Friday, October 28, 2011

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Many of us have a number of interests going on at once. It is understandable since there are so many things to learn and enjoy in life. We continually add to our "to do" list: learn a new language, to play a musical instrument, to paint, etc. We may even actually accomplish a number of them to some degree, but mostly what we come to find is that we only really have enough time to devote to a few of them.

 I noticed my son was starting to get involved in a new hobby every 3 months, spending a few hundred dollars to finish a couple of projects and then moving on to the next hobby. As parents we should encourage our children and support them in their interests. I would think well he is young and still trying to figure out what he really wants to do, but then I  thought, well actually I am 40 and I still have changing interests. There are a few that always stay with me (weightlifting, chess, and writing) but I too will find something new almost every few months that I would like to try my hand at.

I had a boss once pull me aside and tell me, "You try to do too many things at once, you should find one thing and concentrate on being very good at that." Likewise, I have had chess masters suggest that I study just a couple of main openings and understand them as best I could. I can see the wisdom in these philosophies, but I just can't get myself to stay with only a few things. I will read about something or see an interesting documentary and I am off again, learning as much as I can until the next topic or hobby grabs my attention. I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing to be a Jack of all trades master of none, but I do wonder from time to time how good could I really be in one thing if I just devoted all my time to it....

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