Are You A Jack of All Trades?

I can’t stand the phrase, “Jack of all trades; master of none.”

I can’t stand this phrase because it’s often used in a derogative way. There’s an undertone of passiveness and judgement to it. There’s an implication that mastery is the apotheosis of life and is the mark we should all strive for. It carries with it a notion of absolute hierarchy wherein your career equates to your worth.

It lacks humanity.

I say it lacks humanity because it casts judgement on and ridicules our natural tendency to find interest in various subjects and suggests we are wrong in doing so. It suggests that the only thing worth while is the pursuit of mastery.

I have nothing against mastery or the pursuit of it, however, I very much prefer that we do the things that excite us and makes us happy, and often times that means exploring many different things. Often this comes at the expense of buzz words like “mastery,” but to that I say: To hell with mastery! To heavens with happiness!

In the end, the grass always seems greener on the other side. If you keep listening to everyone, you will always be too pigeon-holed or not have enough variety of skills.

If you’re intently focusing on one thing right now in the pursuit of mastery, then I just want to say: Hell yeah! If this is what makes you happy, keep at it! If this is what excites you, keep at it!

If you’re exploring many different things right now, then I want to say the same thing. Keep at it! Do the things that excite you! Do the things that make you happy!

I seem to share this quote with everyone, but I can’t get enough of it:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
—Howard Thurman

You are human being living in the 21st century, it’s alright to be interested in many different things. There has never been a time in history where we’ve had so many tools at our immediate disposal, we’re living longer than ever, access to education is increasing, and we just generally have more opportunities in front of us. This isn’t the 16th century, there isn’t the pressure to commit the rest of your life to a single craft.

Time is not wasted when you spend it doing what you enjoy.