Jack Of All Trades or Master Of One?

If you are the kind of person who is driven towards one and only one thing and if you can put your soul and energy into this one thing, then you are awesome. You are on your way to becoming one of the masters/specialists in your field, who possess in depth knowledge in a particular field.

Then there are folks who spend some of their time on "work" and some on "hobby". This hobby can be as silly as being a meme veteran to as complex as building a boring tunnel (Elon Musk). Over time, this one hobby may constantly change too - which is called as The Passing Cloud Hobby by the specialists.

Jack of All Trades or Master of One
Jack of All Trades or Master of One

What's that hobby? Have you considered turning that hobby into a profession? Did you ever spend most of your time on your hobby instead of your work that actually pays you? How long were you able to do that?

I code for money. That's the job that buys me food. I have other hobbies and recently I have been indulging more in my hobbies than in my work.I always wondered and dreamed how great it would have been to completely work on my hobby instead of coding some boring piece of Telecom Network domain module. It's not like I don't like coding, it's just that I wasn't spending all my time coding. I was distracted by my hobbies all the time. So I naturally thought that may be I am into the wrong profession or just wrong domain.

When I spent most of my time on my hobbies, something strange happened. I started craving to code more. I even craved to learn more about new technical topics. Suddenly, learning and coding sounded like the most fun activity I can do.

This is when I realized that if my hobby turns into a profession, my profession would definitely become a distracting hobby! It's not really about coding or hobby, it's just that I want some variety in my work. I was bored when I was working on only one thing for long. I also noticed that I get lot of things done in both work and hobby than if I focus just on work! I get in to this constant state of flow and I don't get bored as I get the best of both worlds - work and hobbies.

There are several people who are into multiple things. Variety is really the spice of these people's lives. They want to explore new things, they love that "high" they get when they are learning something new. It is said that being into many things leads to a diluted effort as your energy and time gets invested into multiple channels. But what we are forgetting is that we can apply the things we learned in one field in another. We can blend two trades and create our own unique niche. If specialists have that in depth knowledge in one field, these people have a wide breadth of knowledge in several disciplines.

For example, consider Elon Musk - Tesla created their own batch of batteries for their electric cars. This later was used as a solar backup in Solarcity. And solar panels of Solarcity is what powers Tesla charging stations. It's not just that, Elon is known to adapt several such things of one company in another - be it Tesla or SpaceX or Solarcity. Online yellow pages, online payment system, electric car manufacturing, solar panels, space exploration, ultra fast transport system - talk about variety!

Being a jack of many trades is what works for many people. This is what Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams has written about:

If you want something extraordinary, you have two paths: 

1. Become the best at one specific thing. 
2. Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things. 

The first strategy is difficult to the point of near impossibility. Few people will ever play in the NBA or make a platinum album. I don’t recommend anyone even try. 

The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonists could hope to understand without living it. 

Being a jack of all trades is not enough, you gotta be the best jack of few trades that can be put together and create a unique niche. That's how you probably become the Master of One unique niche!

What's your blend?


PS: If you are a jack of all trades and master of ONE, then, you, Sir/Ma'm, are a lethal combination!


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