We’re all familiar with the expression “Jack of all trades – master of none”. Most people I cross paths with believe in the sentiment. Do you believe this? If so why? Have you actually stopped to think about it ? Or did you just accept the idea ? What does it mean to be a Jack of all trades? Why are the connotations logical? Are they logical?
Here’s how Wikipedia defines the expression:
“Jack of all trades, Master of none” is a figure of speech used in reference to a person that is competent with many skills but is not outstanding in any particular one.
Master of none? I don’t see how being competent in many skills entails not having mastery of any. Sure, one person can’t master everything in the world. But only master one skill? Are you serious? This doesn’t make sense.
As children we were all asked what we wanted to be as adults.Your answer may have changed a million times, but it’s likely that you had an answer. If you didn’t, there were suggestions waiting for you. As children we had young penetrable minds. At this point in our lives society planted its seed of limitation and boundary. We were conditioned to believe we are confined to the mastery of one trade. I challenge this stupid notion!
Societies Nurturing of the Narrow Mind
Society is structured to discourage the growth and development of our minds. It’s expected that we will grow to fit a pre defined mould. We’re expected to learn more and more about less and less as we grow older in a world which expects and encourages speciality. Why? It is said we only use a miserable 10% of our brains. If this is true. Why are we not encouraged to expand our minds? I’ll tell you why. Because knowledge is power, the narrow mind is unable to understand the bigger picture in its entirety. Which then makes for an easy cog to control.
I’m not the only one that believes this. Seth Godin writes on the subject passionately. Emilie Wapnick leads a tribe of people with multiple interests. Luciano passuello shares techniques to push our minds into new domains, and there are many more people out there with similar messages.
Knowledge is Power
The constant acquisition of knowledge and skill is a super power. I say super power because it will certainly result in the fruition of new perspectives and opportunities. The more you learn the easier it gets; ‘it’ being life. Let’s rephrase this: The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Smart people get smarter and dumb people get dumber. When it’s put like this, being “competent” with many skills doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
Mastery of multiple disciplines is not a new concept. It all started with the infamous Greeks, which were undoubtedly some of the most intelligent people to walk this planet. However, the world we live in today encourages speciality. A person nurtured to complete a specific set of tasks. This concept has been made popular by the infamous Henry Ford and Ray Kroc in their successful businesses. Both men made great fortunes creating systems that could be run by cogs. Do you want to be a cog?
I’m a passionate philomath always seeking new knowledge and skills. I understand that you may not be as curious as I am, or have a desire to learn as much as I do. That’s totally fine. What I want to see is more people giving time to self-development. It’s important that we continue to push our minds into new domains, even if it is just one or two more things you decide to pursue. What’s important is constant development.
I see nothing wrong with being called a Jack of all trades. I believe in the sentiment so strongly that I’ll call myself ‘Mr Jack of all trades’ Leaning is nothing but a pleasure. Don’t allow for anyone or anything to coerce you into thinking of it in a negative light. It really is ok to be the Jack of all trades, Impressive in fact.
I’m Mr. Jack-of-all-trades – master of learning.
Thank you for reading.