What is versatile?

Versatile is an adjective that comes from the Latin word versatilis and that refers to the ability of something or someone to adapt quickly and easily to different functions. Versatility, therefore, is a highly valued resource.

For example: “We need to hire a versatile player who can play in different positions on the field of play” , “I believe that I am a versatile worker who is in a position to offer all kinds of solutions for the company” , “What I like this bag the most is that it is very versatile: you can wear it during the day when I go to work or at night if I decide to go out to dinner”. A versatile person is able to respond to different challenges and adapt to all types of contexts. For this reason, versatility is a value that employers often consider when hiring someone. Sometimes, they prefer to do without a specialist, who works in a single area of ​​the company, and choose to choose a person who has the ability to successfully perform several tasks, regardless of not being outstanding in any particular sector.

Something similar happens in professional sports. Teams usually have players who specialize in some task or who only occupy one position on the field of play, but in each team (also called a squad) there are several versatile athletes. In a football team, a player who can play in three or four positions is very useful, as this translates into the possibility of replacing different teammates. In music, the term versatile is widely used, especially in the field of singing, to refer to those performers who have the ability to do justice to works of varied themes or from very different times and styles. María Callas, for many the soprano par excellence, was a clear example of versatility, regardless of the damage she may have caused to her vocal cords: during her intense career, she put herself in the shoes of the darkest and most cheerful characters, testing from Mozart to Puccini, passing through Rossini and Verdi. Callas’ case goes beyond physical issues, merely vocal, since she was a great actress, capable of impressing in her performances a series of unprecedented emotions, elevating the opera’s performance plan, something that had not been done to that level until then. . Despite having received a lot of negative reviews since the beginning of her career, her legacy is undeniable when you look at her successors, from Joan Sutherland (one of the most prominent singers of the last hundred years) to the younger generation of today.

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As discussed, versatility is not always a virtue. There are those who consider that doing too many things comes with an unavoidable qualitative cost; in other words, someone who is able to work in several fields cannot be very talented in any one of them. However, flexibility can be beneficial, as it allows you to observe life from different perspectives, as if the experience of more than one person were acquired at the same time, with the consequent enrichment at an intellectual level, which can serve to improve a particular aspect. . . There are people with multiple talents, who quickly learn seemingly distant concepts and who perform a wide variety of activities with satisfactory results. Continuing with what was said in the previous paragraph, this versatility can work against the subject if it does not allow him to focus on just one path; On the other hand, it can become a treasure for him if, through his passage through the various fields, he gathers the necessary wisdom to develop his vocation.

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