Foxes and hedgehogs

“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing,” said the Greek poet Archilochus.  

No matter how clever the fox is, it still gets caught. Meanwhile, the hedgehog protects itself by curling up under the protection of its spines. Those who can do more may do too much.

The advantage of specialization over general application is a single-minded philosophy that increases your chances of survival by keeping things simple. Of course, any sudden emergency poses a threat to a one-way system. 

But behind every stark situation is a silver lining. Constraints are opportunities in disguise, offering a stimulus to find a better way of doing something. Darwin’s finches adapted to new niches by growing fine-tuned beaks for eating both berries and insects.  

The hedgehog pulls out all stops because he has no choice. There’s only one way to survive: adapt or die trying.