Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

Greenfly man

What’s going on here then? Am I heralding the arrival of some new super hero? Not quite…..

I recall that, some years ago, there was a man on a course I was running who was a renowned world authority on a certain species of greenfly. In his introduction to the group, he explained how his research into this little creature had formed the bulk of his working life up until that point.

I daresay, such research will have been useful, even necessary for any number of reasons that would be beyond the reach of my own greenfly-sized brain.

That very same brain has chosen not to forget that chap, and marvel at how a whole career could be devoted to being focused on one, specific, specialist endeavour. On the one hand, it is to be admired. The accolade of being a world leading expert is not earned lightly in whatever the field, yet on the other hand, I wonder what may be lost through this?

I wonder whether it is preferable to become an expert or to be a “Jack of all trades” – an undeservedly demeaning description. I prefer the term polymath. Throughout history, polymaths have earned their rightful place alongside the experts, from Hildegard of Bingham to Leonardo Da Vinci, right up to the likes of Stephen Fry and Jonathan Miller in the presnt day.

Personally, I find the variety of being a polymath far more appealing than to be an expert at anything.

When I first went self employed almost 25 years ago, I used to joke that I had a pad of invoices and I’d be up for writing any number of different activities on them if need be. The bulk of my work since then has been in training. However, I’ve also sold redundancy counselling services, promoted shares in a Czech golf course, coached people from all manner of professions, run workshops on our relationship with money, written this weekly blog for almost five years and, more recently taken up stand up comedy.

I can’t claim to be master at any of those endeavours, but know they have contributed to a relatively rich and interesting few decades. Let’s see what the coming decades bring – who knows,  I may even develop an interest in greenfly…….

One Response to “Greenfly man”

  1. Hi Chris
    I’ve been noticing more and more over the years that there’s a tension in almost everything between “deep and narrow” (the greenfly expert, or Vincent van Gogh) vs. “broad and shallow” (like you, and like me as it happens). Both are necessary, I think, and neither is better than the other. But it’s everywhere. Humans vs anteaters (or indeed greenfly, who can only eat certain kinds of plants), computer hardware expert vs general computer fixer etc. As a dear man once said:”Isn’t it interesting?”

    I am enjoying your blogs immensely, by the way. Thanks!
    PS. I think Hildegard came from Bingen – but wherever, she wrote some very beautiful music 😊

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