Jack of All, Master of None, this is a concept we have heard throughout our childhood. We have been brought up in a system that teaches us to harness a skill to, as they put it, make a career, or in other words to contribute once more to this system.
I’m not going to actually cover the part about how you are giving back to what Aliston calls keepers in his post on sustainability for a futurist. I’m going to put forward a thought I had about being a ‘Master of All’.
The Jack of all Master of none, does not just exist in your hometown or country, according to the wiki page on this quote, the Chinese have it as “All trades known, all trades dull,” the Argentineans, “Who embraces too much, has a weak grasp,” the Spanish, “An ocean of knowledge of an inch deep”, the Mexicans, “You shoot for everything, but you hit nothing” and many more similar ones.
There are a few positive ones as well like the Russian quote, “Master in all hands,” though they have their negative ones too. But what makes it even more interesting is the original quote, that I have never come across until now,
“Jack of all trades, master of none, though oftentimes better than master of one”.
A beautiful quote but only half of it has been passed on for ages, for instance, in North America, the Jack of All, Master of None has been in use since 1721. We have been taught to harness a single skill, focus on one thing which I feel hampers our growth and prevents us from reaching our true potential. Its like entering just one room when we have the keys to ten.
I also feel that this is a way that helps the people on the top stay on top. If you consider that there were exceptionally multi-talented people like Leonardo Da Vinci and Thomas Alva Edison, both of who were home schooled.
He later wrote that the spirit of learning and creative thought were lost in strict rote learning.
While looking for resources to do this post I came across a post called Kill the Jack of All Trades, on somewhat similar lines as to what I wanted to talk about. Like him, we are writers, photographers, gardeners and much more. Not only does it help us utilize more of our brain, but also helps us to sustain ourselves.
More importantly being a master of one could be perhaps the most boring thing you can put yourself through.
A master or jack of all could help you turn anything you enjoy doing, into a revenue-making mechanism and free yourself from being a slave to the wage.
The Internet has given everyone equal opportunity, access to an ever-growing database of knowledge that you can use, in the end its only you who have to make the choice, believe in yourself and become the master of all.