Thursday, January 9, 2014

Being Jack-of-all-trades

Jack of all trades, master of none.”

I first learned that quote from a college friend. I cannot forget that line because I am quite affected by it. Truly, I have interest in a number of things. I cannot imagine myself focusing on one thing in my lifetime. Even if I focus on one thing, for example, a hobby, my mind constantly travels and thinks of things that I can also do. Since I began working, I have been fond of reading blog posts about investing, entrepreneurship and personal finance. Right now, I am fond of reading recipe books and cooking new dishes. When I woke up at the right side of the bed, I browse blogs on designing and graphic arts. When I feel inspired, I delve myself into writing and reading some writing manuals. Just recently, I got myself into researching more about indoor planting and subsistence farming. Those are apart from what I really do, which is translation and reading on international affairs. I can identify with Leonardo Da Vinci and Jose Rizal – the difference is they were good in all things they did.

This condition made me a bit miserable. A professor once told a story about this Anthropology scholar, who later in life became a geography scholar. This person was criticized and his credibility was somehow attacked. Some people say that to truly know your passion – or maybe your place in this world – one should only focus on one thing. So that would mean that I have to shut out my other interests and just focus on one. But that would make life more boring, isn’t it?

So one day I decided to subscribe to the motto that is “misery loves company”. I searched on the internet if having multiple interests is normal and if it is ok. I found numerous articles about people having multiple passions and interests and they are maximizing it. I was happy. After all, I am not an outcast. However, our time on earth is very limited to be really good in the areas of your interest. Thus, time management is essential, and that is what Adam Singer of Future Buzz was trying to tell. For Singer, to be able to succeed in your multiple interests, you have to allot enough time for them, and work all day, if possible, to hone them. He emphasized that even though it is tough, one has to remove other things that does not help with succeeding in your multiple interests, e.g. the TV and simple chores like mailing a bill.

What strikes me most about his article was his advice about ignoring other people who tells you that you should focus on one thing. It reminds me of an office colleague who criticizes another colleague for having too many interests. The critic thinks that the multiple-interest colleague will never achieve anything significant if he continues on with his multiple passions.


I understand that there is a common belief that if you don’t focus on one, you will never accomplish anything. But as Singer says, it’s all about balance and correct management.

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