Should you be a more well-rounded person?

The most well-rounded person on earth may have no field of mastery. The most exceptional person in a specific niche may have no sense of balance. (uncommonsense)

Well-rounded means “someone who is skilled, capable or knowledgeable in a lot of different things”, “showing interest or ability in many fields”, “showing many facets of personality”, or “have a balanced variety of attributes”. (yourdictionary)

I’ve read from several successful business people that focusing on improving your weaknesses is generally a bad strategy, a formula for being mediocre (forbes). I think they are right if you want to be exceptional in one area. If you want to have a million dollar by next year, strive to be a leading brain surgeon in the next 15 years, want to change the dynamics of politics in your country, then focusing on this single project is the answer for you.

If you have your great mission ready (like Elon Musk, wanting to create better chances for the survival of the human race) you better start focus on your mission and forget about the rest.
(In this case you’re probably not reading this article though. Sorry.)

Most of us on the other hand don’t focus on a single objective. We don’t care much about being remembered. And we are most likely to deal with a wide range of separate issues in life. Including making shopping, walking the dog, changing the diapers, fixing a wardrobe, accompanying our parents, driving to the cinema, work something that we don’t fully enjoy, etc.

“The reason it’s important [to be well rounded] is because it keeps you healthy. […] You don’t need “new” hobbies or friends. You need to have something that stretches your mind, is all. New things can help you change the way you look at the world. And that’s very much worthwhile, especially in a world that needs all the help and insight it can get.” (Quora)

While we like to define our lives by the things we are able to measure (how much we earn, how big are our muscles, how many kilometers we can run, how many years we studied, etc.) and while measuring certainly is important large parts of our lives are  sort-of floating in between the fully conscious and planned times. And these floating states (let it be “the Flow” or just some downtime watching a catastrophe movie) are very important for our lives.

Being well-rounded (or being rich, owning a red Corvette or visiting 120 countries) shouldn’t be the goal. It’s more like a side-effect of being interested in the outside world. It’ll come if you

  • read books (some articles give you 32 or 24 books to read to make you a well rounded person. I think most 24 or 32 books that you pick randomly will make you a well rounded person)
  • travel
  • get more education
  • and listen to people of different backgrounds
  • watch movies from different countries
  • learn new languages
  • cook or try new meals
  • volunteer
  • etc.

More tips here and here.

Rather than

  • sticking to your present routine
  • giving up control and getting stuck in an unpleasant job and relationship,
  • turning your brain off or letting it wander passively when taking in non-important news (is Melania Trump really taking her first solo trip as First Lady?!)

you take control of your life. Becoming well-rounded and/or exceptional achievements will follow.

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