“A jack of all trades is a master of none.” This is a phrase that I am sure many are familiar with. This phrase is typically used in tandem with the concept of dabbling. It means that a person who dabbles in many different areas is unlikely to be able to become an expertise in any of the mentioned subjects. In a sense, the phrase isn’t wrong. It takes a considerable amount of time to become a master of something. A rule that is often associated with this is the “10,000 hours rule” coined by Malcolm Gladwell. This rule insinuates that it takes 10,000 hours (approximately one year) to master something. There have been many talks and debates on the validity of this statement, however, I do have my doubts. Many of my doubts stem from the fact that I don’t believe there is a significant harm in dabbling. I believe people have many hidden talents that become even harder to find when were expected to focus on one area of expertise.
Imagine my surprise when I find that the phrase quoted in the beginning of this post has been misrepresented. The phrase isn’t in it’s entirety. The full phrase is “a jack of all trades is a master of none, but often times better than a master of one”. The phrase in its entirety speaks more to what I believe in. I feel that there is benefit in getting a full range of where your talents lie. So how does one go about learning what their talents are in the first place?
This sounds rather simple, and it kind of is. There are things that I’ve grown to like (even love) that I wouldn’t have even known about if I hadn’t tried my hand at them. One of those things is the very subject that I have practically based my entire blog on; writing, creative writing to be exact. It wasn’t until I took a creative writing class during my senior year of undergrad that I really started to try my hand at creative writing. That wasn’t the only hidden talent (or trade) that I learned through dabbling. I learned that I enjoy and am slightly decent at animating, script writing, poems, knitting/ crocheting. I’m sure this process could work for others as well on the path to discovering hidden talents. That being said, it’s counter intuitive to overwhelm yourself in the search for the things or subjects that you might be talented in. This especially so if the dabbling becomes a financial burden. Avoiding these types of problems are to your own discretion based on whatever talent it is that you’re discovering. It was something that I had to learn as well. So how does one hone these talents?
Though I don’t necessarily agree with the concept of only focusing on mastering one thing, there still needs to be time and effort put into the talents that you discover. With anything that you truly want, time and effort are a necessity. You have to take the time to learn what it is that you are lacking or struggling with in regards to that particular talent. Then you have to make the effort to change it. This should be done for the talents that you want to grow; the talents that you’re more passionate about.
This all sounded simple and it is, to an extent. There is still an effort that needs to be made in discovering and honing your talents. I hope this is useful for someone.