Why You Might Not Want To Be A Chai Wallah By Charlie Gilkey on October 13, 2009 13 Comments This video post is a reaction to Seth’s “Chai Wallah,” which has been on my mind for a few weeks. The video is almost six minutes long, and if you’re reading this in a feed reader, you might have to click through to view it. Thanks for watching! Previous Post: Meaning Comes From UsPrevious Next Post: %$titleNext
x (republic) says
Hey man, really diggin’ the video posts! Keep up the awesome work. – Peace
.-= x (republic)´s last blog ..Jonathan Mead’s “The Zero Hour Workweek” =-.
Kelly Parkinson says
I agree 100%! Our businesses should be big enough to allow us to reflect all the best parts of ourselves. Why should I have to hide so I can fit into some profit-making specialty? Isn’t that like having a job? Isn’t the point of not having a job to be able to have more fun, without all the rules? I love the idea that my business is as flexible and expansive as I am. Let the big companies sell chai. We’ll all be up to something interesting.
Great post, Charlie.
I remember the chai wallah post. It bothered me in a similar way, but I couldn’t quite express it in the way you have. Being a “chai wallah” in several different areas, however, is more do-able. I keep coming across the idea that people should do 3 things, and switch around between them. That is, enough things for variety, and not so many things to where you cease being able to put out excellent stuff. I’ll go with that. 🙂
A great antidote to Seth’s post is Chris Guillebeau’s very recent post, here:
.-= Charlotte´s last blog ..Voice. =-.
Janet Bailey says
Another danger of overspecialization: tunnel vision and potentially slow reaction time. (The old “When you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail” issue.) We have to be nimble nowadays, right? Love your point about the value of synthesizing and how this may require broad focus. And I agree with @Kelly, it’s way more fun to have a menu of things to choose from!
Karl Staib - Work Happy Now says
If I had to do just one thing well I would get bored. My success in helping people is attributed to my well rounded nature. I feel that if I limited myself to one aspect of work happiness then I wouldn’t be as helpful. I’m not patting myself on the back. I do make a lot of mistakes. But it’s these mistakes that I improve on and make a more well rounded me.
It’s about using my strengths to communicate in various mediums. If I focused on just one medium I don’t think that I would be as good. Man this sounds conceded, but I have to get my point out.
We all have strengths that transfer over into different categories. We need to explore each category to give the most help to the people we work with.
.-= Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s last blog ..Who Do You Admire at Work? =-.
Great post! Very useful stuff! Keep up the good work!
Charles Broadway says
I find myself in agreement with you. Specialization will increase your income and performance in a certain area because you are the best in that area, but it also increases your risk. It amounts to putting all your eggs in a single basket. Considering how rapidly our economy changes, this is a bad strategy.
I see the Renaissance Ideal making a comeback, and people referring to their primary occupations as merely their “day job.” They mix it up, and they also grow accustomed to ceaseless learning. They are dynamic where specialists are static.
Hunter Nuttall says
The supposed need to be a specialist is something that has always bothered me. Everyone says it’s so important, but I’m just not that guy, and I can’t limit myself to one thing.
Of course, being completely confused and chaotic isn’t a good thing. I’d prefer a surgeon who specializes in one type of surgery over one who also sells homemade dog toys and finds you good deals on car insurance.
But there are many fields that complement one another well, where someone who can draw from all of them has something special to bring to the table.
In an evolutionary sense, organisms that specialize are at an advantage, as long as their environment never changes. When it does, they get wiped out. And our environment is always changing.
For my link, I’m pointing to my relevant “Specialization is for Insects” post (hope it’s OK to mention that).
.-= Hunter Nuttall´s last blog ..Finding Your Primary Color, And Making The Leap =-.
Lisa Wood says
I can’t limit myself to just one thing either. Thanks for a very insightful video, Charlie. You always get me thinking. 🙂
.-= Lisa Wood´s last blog ..Why is Accountability Important? =-.
Scott Webb says
This is the direction my blog is moving.
I actually relate it to renaissance living. Great to hear and I think it’s a HUGE reason why people get so stuck.
Even Gary Vaynerchuk talking about having that one passion and going out and crush it. I believe we can have a great number of passions and be awesome at them all. While specialization is great for some people, it’s not for someone like me.
.-= Scott Webb´s last blog ..Hot WordPress Themes Released Recently For Photography =-.
I only read the comments, didn’t watch the video, but still interested that I got something different from the Chai Wallah post, based on where I was at that time.
Back then, I was working on 4 different websites, including BBB (some money-making, some not), plus a big freelance writing assignment, plus some small website dev work, and on and on.
A bunch of projects that drained my energy, hard to keep up with, hard to shift my focus throughout the day.
I kept that Chai Wallah post up in my browser as a reminder and worked every day to whittle the project list down to 1.
So it didn’t toggle the “specialization” thing for me, more the “focus your energy” thing. But I agree with Charlotte about having a few things to bounce among…but it helps if they’re under the same project umbrella!
Actually, I agree with you on this one.
Having too many domains that you’re trying to keep momentum on is exhausting and counterproductive.
It’s way better to have one umbrella with a ton of interests than a slow of umbrellas with one thing in them. You only have so many hands, after all.