Range

Range

Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

David Epstein

He and another psychologist aggregated the results of ninety-two studies and revealed that some personality traits change over time in fairly predictable ways. Adults tend to become more agreeable, more conscientious, more emotionally stable, and less neurotic with age, but less open to experience. In middle age, adults grow more consistent and cautious and less curious, open-minded, and inventive.* The changes have well-known impacts, like the fact that adults generally become less likely to commit violent crimes with age, and more able to create stable relationships. The most momentous personality changes occur between age eighteen and one’s late twenties, so specializing early is a task of predicting match quality for a person who does not yet exist. It could work, but it makes for worse odds. Plus, while personality change slows, it does not stop at any age. Sometimes it can actually happen instantly.

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