Let’s say you’re a young guy in your early 20s and you just started to get some interest for body building.
You have no idea of how to work out, what a good work out is, what a good work out is not and everything else. You’re a blank canvas.
So you get a book about the foundations, you use Google to answer specific questions and Youtube for visual input. The guys on Youtube you like, you add on Twitter to be informed about blog updates from them. The passion you have for that area of expertise drives an interest for knowledge. You keep going and build a unique, but profound body of expertise in that branch.
At the same time you start to hit the gym hard. The theoretical knowledge you’ve built and keep working on is exposed to constant, immediate feedback, which helps you to re-correct the direction you’re headed in. Plus the gym workouts give way for new questions to arise, which you then get data on from your theoretical body of knowledge.
Time goes by and you’re 6 months in. You’ve been really disciplined and regular with your workouts, but you start to stagnate. Your measurements show no growth anymore. You don’t know what’s going on. You keep going and try to overcome that plateau with the theoretical knowledge and practical experience you’ve gained within body building. You tweak your workout routine, you try new exercises, different sets and intervalls. Nothing helps.
Weeks pass and then it dawns on you: The solution to your stagnation does not lie within that very area you’re stuck at.
It lies outside. In another area of expertise called nutrition.
So you use Google and Youtube again, you download an ebook and find out what’s going on in nutrition. It’s the same method you used beforehand to get started with body bulding.
You quickly find out there’s a lot of contradictory stuff out there, so you apply and test in real life and because there’s no alternative, you become an expert yourself. You go really deep, until you gain full clarity.
With this newly developped expertise in nutrition, you break through the plateau in body building without changing anything in that very area.
This tiny, simplified example taken to the extreme is what the progretarian idea is about.
We are stuck in one area of expertise and focus on that very area trying to fix the problem inside the box. Most solutions are found outside the box.
If you advance in your nutritional skills, your initial problems in body building just disappear, because your development in one area influences all other areas.
So if you don’t get promoted at work, perhaps it’s not your Boss, competitive colleagues or a tough economy. Perhaps it’s bad sleeping patterns that drain the energy you’d need to get ahead.
That’s why I fully believe the future belongs to people with multidisciplinary expertise, who benefit from the synergies they created. The narrower a task, the more likely a machine will do it in the next years. The days of performing ONE skill over and over for 45 years and calling that a career are gone.
If you want to thrive in the coming decades, you have to become a multidisciplinary expert, a progretarian.
You have to change the signal-to-noise-ratio.
Become resilient to the noise and at the same time a clearer signal yourself.
Modern mass media, industrialized production of food and goods, TV, Internet, production industry incentives, consumer desires, liberation in lifestyle choices, infrastructure technology & globalization to make use of the planet as if it was a village, digitalization of knowledge…..all that is noise.
Workout regularly, eat healthy, meditate daily and read many many difficult things. Those things help with resilience to that noise.
The synergies of a healthy body-mind-system that’s being exposed to many many different ideas and bodies of knowledge then create a compass that allows you to find ways of gaining expertise in many different topics, which then will turn you into a stronger and clearer signal.
In that body building and nutrition example the relation is obvious. In many other areas people aren’t even aware of any relations.
That’s what the 21st century is about: hacking the signal-to-noise-problem with multidisciplinary expertise.