Please refer to this image of the definition of a polyhistor, then keep reading for more background and understanding.
When the Covid-19 pandemic started, I was doing some metal work and temari; reading. After a few weeks into the lockdown I was still making temari and started a weaving project; the metal work was set aside. Now one year into the pandemic I have set aside the weaving and I am spending my evenings mostly working on temari and yubinuki.
It was during this past year I began to ponder my penchant for learning which to me was a bit odd considering I did not enjoy "school" as a child. That's not to say I did not like going to school or all of the things I was told I had to learn; what I did not enjoy was some of the things I had to learn and the more I thought about it I realized I did not enjoy the subjects where the learning was difficult due to my then unknown dyslexia. The subjects I did enjoy were home economics, physical education, art, poetry, the sciences except the heavy math parts, and many after school activities like stage crew, (more) sports and Girl Scouts. It was the math, spelling and learning French - all for a while until I learned, on my own, how to make a game of learning and mastering the rules.
What can be even more confounding is that I chose to pursue an engineering degree after high school. I decided on the degree because I am a "natural engineer" and my father was one too and he said I would have a more difficult time trying to follow my dreams without a degree, like him, than with one (being female in the 60-70's being the other). College was extremely difficult and my undergraduate grades where crap (gong to a very difficult school did not help) but I did graduate.
NOTE: A natural engineer is NOT a person who engineers nature or natural resources. A natural engineer is someone who is an engineer but has no formal training and exhibits the ability to see and solve problems at a young age. I was telling my father how to fix things, he was working on, starting sometime around 5th grade.
Since then I have had this desire to learn new things - embroidery and crewl work, weaving and spinning, quilting (which is very different than sewing clothing which I do as well), knitting, temari and yubinuki, metalsmithing, raising and sinking vessels, constructing boxes, chasing and repousse and learning to make the tools for metalsmithing - all subjects that are, in a way mathematical and engineering related while allowing the person doing them to be creative. I say they involve engineering and mathematical aspects because all do require the use of math, some more than others, and they have a technical aspect to them; when you know the basics there are challenges and problems to be solved when an idea presents it self.
As I said, I realized this past year that I like learning and specifically learning where I can solve problems or processes. When I find a subject that piques my interest, I am ALL IN. I find ways to learn at my own pace, I acquire the books, tools and other aqutromonts to master it. Many of the skills I have listed I really enjoy and have done for 30, 40 or more years And yet.... I realized that for some of these other subjects, which I also enjoy(ed) I have set aside and never come back to. So do I enjoy the learning and gaining the understanding MORE than the act of doing it?
I present to you as an example my 10 year foray into Metalsmithing, shall we. I first learned how to cut and polish a cabochon, then I moved into basic jewelry so I could wear what I had made. I enjoy making the odd piece of jewelry but it did not inspire me to make more. I like working with metal because of the underlying science and engineering which most metalsmiths have no interest in. From there I tried chain maille which I found boring after a while and from there I moved into raising and sinking of vessels - now that challenged me and continues to do so. To do more with the vessels I made, I then learned chasing and repousse; to color my work I delved into the alchemy behind patina and the construction techniques of making boxes and hinges.
Throughout all of this I realize that I am very good at the technical aspects and can make some wonderful things many of which are my own original ideas. What I lack is the continuous flow of creative ideas that would make me a true artist in some things I have learned but not in others. I am OK with that which is why I am an Artisan not an artist.
I know I can find a subject I enjoy, learn it, become proficient in it and make and be creative and sell these items as a polyhistor and an artisan.