You are a Polymath, Don’t You Doubt It

Danny Forest
4 min readOct 6, 2022
Photo by Matteo Petralli: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-doing-fire-dance-stunt-1772883/

Am I the only one who is tired of reading articles about focusing on one specific thing you’re really good at to be successful?

If you ask me what I’m best at, I don’t think I can answer the question.

If you think you can answer that question, you’re probably wrong.

For those who don’t know, a polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.

Following Dreams

I knew very early on that I wanted to build games growing up. I directed my life to reach that goal. In my teenage years, I built games using free software like RPG Maker and Game Maker. I later learned to program in college. As soon as I could get in the industry, I did. It was great. I was very good at it.

I shifted gears 5 or 6 years later and worked for a non-game company. It was great. I was very good at it.

I left 6 months later to travel around the world. I tried as many things as I could. Things I had no idea if I’d be good at it or not. But I tried. I surprised myself most of the time. I was very good at other non-programming related tasks.

“If you can dream it, you can do it” — Walt Disney

“Becoming” A Polymath

This realization put me in a year of self-doubt about the direction of my life after I came back from that trip a year later. Some people travel to find themselves, I was definitely more lost than I was when I left.

It’s then the I started experimenting on every new skill I could pick up. I became good at lots of things. I’ve since then developed this framework where I learn (at least) 3 new skills every month.

In a very short timespan, I:

  • started getting contracts for taking professional photos;
  • started writing semi-professionally;
  • started an eCommerce selling Viking gear;
  • built the (self-proclaimed) best yet-to-be-released Text-to-Speech app;
  • started speaking other languages;
  • gave talks on time management & productivity;
  • gave English classes;

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Danny Forest

Polymath. Life Optimizer. Learner. Entrepreneur. Engineer. Writer.