Jamal of All Trades
“Jack of all trades, master of none.” That saying is often used to deride people into choosing a specialty. It comes with the assumption that mastery of something/anything is the only worthwhile goal that one could pursue. The modern western world has developed an overwhelming push toward specialization. Almost as soon as a child starts to develop a personality the pressure is on to find a prepackaged box that they will soon live their life in. “What do you want to be?” and later “What do you do?” are often the first and most common questions a person will hear in their life. It’s accepted that you should boil down your identity into a single profession or activity. I don’t believe that is even possible and it’s definitely not what I want for my life.
polymath -a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning.
Even as a young child my parents encouraged me to engage my interests by learning all that I can about them. I would dive into a subject by checking out all the books in the library or ,in the early day’s of the internet , clicking all the links on the web. The learning frenzy would last for a couple of months before I’d exhausted the new ideas or something else would catch my eye. While there are certainly a few areas of interest that keep coming up , throughout my life I have amassed a long and varied list of subjects that have enjoyed short periods of intense focus. Martial arts, Green building, Knitting, dog breeds, photography, Greek mythos, latin dance ,jewelry making , and countless others topics are all part of my body of knowledge.
I am a polymath. I have no interest in dedicating large chunks of my life to the pursuit of one or two activities. I love to learn and the world is full of fascinating things that I would like to know more about. I’m typically satisfied with being knowledgeable enough to hold a conversation about the topic. For the new skills I try I aim for proficiency and delve deeper if I’m having fun. If I don’t find an topic particularly enjoyable “decent / serviceable / adequate” is good enough for me. I chose to know a little about a lot over knowing a lot about a little. I’m constantly working on new projects to increase my knowledge.