The Power and Importance of Specialization


It might not seem like an incredibly “big” thing but the fact that my daughter now puts her head fully under water in a pool seems one step shy of a miracle.

You see, from as early as we can remember @Roenne has been scared of the water, almost irrationally so. I’m not sure if this is anyone’s fault although I personally am a terrible swimmer (this asian has a high chanced of drowninginging) so that may have contributed to it to a small degree, but she’s just been anxious-ridden of doing anything that covers her face with water.

As parents, you try what know and you do your best to provide encouragement but nothing has worked. Nothing. Although this particular challenge isn’t nearly as complicated or emotionally-charged as others it still pained me as a parent to see my child so subject to fear. I would do anything for my children but teaching her how to overcome her fear of water was apparently way outside of my grasp.

With the wisdom of a few friends and the go-ahead from my wife we signed her up for a swim class. Perhaps a better word is “tutor” or private “coach” as it was just her and a young man named Nate and they began training Monday.

That was two days ago, and the transformation has been incredible.


After only 30 minutes with Nate my little first-born was swimming with her head underwater for a significant amount of time. My wife relayed this to me as she took Roenne to the first lesson; I took her yesterday to see for myself.

I couldn’t believe it. This child who would scream if I even attempted to suggest ducking her head under was now smiling and laughing about how far she could swim. In fact, she was asking me how far I thought she could swim to create even greater challenges.

Stunned. I was so stunned that I sheepishly uttered a mere “Thanks Nate.” to the gentleman who had single-handedly conquered what was Roenne’s #1 fear. Humbled is also an emotion that was a very close second.

This reminded me of the power and importance of specialization (among many other things). Nate was an incredibly athletic and highly competitive collegiate swimmer who probably lived half of his life submerged. This was what he does and he does it with excellence.

There was nothing within me and no experience that would have enabled me to teach my own daughter how to swim – I just wasn’t specialized enough and certainly had little to no skill in that area. Thank God someone did.


The world needs more specialists, not generalists because the world needs more incredible excellence instead of mediocrity. I attempt to specialize in my few and limited fields and industry and I’m glad others do the same.

Become a specialist and focus your efforts into smaller areas instead of more. You’ll do greater work, impact people’s lives’ more effectively, and save sappy old dad’s like me from having to learn how to swim.

Now, @Arden, on the other hand… she’s apparently a natural-born swimmer. She’s only 1.5 years and she’s already jumping in the pool and touching bottom, even if I’m not looking.