Jack of Many Trades, Master of None

Copyright hdwpapers.com

Preface

All through life, kids get asked what they want to be when they grow up, and though it seems a bit early for a three-year old to make up such a decision; life is short. From personal experience, I know that it is a little too late “letting the child find out for himself”, if the search starts at the end of the teenage.

Prologue

When I was a kid, I wanted to become a lawyer as my full-time profession and work as a hitman in my spare-time, just to make a little extra on the side. This feeling of doing a little of everything is something that stuck with me for way too long. After my first year as an assassin, I… No, I didn’t carry that one out, as so many other things. I figured out way too late what I wanted to do. I did go to law school and finish the Bachelor, but it was never something that I wanted. For that reason, I was always spending more time thinking what I should do later and not focusing on what I was doing then.

Chapter I – Attention Deficit

I have always been moving from idea to idea. No one ever stopped me and forced me to sit an idea through as a child, and so I’ve had to learn the hard way by the unsatisfying feeling of being mediocre at many things but mastering nothing. I’ve done almost any imaginable sports and hobbies, but never have I kept to one thing long enough to be mastering it. Today, I got a cello, a piano and a guitar, but I don’t really know how to play any of them. In my lifetime, I’ve studied for 18 years in many areas, but I’ve never really learned one area in-depth. Not until a couple of years ago, when I started to actively think about where to put my focus.

Chapter II – The Realisation

What I realised was that I’ve always been encouraged to do whatever, where I should’ve been pushed to see a thing through. I would properly have hated my parents for forcing me to play the piano two days a week for ten years, but in the retrospection, I believe that they should’ve. It’s not that I needed to become good at playing the piano, it is that I needed to see what can be accomplished by hard work and never backing down, and that is what I’ve missed from growing up.

Chapter III – Redressing The Flaws

Today, I have strong work ethics and always try to push myself to learn more, but it took me a great deal of introspection to establish the focus I have today. I soon figured out that everything can be fun as long as I am thoroughly good at it, and the process of learning and getting better is an exploit in itself. In the end, my success is in no one’s hands but mine – nor are my failures.

What have you experienced that started as a pain, but got more of a joy the better you got at it?

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    • Marcus Hickleton
    • November 3rd, 2013

    Great post, and an awesome life realisation. I totally recommend the book “Mastery” by George Leonard, check it out. As the book outlines, a huge part of the ‘Jack of all trades” mentality is a result of us growing up in a quick-fix society where we’re swamped by marketing, and where we constantly see the results and the glory but rarely the efforts that are put in behind the scenes. I’ve also had to consciously work to overcome this mentality. In answer to the question at the end man, I would say almost everything. Playing guitar was a chore for the first year until I became competent, but then became fun once I actually had songs to play. Learning German was boring until I had the basics down pat, etc. Everything is more fun when you’re good at it – you just have to push through the early days!

      • rschultze
      • November 4th, 2013

      Thank you for your comment and thoughts, Marcus. I followed your advice on the book by George Leonard, and I swallowed it in a day and a night. It is describing exactly the thoughts that made me write this post, and added further words to the thoughts I hadn’t realised yet. I am sure it will help me to further focus and enjoy the pleasures of “chopping wood and carrying water” 🙂

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