Jack of All Trades, Master of Many

Specialization is a fallacy

Famous Generalists

  • Leonardo da Vinci was a painter, sculptor, illustrator, industrial designer, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer as well as having his name given to the leader of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  • Benjamin Franklin was an author, printer, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat as well as having his dome on our biggest bill, Hundred Dollar Bills Y’all!
  • Tim Ferriss, a huge proponent of being a generalist, is an author, investor, world traveler, lifestyle design coach, breakdancer, fitness coach, and much more. He states the grand confusion of the word master is that most people assume perfection.
  • Ryan Holliday is an author, researcher, marketer, and media strategist. Here is an insight he’s given into doing more than one thing in life:

If you do one thing, you’d be very good at it. If you do two things, you feel really busy. If you do three or five things, you’re not that busy and they all help each other and make you better at them. It speeds the whole process of learning new skills and getting more done.

  • Lindsey Stirling is a musician, dancer, composer, singer, youtuber, fashion designer, and filmmaker. CLICK HERE to watch how she is a Master of Many.

Why Be a Jack of All Trades

  • Article: The Top 5 Reasons to Be a Jack of All Trades
  • Podcast: The Top 5 Reasons to Be a Jack of All Trades in audio form.

But The Truth is

We’re ALL good at multiple things. More than one thing. We’re all interested in many things. It’s not that the other people who’ve made it or are “known” for one thing are lucky- it’s not that they were blessed with this one interest and they never had to go through the struggle of picking something to pursue, it’s that they learned to focus.

They did not get good by doing things all at once. You didn’t get good by doing things all at once. No one gets good at anything by doing it all at once.

Learning isn’t a zero-sum activity.

Design and its component practices are like any other craft: you can always develop a deeper familiarity with the minutiae, asymptotically approaching mastery. But this is a process with diminishing returns. Would you rather carve a door 1% better than you did last year, or learn how to build the rest of the house in the same amount of time? As I argue below the cognitive tissue between these skills may actually be more valuable than incremental gains in a single practice.

I think if you have ability and talent in one way, you have it in all ways. I’m not a jack of all trades; I’m a master of many. I don’t feel there is anything I can’t do if I want to.

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Entrepreneur | Strategist | Connector

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Anthony Ambriz

Anthony Ambriz

Entrepreneur | Strategist | Connector

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