Let's face it: nobody can be Jack of All Trades, not even when it comes to the smallest of the smallest of areas in any given subject in this world. There is just too much to know about.
And still many of us try to be that way.
And that's just pure madness.
Don't get me wrong, to have understanding of how things work and how everything is intertwined to one another is maybe the most crucial skill you can have - it helps you to comprehend endless amounts of information. But that's not Jack of All Trades. That's Jack of I Know Whom to Ask.
Today's Jack of All Trades seem to be 20-30 somethings that possess superpowers in every given field that happens to be trending at the moment. Something like this:
I'm a product designer, web developer, UX consultant, dev ops engineer, salesy customer success evangelist, content marketing specialist and self-made social media expert. And a father, of course. In my spare time I give talks about the future of the Internet of Things, run a micro brewery and hang out with my fellows from the hottest startup ever.
For a while, I wanted to be like that. Fortunately I realised that actually I ended up being mediocre in too many things. Better than average maybe, but not good enough to stand out from the crowd. Then I decided to focus on the things I really enjoyed the most, and to leave the rest to the others.
This decision not only helped me to get better in what I really want to do, but to also enabled me to see everything else from a more general perspective - giving me more space for fresh thoughts and making me more adaptive to changes.
To stay true to my title, here is the checklist I hope nobody follows when feeling the temptation of the next big thing in the attempt to become Jack of All Trades:
- Get excited about something new. It might be a new skill, promising career opportunity or a new hobby. Whatever it is, it is the big thing in your mind at that given time.
- Sacrifice endless hours mastering the art (=learning the basics) of your newfound love. Ignore everything else.
- Find out that this shit is actually quite time consuming and hard to be really good at.
- Bump into something new and exciting. Quit.
- Start the cycle all over again.
There is nothing bad in getting excited, but jumping relentlessly between too many things is only going to get you distracted from everything you do. My advice?
Try to be really good at something, and stick to it.