Being a Jack of All Trades | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 26, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:46 AM, November 26, 2020

Being a Jack of All Trades

It's a euphoric feeling for me every time I can help someone in a field they are not well acquainted with. Be it illustrating a poster for my elder sister's university programme or putting in hours of time teaching a junior how to give better speeches during debates.

The delight I get from their gratitude is enough to make my entire day, and that drives me to put more effort into improving whatever skill I have a fair grasp on. This delight pushes me forward to new experiences and higher levels, which I previously thought I could never cope with. Yet, somehow I always end up losing that drive for a plethora of reasons and circumstances; becoming unable to break through the glass ceilings whether those are self-made or not.

I believe an explanation for this is how I, and many of us in society, applaud signs of an objective form of tangible utility, achievement, and success. A lot of us initially focus on aiming for the zenith of whatever we dedicate our time to and the moment we realise what reality actually beholds in front of us, we pull ourselves back and contemplate the choices we made. Whether that reality comes in form of systematic barriers we have to face, or just simply the notion that we are not "good enough" and that there are millions of people who can contribute substantially more in the same avenues of interests and skills we have.

This is when the frustration kicks in, and we begin questioning ourselves while sulking over all our shortcomings. And that further leads on to asking ourselves "What is our purpose?" Because, we are equipped with so many things to offer others, yet we get lost at a certain point because of the ambivalence that is intimated by these questions we think of.

Hence, we do one of three things in response to this. Firstly, we might become stubborn and put in even more effort in one field particularly until that becomes an integral part of our lives. Secondly, we might convince ourselves to stay content being the person who can occasionally help others in a number of tasks because of our knowledge regarding those. And lastly, we might take a step back and opt for another new path; to seek a fresh beginning and test ourselves.

I believe the first two responses, regardless of whether it ends with someone becoming satisfied or not, bring a certain conclusion a person can adapt and make peace with. Whereas, the last one necessarily continues this cycle of looking for our purpose by gaining fresh knowledge and experience. We should not call this bad, because when we go through this all so familiar process again it feels revitalising and we get this new urge to learn more. As a result, we create more room to fill our enthusiasm, and that can uplift us to keep on striving forward yet again.

Although at some point in our lives we will have to limit our diverse range of expertise and settle for a primary option to pursue; being a "know-it-all" or a "jack of all trades" until that point is not futile. Because, we will still continue to go on these adventures to seek that significant purpose, so we need an incentive that brings joy to us in the process. For me, that incentive is being able to see people reward me with their appreciation for even the smallest of chores. And these people will still need us with our slightly above average skill set, to pitch in to make their lives slightly easier.

The writer is a high school graduate from BAF Shaheen College, Dhaka.


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