Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Can a Dilettante Be Successful?
But I am thinking about this. A friend of mine, who is decidedly successful professionally--you can tell because now she is a consultant--mentioned that she often feels dissatisfied with herself. She said she finds that she's always thinking about her weaknesses, so that she can improve those areas, and balance out her skills. Whereas men she knows, entrepreneurs and professionals, don't worry about areas they might be weak in; they focus on what they're good at and interested in, and keep on building on it.
I don't know about you, but I related to that. I might decide I don't know much about, say, philosophy, so I'll start trying to brush up on that topic. Which is of course, a lifetime's work. Doomed to incompletion. Adding to my resume as a generalist.
I see it in my daughter, the 8th grader, too. A young girl who has many natural gifts, to whom academics come so easily, that she could just climb on them and go sky-high. But what is her passion? Ballet. Something she actually struggles to do. Something that can make her feel discouraged about herself. An area in which she puts herself second (or third, or twelfth) behind other girls her age.
I watch her bring herself down over that and I want to point out to her how far she could go just building on her natural gifts. Why not spend her 10,000 hours on those? Why take the time to build up an area that is not easy?
I ask you, my dozens of readers, does this have fallout for women and how successful they can be?