Polymathic Thought, Monopathy, Automathy & Neuroplasticity in Learning

"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."

~ Leonardo da Vinci

Today I was reading, "Master of many trades" by Robert Twigger, on the differences between our monopathic society and polymathic thought. Mainly I was wanting to know how I could upgrade my current autodidactism to become a polymath. Here's what I found out. ...

A monopath is a person who has become one-tracked in thought and deed. For example, a business person who's sole goal in life is to constantly become a better business person. This is what society is currently built around and considered the idealized choice for anyone who wants to make it in society.

An autodidact or automath, however, promotes independent study in various subjects in a formal or informal environment. Whereas, a polymath goes one step further and attempts to master several fields of interest.

During the Renaissance, where the term 'Renaissance man' originated, polymathy was the idea that human beings could master anything we put our minds to and indeed during this time many polymaths existed from Leonardo da Vinci to Goethe.

But what is it that allows polymath's to rapidly learn new things and how do we apply that to our daily lives?

They do not get caught in the traps of monopathy or over-specialization. By mastering more than one subject or field they keep making new mental connections which allows them to remain curious and retain their neuroplasticity.

By recording and tracking their progress daily they break large tasks into manageable chunks and keep a consistent learning and productivity schedule.

By learning how to learn efficiently or complete projects in the most efficient way possible. They cut out learning traps and make rapid associations between seemingly unrelated things. Allowing for better retention over time.

Never stop learning. Take what you know and use it in some way. Develop projects, speak or write in the language you are learning, teach it to others. Whatever you do, do not stop using what you learn.

In summary, polymathy is all about recognizing the patterns that make up a specific topic or subject, cutting out the b.s. that makes it difficult to learn, charting the best way forward, keeping it consistent, staying curious, and using what you know. Or as the old saying goes, "use it or loose it." Because once we stop learning new things, we loose our neuroplasticity and once we loose that? Well, we could loose our ability to learn new things all together. ...