There is an old saying, “The Jack of All Trades, The Master of nothing.” A lot of people like this idea and live by it. I believe however that it’s incomplete. I believe the full statement goes “The Jack of All Trades, The Master of nothing, but the master of one is the true fool.” I believe this because if a person masters just one thing in life then what else are they good for?
Take for example a professional athlete who knows nothing else. What happens to that athlete once they get injured or get too old to play anymore? If they do not know anything else, then; how can they sustain an income to continue their lifestyle? The answer is that they usually go broke and lose everything because they never acquired skills that can be useful in their life besides athletics. If that athlete would have learned how to do comedy, they could have done comedy after retirement. If they would have learned how to write poems, they could have been a poet. If they learned how to run a business and be an entrepreneur, then they could have been a business owner or CEO. Whatever it is, acquiring more than one skill would have helped the athlete later in life after the sports were over.
I knew a business owner once who went to school for horticulture. He only knew horticulture and focused solely on horticulture. He did not learn anything about running a business or anything of the sort. Later in life after college years, he ran a plant shop and business was good for a while. This was only possible because he was the only flower shop in his little town. That town started to grow and eventually Home Depot came in. Home Depot ended up taking all his customers. Without inquiring the proper knowledge of business, that would have led him to compete against his competition, he instead went out of business and lost all of his money. To this day he still blames Home Depot for him going out of business instead of looking at himself and realizing that he shouldn’t have put all of his eggs in one basket.
These stories illustrate that only mastering one skill and not learning other trades is more of a hindrance than anything. Focusing on one skill alone is a greater risk to take than just knowing a moderate amount of everything. Therefore, I believe that the master of one is a fool and the jack of all trades is the real winner. I would advise everyone to learn many skills so that they can have a more secure life where they do not have to be unsuccessful if they cannot do the one skill that they mastered anymore. Like I always like to say, “Better safe than sorry.”