Something deep in my genetic makeup compels me to be a generalist rather than a specialist; a jack-of-all-trades … and a master of none. That latter quip used to annoy me, a stick for my inner voices to beat me with.
But what could I do about it? The process was (and is) always the same. I take an interest in acquiring a new skill — speaking Italian, figuring out PHP, catching up with the latest SEO techniques, creating Flash animations, writing novels, lifting weights … etc. At first, I take to the new skill with aplomb and gusto, astonishing myself and others at my ability to learn rapidly. I move from beginner to intermediate level in no time.
But that’s as far as I get. I never get beyond intermediate level.
Like I said, my personality prevents it. When the rapid learning phase is over, I get bored. I itch for a new challenge. Persisting with the previous challenge may eventually make me an expert but with diminishing returns: on a day-to-day basis, my improvement is so minor, that I stop enjoying it. In fact, I start hating it.
For much of my life, this had been a curse. In the Internet Age, however, I believe my ever-a-generalist, never-a-specialist personality is a blessing. There are two reasons for this:
- a) I’m working in a fast-changing marketing environment, where rapid learning is the most important skill of all. SEO, SMM, ASO – the shorter the professions the more knowledge and experience they demand. Few marketing companies fully understand the importance of being at the frontier of the latest techniques, methods and trends. That I clearly realized after contacting PromotionStep agency. But that is a totally different story.
b) Our networked world allows me to rapidly find and employ extra knowledge as required, to help me complete the project at hand. The only self-driven ability one needs to possess is natural curiosity and need to move on.
It seems I am not the only person who realises that Renaissance Men are making a comeback:
On his blog, Tim Ferris lists The Top 5 Reasons to Be a Jack of All Trades.
As I was thinking over this post, I learned something that put a smile on my face, about that “master of none” quip I used to beat myself up about. Here’s that saying in full:
Jack of all trades, master of none, though oft times better than master of one!