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Jack of All Trades, Master of None: The Beauty in Experience

So often we hear the iconic quote “Jack of all trades is a master of none” but we somehow never hear the rest of it. The quote in its entirety is: “Jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one,” implying that this is an admirable trait rather than an insult. The first part of the quote has been circulated throughout society with a predominantly negative connotation. People are not aware that the whole mantra was coined from William Shakespeare, who described a “jack of all trades” as someone that worked in every aspect of theatrical production.

From influencing the stage set up and costumes, to trying to memorize lines and helping with directing, this “jack” was a key influencer in the success of the show! Though people may say that specializing in one area of expertise is a conventional path to success, I say that trying multiple things is the conventional path to self discovery, which ultimately leads to a pretty high success rate. How do you define success?

Throughout my entire life, I have often been warned by my peers of becoming this feared “master of none” and though it was against their efforts, I never really felt afraid of it. If anything, it felt like it was a calling. It was something that I was drawn to. And it’s a possibility that I feel you should welcome with open arms as well. The destination in life is the journey. You determine the path you want to take.

An essential lesson that I have learned throughout my lifetime is that growth comes with leaving your comfort zone. If we stay in our own little bubble forever, we won’t ever be exposed to the opportunities that life, outside of our original realm of focus, has to offer. I grew up wanting to try everything, despite the fear of failure and the fear of wasting time. Through these experiences, I was able to clearly define my strengths and weaknesses. Even if I found weakness in some aspects, that does not belittle their significance in my path. I am grateful I was able to sift through what I did and did not like, it helped me grow towards who I wanted to be; which is who I am now. By keeping my eyes and ears open to new opportunities, my confidence has only grown. Your weaknesses play a greater role in your strengths than you may think, and bringing curiosity to any task makes you better at doing it. 

Embrace your humanity. Embrace variety. Embrace the ability to try something for the first time, at least everyday. Whether that is leaving 20 minutes early and taking a new route to class or joining an organization that sparks an interest you may be too afraid to pursue, I urge you to step out of your own comfort zone and experience what you have always wanted to achieve. You don’t always have to be the master of one, trust the Jack of all trades every once in awhile.

Hello, my name is Isabella Johnson and I am a 2nd year Political Science major with a concentration in International Relations and a minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Courage has allowed me to take chances and to recognize that fear of failure can be paralyzing, but experiencing failure can be inspiring. I am not one to stay in my comfort zone. I have gained wisdom from listening to others and I recognized that different perspectives, if respected, can bring in the best ideas – from the most simple of tasks – to the most complex. This mindset has allowed me to connect with people from varying backgrounds to gain their friendship, respect, and trust.
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