Jack of all Trades, Master of None

posted in: Personal | 6

I’ve said a number of times before that I definitely see myself as a jack of all trades but master of none. I like to think that I am “okay” at quite a few things; okay at playing the trombone, okay at writing, okay at photography, okay at design, okay at presenting, okay at hiking, okay at cooking, okay at cycling (I have a tendency to fall off on occasion), okay at etc etc.

But okay is another way of saying mediocre. I am mediocre at a lot of things. And excellent at, well, nothing.

My inability to choose one hobby or skill to learn really well is to blame.

Fly Boarding at Tattershall Lakes

Being “okay” at fly boarding involves heading into the water head first. A lot. 

If I did choose one thing, or maybe even two, I could focus and commit, and potentially become really really good. But then I’d not have all the opportunities I have now to try lots of different things. The fact is I wouldn’t know which to pick. And at 34 I think I’m probably too late anyway, I should have chosen when I was 21. I’m sure you can tell me otherwise.

Sometimes I feel like the focus gene missed me out completely. Not only can I not choose one or two hobbies  to concentrate on and instead have several handfuls of things I like to do regularly, but also I can’t concentrate on one thing for more than a short period of time. I get restless. I can’t sit still. I can’t even read more than a chapter of a book in one go, I definitely can’t sit on a sun lounger on holiday, and it’s taken me at least three (or maybe four) sittings to write this blog post.

But.

I don’t mind so much. Yes I admit that my in ability to choose means I am very busy and feel like I never have enough hours in the day for all the things I want to do. Yes, having so many hobbies and interests means that I will never win a competition or become a world record holder in one activity (I’m hoping for a group world record sometime, if you’re running one you need an extra body for let me know.).. And yes, I will only ever be in the middle, or lower, when comparing myself to others. I don’t mind, though, because having opportunities to do lots (and lots) of different things gives me every chance to maybe one day find that ultimate thing I can excel at. More importantly, having lots of hobbies and interests, at the moment, makes me happy.

Maybe one day I will actually choose one thing and leave the other 100s to one side for a bit. But in the mean time I’ll take my jack of all trades and have a look at the photos I’ve taken over the last few years for this blog, all the things I’ve been able to tick off my bucket list, even all the things I’ve done this last week while on my jam packed Center Parcs holiday; a post about paddle boarding coming up soon.

Have you chosen one thing to concentrate on in your life? Do you give everything you have to becoming a Master at one very complicated skill? Do you have an ultimate life goal that you are striving for? Then I admire you. You are absolutely awesome in my eyes, and I wish you every success. Or are you a little bit like me – not sure how to choose and even if you did choose, not sure how people commit so completely to just one thing? Share below.

(This post was inspired by today’s BEDM topic – special talents.)

 

6 Responses

  1. Wend

    I too love being a Jack of all trades, my focus is about the moment so I’m with you all the way 😉

  2. Shybiker

    Buddy, be yourself and be glad you’re you. You tell us you’re happy — and that’s the goal. Many who devote their lives to a single pursuit are unfulfilled: their lives lack balance and, despite Herculean efforts, they often never reach their summit.

    I was raised to play sports and I learned early the distinction between the intrinsic joy of engaging in them (e.g., the feel of catching a baseball; the satisfaction of hitting a tennis ball) and the soul-robbing effect of competition. Few of us will ever become Olympic athletes but all of us can enjoy moving around. I now separate these two things. I’ll hit a tennis ball with friends but refuse to keep score. Doing that, and having fun, I usually hear people on the next court arguing over whether a ball was in or out; they aren’t having fun. So, enjoy life!

    • Splodz

      Thanks Ally – yes it’s all about being ourselves, and enjoying what we are doing and not worrying about what it is or how good we are at it. You’re right about sports; I enjoy keeping score sometimes (I like to play badminton) as it makes me work harder, but other times it is unnecessary and should be discouraged – there is nothing wrong with playing for fun.

  3. Kezzie

    Hi Zoe! Oh well done, I got bored and just didn’t want to do a talents post yesterday so posted something else that was waiting! When I was 13, I auditioned for my local music school to get into the Guitar Ensemble. I was already in the orchestra, windband, choir and recorder ensemble and was told by the auditor, deputy head of the centre that I was in danger of becoming a ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’. I remember being rather shocked and a little insulted but I got in and did the guitar ensemble for two years until I needed to get a part-time job on a Monday instead. I actually did get rather good at most of the instruments I did even if I didn’t go fulltime to music college (I got into Trinity on a reserve but chose to go to Uni and do flute part-time at Guildhall). But do you know what, I am glad I was a jack of all trades- it makes me a more rounded person and very useful nowadays and chances are,even if I HAD pursued a performing career and gone to music college, I doubt I’d have got a job and I’d be poor and resentful! You stick to being you!x

    • Splodz

      You were busy! I am so glad that you made your choice and are pleased that you decided to do everything – there is nothing wrong with being a jack of all trades, you certainly seem pretty talented to me.
      I am actually pleased that someone took you to one side and said something to you. I think kids – and certainly me when I was at school – do not realise that you are allowed to choose just one thing if you love it enough. I’m also pleased that they let you carry on with everything once they’d had that conversation with you.

What do you think? Comment below...