I’ve been binging pretty hard on the Pat Flynn podcast. Not that Pat Flynn. The other Pat Flynn. The one that writes about kettlebells.
At least that’s how I learned about him. I thought the podcast would be about that but now I’m learning it’s actually more about his approach to a lot of things. (Fitness is just one of them.)
He calls it generalism. It’s really resonating with me and a lot of the stuff me and Wally talked about on our podcast last year.
In particular, we talked about the book “The First Twenty Hours”, which explains that it’s important to start off on the right foot. If you start practicing something, you want to practice it right. That way you can get proficient as quickly as possible.
With generalism, Pat Flynn isn’t saying to avoid specializing in things. It’s the opposite. You should specialize deeply but aiming to get to 80%. Then move on to something else.
You don’t have to be the best writer in the world for writing to be valuable. Or the top 95%. You can get proficient to where you can mix it with some of your domain knowledge and write something interesting.
It’s not just for professional skills either.
You don’t have to be the best in the world at riding a bike to have fun riding a bike.
Once you’re proficient, that skill goes in maintenance then you shift your focus and specialize in something else.
Then you’ll be good at many things and great at some. Getting from 80% to 99.999% is much harder than getting from 0-80. It’s why we admire those outliers. It’s also why some of them have done terribly in other dimensions of their life.
Ric Flair is one of the most influential wrestlers but he was never around when his kids were growing up. In 500 years, the Nike swoosh may very well still be around. But one thing Phil Knight writes about in “Shoe Dog” is how he also wasn’t around enough for his kids.
(So never have kids! Just kidding but just be aware of how your energy is spread out.)
Last year I was interested in writing, podcasting, and making videos. I went deep on them for a few weeks at a time. I could have benefited from staying deep for a few weeks longer on some.
This year I want to go deep on videos. But then I just wrote all of this. I’ve got some work to do. In the meantime, I’ll be listening to more Pat Flynn episodes.