Human beings have a lot in common with a Swiss army knife! Both can do a lot of things relatively well without really being an expert at any one of those.In other words, just like the Swiss army knife, most of us are pretty good at being the Jack of all trades, but masters of none.
Robert Greene, in his book Mastery, wrote:
“The Future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways”.
In today’s times when at any given moment, so many things are pulling our attention, being a master of one seems counter-intuitive.
Who would you rather hire when you are starting a company?
Who would you rather have when you are stuck on an island?
Being the Jack of all trades does not mean being mediocre. You may not be a rock star at everything you do, but you can do things just well enough to never stress about what might come next. It means you are more likely to discover new, inventive and innovative ways of living.
A Multi-potentialite (as they are known otherwise) by virtue is curious about a lot of things. They have a lot of different interests. Therefore, they are more likely to synthesize two completely different things and bring it together. Elon Musk is a very famous example of this. He combined his knowledge about rockets and his business skills to create Space X, a company that has reduced the cost of taking payloads to space and may even transport people to Mars one day at a fraction of the original cost.
The more I learn, the faster I learn! The more I learn, the more I find that there is to learn. Is mastery ever achievable then? As a Jack, I often find myself learning new things all the time. My curiosity is never ending and as a result, I have become quite skilled at learning. This has indeed been more of a positive than a negative for me in this era of diversified roles, which allows my inner Jack to prosper! I am less likely to get bored easily and more likely to step out of my comfort zone and take on things that a master won’t.
We are trying so hard to balance our lives on a daily basis that being a polymath has become a necessity! Today, being good enough at our jobs is not enough. We need to be able to build trust, be compassionate, be able to take feedback, negotiate, work well in teams all along with giving time to our families and pursuing our passions outside of work. How do we intend to do all that without being a Jack?
Society is full of paradoxes. This being one of them. We ask our kids, what they want to be when they grow up, fully (or rather subconsciously) aware that they will be juggling multiple things at once. We want our kids to develop a well-rounded personality but on the other hand, we push them towards brilliance in one field. Being a Multi-potentialite means being super adaptable. You can put the kid in a room full of strangers and yet they will find ways to connect. They can be a sales rep and yet add more value by helping someone create videos because they know how to do it; because they are a Jack.
I like being Jack. Most of my idols are Jacks:
Elon Musk: Founder of multiple billion dollar companies known for his ability to transfer learning from one field to the other
Tim Ferris: Blogger, Brilliant marketing guru and Best Selling Author
Jessica Alba: Actress and CEO/Founder of The Honest Company
Shahrukh Khan: Actor and Businessman.
The CEO of the company you work for is a Jack.
Be like Jack. Your survival depends on it.