When this nation of ours was born nearly every one was a generalist. The merchant sold a general line of merchandise. The doctor was also a farmer and a horse trader. In those days there were very few specialists. As time passed some of the wiser individuals turned specialist and succeeded.
The doctor who is a generalist cannot excel in any one branch of medicine, or compete with the specialist who devotes all her time and study and practice towards one point and towards the treatment of a specific ailment. The merchant who sells everything cannot compete with the woman who makes it her business to sell one class of goods. This is an age of specialists, and what we considered a specialist twenty-five years ago is only a generalist from the present standpoint. The specialist of twenty-five years ago has been divided, again and again.
The best doctor today is one who doctors the eye alone, the stomach alone, or the nerves alone. She can do more for you and knows more of your case in five minutes observation than the generalist would in three months. With the keen competition of these days it is necessary for the individual to be a specialist in business. Pleasure and recreation are the only things in which an individual should be a generalist.
Were it not for specialists we should know little about the sun, little of electricity, little of steam, little of railroads, little of advertising, little of anything else. It is because individuals have made a speciality of one thing, because they have concentrated their energies and their brain power on one thing that the
world has progressed.
Recreation is for relaxation, and the business woman should see to it that she gets the full benefit of recreation. If she carries specialism into recreation, recreation is spoiled, for the moment a woman is a specialist in recreation she strives to excel, and this striving to excel is hard work, and that is the same thing she is doing in business.
The business woman who plays billiards and no other game doubtless will play a better game than the generalist who indulges in all sorts of games and recreations, but the woman who makes a specialty of billiards finds her powers centred on this game of billiards. She puts her thought on it and wishes to excel.
She wishes to make a record, and billiards then becomes business, This striving to excel in a game brings forth the same gambling instinct manifested in business. It is her "I will." The business woman who plays a good game of billiards some day meets her superior, and the superior is the individual who does nothing but play billiards.
If a woman tries to be a specialist in billiards and a specialist in business, even though both callings commence with "B," she will find that a division of effort is a division of results, and she will not be a success in either business or billiards. In proportion as she excels in billiards she will be lacking in business; and vice versa.
We remember the story of a young friend of Herbert Spenser who joined the great philosopher in a game of billiards. The young man played a most excellent game. When they had finished Spencer remarked: "Young man, your education has been greatly neglected, you play billiards too well."
Be a specialist in business and a generalist in pleasure. Play billiards, swim, ride, play golf and indulge in all athletic sports and so long as you get uniform pleasure and recreation from these things you are doing right, you are helping your mind and developing your body and letting your brain rest, so that it may be keen and a greater help in your specialty, which is business.
The world needs specialists, and it needs specialists in recreation as well as business, but the woman who tries to be a specialist in business as well as a specialist in recreation will fail in both , or, at least, her success will be only moderate.
It is necessary for life's scheme that we have individuals who have steady incomes so that they do not require to enter the strenuous business life. It is necessary to have such individuals, so that they may devote themselves to being specialists in recreation, otherwise the sports would die out.
If you go in for sport do not expect you can compete with anybody who goes in for sport exclusively. You can’t win in two callings or occupations.
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