“Embrace your many passions. Follow your curiosity down those rabbit holes. Explore your intersections. Embracing our inner wiring leads to a happier, more authentic life.”
– Emilie Wapnick
Here’s your midweek newsletter — a gentle nudge to make your week more interesting, thoughtful and productive.
T-Shaped Learning: The What, Why and How
I came across the T-model of learning in 2018 when I was reading a book called Fluid by Ashish Jaiswal. The T-model or T-shaped model is how a person should approach learning in the 21st century. History is repetitive, and society’s needs change continually, and with those needs changing, the understanding of what makes a worthwhile life change too.
With the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s, the society started to move towards specialisation while some hundred years before it, Renaissance was a growing movement. The difference between both is how the former favours the I-model and the latter favoured the T-model.
T-model: Consider the horizontal line of the T as someone having a general understanding over a wide range of disciplines and domains. The vertical line is their expertise in at least one of them.
I-model: In the I-model, all you have is the vertical line which is what the Industrial age required – radical specialisation.
Why is it important today?
Today, people who are fluid enough to transition from one domain to another, and can use the knowledge from one discipline to impact things in another, are more sought after by organisations. Its importance is also increasing with new institutions popping up, such as the London Interdisciplinary Institute and interdisciplinary degrees being offered in places like the Graduate Institute in Geneva.
In short: society is changing, specialisation is essential, but just specialisation is not sought after anymore.
How can you do it?
For me, I think, at the current stage of my life, I’m building a vertical towards data analysis and statistics while going horizontal on philosophy, psychology, design and other areas that interest me. That’s the beauty of the horizontal line: you can do whatever you want, and the more you do it, the more rewarding it becomes.
In any case, the two tips that have worked for me are: read and dabble.
More often than not, when I pick a new activity or domain up, my friends often pose a question as to how that helps me currently, and I answer that it doesn’t. It isn’t until months or even years later that I use that one fundamental which makes whatever I’m doing a thousand times better.
For example, the idea of visual balance that I learned during my time as a freelance graphics designer and my one semester in architecture school is how I made my presentations for college and work.
It doesn’t have to be something major, but you should be able to combine things faster for better results. The more you do it, the better you get at it.
Lifehack: Find Your Fitness Definition
I used to run in the mornings during school until I stopped all physical activity altogether. It wasn’t until 2015 when a friend decided to go down a path of a fitter lifestyle that I started considering adding it to my life. In the many conversations that we had about fitness, we realised that there were two things that you had to get into your head if you wanted to start getting fitter.
One, exercising is good. That is the axiom. There’s no argument against exercising and indulging in some fitness activity. Two, it is more important to find what kind of fitness works for you because there’s always at least one. If you have tried going to the gym and couldn’t keep it up, there’s nothing wrong with it, just that the activities you do in the gym don’t align with what fitness is to you. If you signed up for a membership, some part of you does want to get fitter. It’s just a matter of how you go about achieving it.
Finding your Fitness Definition is a trial and error process. The key is to say “Yes” more often. When a friend asks you for a hike, say Yes. When a coworker invites you to the weekly football game, say Yes. The more you do it, the higher probability of you finding what fitness is to you. Once you do that, you can indulge in any fitness activity. Not only that, but it also helps you figure out your fitness goals.
For some people, it is about looking good. For others, it is about feeling better. Similarly, for me, fitness is about feeling nimble and being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want. Working out five days a week also helps me de-stress regularly. Besides that, I enjoy walking and casual games of football and badminton. I’m not too fond of the gym.
It’s been a long journey since that conversation in 2015, but this lesson has helped me keep working out, more or less, consistently since the last few years.
Reading List: Fluid by Ashish Jaiswal
Since I’ve already mentioned it, I think this is the best book to read this week. Fluid talks about how genius all through the world and time has been concentrated in people who knew how to go from one domain to other in practice. It helps you break the idea that you’re just one person. It does take the argument to the specific Indian education system at times, but I feel the arguments are applicable worldwide.
On a side note, this essay from the Aeon Magazine has me thinking a lot about free will or the lack thereof again. This is a wonderful take and I would recommend reading it if you had the minutes to spare.
Quick Update On Nudge › How
Meanwhile, I’ve also started Monday Check-ins which are questions that I think about and will pose to you every Monday on all social media channels.
The idea is to face harder questions and being open to them.
In case you missed it, I wrote about healthier social media consumption, and how to go about it in four different ways – time, intrusiveness, compulsiveness, and filter bubbles – on the blog last week. As always, there are summaries on all the social media accounts as well.
Oh, And One Last Thing
You may recall from the last email that you’re in a special list that will receive extra tips and tricks along with downloadable every now and then.
Since this list is open for the first four newsletters, if you know someone who would like this, let them know of this little perk so they don’t miss out!