The Way Of The Supreme
Or How They Became Something We’d Never Seen Before
Autodidacticism (also autodidactism) or self-education is the act of learning about a subject or subjects in which one has had little to no formal education.
“So what?” — you may ask.
Well, in this article, I will go beyond the definition and expose a new perspective about approaching anything meaningful in your life.
We will also explore a few examples of autodidact people who earned themselves a timeless place in history, because of the things they’d created.. or done.
We’re just starting. Read further.
Ernest Hemingway. Da Vinci. David Bowie.
I’ve picked them amongst many other people in this list. Let’s go just a little bit deeper on how autodidacting played its role in their lives.
Promise I won’t bother you with long, historic facts and events, I’m just making a point.
The American novelist and short story writer, was primarily self-educated after high school. “… he read for hours at a time in bed”, recounted his sister Marcelline.
“He read everything around the house — all the books, all the magazines, even the AMA Journals from Dad’s office downstairs.”
Ernie also had taken out great number of books from the public library.
So, how this paid off in the future?
The New York Times wrote in 1926 of Hemingway’s first novel, “No amount of analysis can convey the quality of The Sun Also Rises. It is a truly gripping story, told in a lean, hard, athletic narrative prose that puts more literary English to shame.”
The Sun Also Rises, according to James Nagel, “changed the nature of American writing.”
In 1954, when Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature…
…it was for “his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style.
Good enough? With the next person we will get very close to the main idea, the essence of this article (which will also be independently featured in the next paragraphs).
Leonardo da Vinci
Was an Italian polymath whose areas of interest included: invention, painting, sculpting, architecture,science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography.
He has been variously called the father of paleontology, ichnology, and architecture, and is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time.
Many historians and scholars regard Leonardo as the prime exemplar of the “Universal Genius” or “Renaissance Man”, an individual of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination”.
According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent in recorded history, and -
“his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, while the man himself mysterious and remote”.
Polymath is the word I want you to keep in mind. Keep reading for now.
David Bowie was a singer, musician, multi-instrumentalist, actor, and painter, never trained in any of the mentioned fields and only received a few singing lessons in the 1960s (as reported by his former manager, Ken Pitt).
As a teenager he took some lessons on saxophone by Ronnie Ross. All other instruments (including piano, keyboards/synths, electric/acoustic guitar, harmonica, koto, limited bass, and percussion), he taught himself.
His paintings and sculptures were created (and exhibited) without any formal art school training.
He took a few lessons in movement and dance with the Lindsey Kemps Dance company but trained himself in mime.
During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million worldwide, made him one of the world’s best-selling music artists. In the UK, he was awarded nine platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, releasing eleven number-one albums.
In the US, he received five platinum and seven gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Do you see anything common among these three?
Their careers were all shaped by diversity. They all did approach their industries differently. They all did expose a different perspective of doing. But they only did that through diverse learning.
They all had rich sets of skills and abilities, developed through curiousity and deliberate learning.
They all had what I call…
The Non-Linear Approach
The essence of this approach, or philosophy as I may call out, lies primairly in diversity.
In being a generalist, rather than specialist. While formal education and universities put us in the brackets of specializing at a certain field for 5 or more straight years,these guys, as well as many other noticable human beings, did it differently.
They exposed themselves to different ways of doing. Different points of view. Diversification. Non-linearity.
If the conditions change, it doesn’t matter, because they are capable to quickly find or even create another door through which they may enter. And this higher, better perspective over their careers eventually led to the creation of timeless pieces and great acts.
Let’s take for example a man who is currently in his prime. He is the absolute definition of polymath.
The Conor McGregor Effect
This is the man who first introduced me to the concept of the non-linear approach. I can still remember watching my first YouTube video of him. I was so amazed by the way he fought, by the way he moved and by the way he talked, that I immediately thought there is something special about this guy.
So in the following couple of months, I watched EVERY fight he ever had, every interview he gave. I wanted to really get behind his mind.
The first time I got struck was with something I saw before one of his fights.
They were just introducing both fighters with their height and weight and “speciality”…or the fighting style each figher is experienced at the most.
Do you know what style Conor McGregor was?
He was “freestyle”. There was no “boxer” or “jiu-jitsu master”.
It simply said “freestyle”.
What does this say about him?
He doesn’t put himself in any brackets. He does not consider himself a specialist in any field. He has no black belts. They don’t call him “The Wrestler” or anything.
Yet, he adapts movements from so many different fighting styles and cultures that his opponents are often left with no answer to his attacks.
They’ve just never seen anything like it. They don’t know what to expect.
He became unpredictable in his diversity.
This is why he is so entertaining to watch. He brings beauty to a considered “savage” sport .
This, combined with his incredible charm, behaviour and way of talking, puts him in the place of one of the highest paid MMA fighters in the world.
We may call him autodidact. Or even more closely — polymath because of his approach and exploration of so many different fighting styles. He does have some formal “education” in boxing, holding a title among the amateurs in his country, but no black belts or certifications. Yet, uses so many different styles in the most efficient way possible. And it’s a brilliant fighter.
But you know what also makes him special? What is also creating so much noise and interest around him?
His ability to speak. His personality. His image. The way he dresses.
Fighting beautifully alone doesn’t make so much noise. Provocation does. So McGregor again shows how diverse he is, even in his performance outside the cage.
So, how can all this be applied to your life?
Hope I didn’t leave you tired by all these examples. I just wanted to make a point. To show you a few different perspectives, so you can get the feeling. It’s a bit of a mindshift. I mean…to see things this way.
Once I saw it, felt and understood it, it never left me. Now, I approach everything significant in my life this way.
And I fully stand behind my words. History proves it. Conor proves it. I will prove it.
Being polymath, being generalist, being autodidact is the true way of becoming supreme, phenomenal and remembered.
This is even where innovation happens, I believe. Because only when you have a very broad perspective about a certain craft, industry or activity, you can create new ways of doing it.
By having a narrow, specialized and straight-forward learning curve and approach, you close your eyes to opportunities that would allow you to do it in a way never seen before.
Working in marketing?
Why do you specialize in Facebook marketing? Explore the different types of content. Reverse-engineer what stands behind a successful article. Get averagely good at photoshop. Learn to shoot and edit videos.
Learn basic code. It doesn’t mean you will do all these things. Of course you will eventually hire people to do them for you. But it will broaden your perspective. And when the big client comes up and wants you to do something different for him, you will come up with it.
Design? “Im a web designer”.
Cool. But why not try drawing custom made things? Why not try creating animated videos? Why not learn basic front-end programming?
You will have so much more to bring to the table for your clients. Even if you stick with web designing.
If you can take anything from this article…let it be this.
Approach everything in your life like a generalist, don’t fully specialize. Be curious. Experience new things. Broaden your perspective. Surprise yourself. Surprise people.
We absolutely love saying “I’ve never seen anything like this before”.
Be something we’ve never seen before.
Did you like it? Your heart will mean the world to me!
…and if you feel like you want to stay connected, you can always: