The lie of diversification: What woodpeckers and chai wallah’s know

Just like how we must choose to work right instead of finding the right work, we must choose to commit to one journey rather than diversifying our options frequently.

To make a journey, we must not keep changing directions often.

This is something that we can learn from woodpeckers and the chai wallahs of India – the art of unwavering focus.

A woodpecker can tap 20 times on 1000 trees and get nowhere but stay busy or he can tap 20,000 times on one tree and get dinner.
When faced with a dip, many individuals and organizations diversify. If you can’t get to the next level, the thinking goes, invest your energy and learning to do something else. This leads to record labels with 1000s of artists instead of focused promotion on just a few. It leads to job seekers who can demonstrate competency at a dozen tasks instead of mastery of just one. Hard-working, motivated people find diversification a natural outlet for their energy and drive. Diversification feels like the right thing to do.
Yet, the real success goes to those who obsess. The focus that leads you through the dip to the other side is rewarded by a market place in search of the best in the world.
If you make adversity your ally, you would insulate yourself from the competition.
A wallah is one who performs a specific task.  A rickshaw wallah drives the rickshaw, a dhobi wallah washes clothes and the chai wallah, you guessed it, makes chai.  Chai wallahs are everywhere in India.
Diversification is hence, a lie.
Diversification is a lie because self-determination (pursuit of happiness) is only possible with individual control and diversification inherently diminishes one’s ability to control its diverse elements. For every degree that diversification increases, one’s ability to control those elements decreases.  This decrease in your ability to control inherently undermines your ability to choose how that ownership satisfies your will defeating the purpose of having ownership.  Inability to control also inherently diminishes your ability to specialize and achieve excellence in whatever it is you do.  From economics 101, we learned that it is this specialization that provides a competitive advantage.
Then, why do we choose to diversify? It could be the monotony of crossing the dip and sometimes, even the fear of missing out (FOMO).
It’s tempting to diversify, particularly when it comes to what you offer the world.

Focus works. A sharp edge cuts through the clutter.
One more alternative, one more flavor, one more variation.
Something for everyone.
We get pushed to smooth out the work, make it softer, more widely applicable.
More breadth, though, doesn’t cause change, and it won’t get you noticed.
It’s so tempting to do a little bit of everything. All the tools are there, a click away. Or you can be a wallah. Someone who does only that one thing.
It’s a reminder that his success lives and dies on the performance of just one task.
When you go all in, it focuses your attention and effort, doesn’t it?

Hard work must be incisive – precise, and calibrated – to reap rewards. In order to make our efforts targeted, we must choose a journey that’s worth committing to no matter what.

In a world where the dip dominates, diversification is a lie. Quit lots, until you find a dip you can beat for the right reasons.
Quitting requires you to acknowledge that you’re never going to be #1 in the world – at least not at this.
So it’s easier just to put it off, not admit it.
Be a lot choosier about which journeys you start.
Know before you start whether or not you have the resources and the will to get to the end.
If you can’t make it through the dip, don’t start.
If you’re going to quit, quit before you start.
Don’t play the game if you realize you can’t be the best in the world.
Reject the system.
To be a superstar, find a field with a steep barrier between those who try and those who succeed.
In a state of joy and clarity within yourself, you must choose what you wish to do, then do only that. The mind and emotions are capable of leading you in circles and changing direction every day. If you change directions too often, you are obviously not interested in getting anywhere.
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