Are You a Hedgehog or a Fox?

Red Fox - Vulpes vulpes, sitting up at attention, direct eye contact, a little snow in its face, tree bokeh in background

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

Let me elaborate on this parable as it relates to a Moraine Park Technical College education, career, learning and life.

It is impossible to know everything, so most of us find an area of interest and become very good at one thing. Perhaps, as a plumber, electrician, nurse, accountant, cosmetologist, etc.

We are a hedgehog, a singular point of expertise and discipline. The hedgehog specializes in areas that they enjoy and produce value for others and makes a living for self and family and it spills over into the community. The skills of a hedgehog are focus, precision, reliability, tenacity, purpose, and completion. Hedgehogs take pride in their work. Technical College education offers this focus.


What value does the fox offer? The fox knows many things that may be connected or not. Curiosity is a favorite trait of the fox. Always looking for new ways to find solutions to complex issues, figuring out problems that did not exist before, taking a different point of view than the majority, questioning why and how things can be improved. The fox knows how to communicate well with others, understands trade-offs, values diversity of thought and ideas, works with uncertainty when things change, knows that ethical dilemmas exist, adopts and values team dynamics, can make computations and thinks critically. These skills are for careers, life and relationships. Thus, the need for the General Education courses offered at a technical college.

The primary focus and credits earned at a technical college education is a major or trade and becoming great at one thing, hedgehog, but the fox knows how to continue to learn, self-improve and contribute to a complex and changing society with General Education skills.

Both expertise is needed for tomorrow’s opportunities and challenges. Read more about General Education and the different programs offered at Moraine Park.

Written by Joseph Halter