episode, is someone who is heavily knowledgeable in many areas.
The Art of Science, and the Hypothesis of Philosophy
If we are to look at all the greatest polymaths of the world, most are long dead, as they arose during ancient renaissance from Persia, China, Italy, and much more. However this idea of PolyInnovator, or a "Niched Polymath", is trying to take an old concept and apply to a modern world.
If one were to pursue GENUINE polymathy, that I alluded to last time, then it would take a lifetime of vastly different knowledge areas. That is completely okay if that is what you want to do, and for me I think I would want that. However most multi-disciplinary people are curious, and that could lead to that outcome. It isn't why they get started in the first place, and even worse they settle on being specialists because the goal is too high.
The primary purpose of this post is to make you realize that you don't have to get to 100%, for 90,80, or even 70% is plenty good enough to live a prosperous/happy life.
Why you should have one unifying meta-niche
Again this sort of defeats the idea of polymathy at first glance, but I want people to know that it is okay to be a mix of specialist and generalist!
You have the desire to do many things, but you need to find a balance for work and career?
My first employer is the City I grew up, and my first location was the rec center for that city. Over the course of a few years I gained 6-8 roles within that center, and thrived in the craziness.
However I found that it hindered me financially to work a couple of the roles, and so I quit those and got another job. By focusing on the roles there that I enjoyed I was able to increase my happiness, and then find another job that paid better.
Eventually, I even resigned from teaching in the pool all together, and now have only two roles there left. Transitioning out if you will.
What makes this story relevant to you?
I understand what it is like to be a generalist in a specialist world. To hear from someone in the space that I DO need to niche down? It sounds terrible to me, and it makes me angry even. However it is the WAY you are picking a niche, and how that niche is perceived that is crucial.
You are trying to find your unique qualifier, or the thing that sets you apart.
Choosing a Meta-Niche Gives you the Freedom you Crave
How might that be? Isn't by niching down I am subverting to the specialist ways? No, this is because you are not niching down to limit yourself. By choosing a Meta-Niche, and I use those two words together like that for a reason; By choosing one, then you get to have the freedom of choice for whatever falls under that umbrella.
You choose what Meta Topic you are going under, maybe even created, and by doing so then you are the one in control as to what goes into it.
YouTube, Google, and Platforms Galore
Look the reason why people say niche down is that we as a species like definition. We like being able to put things in their little boxes, and then we know what that thing is. At least for the time being. However as generalists each of us are different, and we each all don't fit into the same box.
Given that dissonance of how we act as people, and the way we act as generalists. There is a disconnect on how people can appreciate us, and by finding terms to be our "box" such as Multipotentialite or PolyInnovator in my case; Then we get a box that people can use.
Perhaps we even created said box, and that is what we would call marketing.
It is all about being able to have a "box", even if it is just an illusion. Not to mention being able to be found via search on Google or YouTube, the two largest search engines in the world, without a box they don't know where to put us.
When you have effectively combined two specialties, then you can have a more powerful outcome. Multiplying your success, and finding skills that give you a career advantage such as speaking or writing.
By having a Meta-Niche, you give yourself that Lever that Tim talks about.
While I disagree with some of the sentiment of how modern day changes things, there is still valuable knowledge here.
Creating your own!
Here comes the interesting part, and the literal point of this entire episode. Your meta-niche can be whatever you want it to be. Could even be made up, such as what I did with my own Personal Branding. I created PolyInnovator, after the idea of modernizing polymathy, and focusing on Innovation as a "niche". The Polymath of Innovation was born.
The same can go for you, and that meta-niche and personal branding combo is what leads you to success. The search engines have something to go off of, even if it is new, and the people have a "box" to put you in.
Given the wide range that a Meta-Niche can give you. You should check out my PolyInnovator Ecosystem of Content!
Get a high level overview at a glance here:
What even is an Umbrella Topic or Meta-Niche?
The idea is to have something, as broad as you may need really, and have it be the connective tissue for all of your sub topics. For example for me I have Polymath of Innovation, which gives me two sort of: Innovation as a mechanism, and polymathy as a topic.
Each sub-topic has a line to the meta-niche
So in PolyInnovator's case I created the idea of phases for a personal brand, an organized structure to rest each topic into.
Each one of these phases are a topic I go into, or create content around, and even when one phase is "done" there are still more content pieces coming over time. Interleaving with other phases too.
PHASES > PROJECTS > GOALS
Your phases are the topics you want to go into, no matter how deep in the cookie jar you go. Then you can organize them by projects, or things you want to accomplish in that space. Like for me a future phase is around gaming, and so a project would be creating a handful of series around particular games. Each game being a project in a way.
Then you need goals to strive for, and work up your community around. Those play into your projects.
Even when purusing these small projects, or even smaller goals, then you relate them to your overall meta-niche. For my gaming content I'll mention how I took a polymathic approach to gaming. I didn't just master one console manufacturer, or stick to one system, as I played them all (except Sega but meh).
It is different levels of abstraction to your online presence, from your meta-niche all the way down to your micro ideas and goals. That also follows the PolyInnovation Operating System levels as well!
Following this state of mind, this really goes into personal branding as a generalist.
Whether you are a jack of all trades or polymath level generalist, then learning how to organize your online presence is crucial to future success!
From Meta-Niche to Metaverse
I think the future is in the generalists, in all of the multidisciplinary people. The way we approach life is a great way to approach the online world.
It is the polymaths and generalists that are going to thrive in Web3 and the Metaverse.
By finding your meta-niche then you can start marketing yourself in the way that YOU want to be seen. Sure people will describe you in their own way, and that may not always align with what you want. However this a fact of life, and it is far better to be known to most people as something you created. Rather than known for random things.
I obviously am a supporter of people creating content, I do know that it is the future, and as generalists we are prone to being the early adopters of things. I want you to be as successful as you can be. I think the key goal is to follow all of our passions, well this is one of the best ways to do it in my humble opinion.
Using a meta-niche is key to a modern approach to polymathy, and using that as an umbrella for all of your other topics.
My question then to you is: Do you want to be successful in your path to polymathy in the modern world?
Then find what YOUR meta-niche could be, and see how it fits into each of your sub-niches as an umbrella.