How Diversifying Can Make You Better at Your One Thing

Issue #1
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By Luis Duque

How Diversifying Can Make You Better at Your One Thing

Hi friends,

This year I have really stepped up my reading game. From barely reading anything in the past 5 years, to reading over 20 books this year. I have read a lot about productivity, time management, finance, religion, and more to help me perfect those little details in my productivity system that were slowing me down. I have found new tools like Notion that have allowed me to apply all of these principles and overall created systems around me that encourage me to get things done.

A couple of books that I really enjoyed this year are Atomic Habits by James Clear and The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. They really focus on complete concentration on what you are doing and mastering your skills. I truly believe this is the way to do it. As an engineer, we focus on very specific fields of engineering (in my case civil engineering > structural engineering > bridge engineering > bridge demolition and retrofitting) and to a certain degree it is very important.

This believe was challenged by my wife last week, and I thought it was worth sharing with all of you. She has so many skills and really struggles to focus on only one, so when she heard about the book Range by David Epstein, she was hooked. The book’s goal is to help us realize that the wider our level of expertise are, the better we would be at our careers. The author gives the example of Tiger Woods and Roger Federer (if you know me, you know I love tennis and Roger Federer so I was intrigued) and how their pure dominance in their sports was based on two different styles of approaching their careers. Roger Federer tried basically any sport possible growing up until he found his passion in tennis, and Tiger Woods has been playing golf since he was 2 and barely tried any other sport.

This got me thinking, are we as young professionals too focused on mastering one little piece of our engineering career that we forget we are part of a bigger puzzle?

Speaking personally as a structural engineer, oftentimes we complain that architects, contractors, or other engineers do not understand why we design structures a certain way. What if we took even a little time to expand our knowledge of what it takes to be an architect, contractor, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, etc so we can better communicate with them as well as design to maximize efficiency?

I hope these thoughts made you think a little bit about how we can stand out in our careers as well as the importance to have an open mind to different perspectives. I know I will be thinking about this a lot more in the new year, and I plan to read the whole book soon so I am sure you will hear more about it in the future.

You won’t hear from me next week as I am taking the week to do a “Family Board Meeting” (more on that later) as well as taking some time off to spend with family. Starting in January the podcast will be released weekly, which I am very excited about, and we have some amazing guests (see below).

As always, hit reply and let me know what you though about this issue or if there is anything else you would like to know/share.

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Since there was not a new podcast episode this week, here are some of the guest coming up in future episodes. I am really excited to share these conversations with you.

You just read issue #1 of Engineering our Future.

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