I came to the realization the other day that at the age of 27, I’ve yet to come to terms on what I’m going to be when I “grow up.”
My list still currently stands at heart surgeon, fighter jet pilot, history professor, MotoGP racer, pastry chef, Formula 1 driver, screenplay writer, foreign service officer (diplomat or clandestine services), and business tycoon. None of these are for the faint of heart and all probably require a lifetime to master, yet in my mind’s eye I still see them all as options for me. Not one..but ALL.
How is it possible to feel like you have so many life callings and at any moment to feel so passionately about them all? Or maybe the better question is why? Is it an evolutionary remnant or just an enlightened, ambitious form of ADHD? I think what it comes down to is that as we grow and develop, we have experiences and exposures that are impactful. The complex and archival nature of the brain processes these experiences into subconscious cognitive thought that progressively elaborates into eclectic passions. This, however, creates an escalating state of tension as we go through life because we have all these competing motivations but have been socialized to believe that each of us has one purpose, one calling, or one career and so we must choose just one. Maybe “one” is the right choice for most people, but I’m starting to explore the idea of multiple purposes and multiple careers achieved through “multiple lives.”
My wonderful mother used to always use a term to refer to people with no focus and no real skill of any consequence as “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Actually I think she might have sensed my wandering mind and used the term as a type of foreboding warning to me. Regardless, I believe society and history (even biblical) has shown that the great men (and women) that created major societal progress and achieved greatness, have been, in fact, jacks of all trades. What I’ve observed though is that the ability and opportunity to dabble in these “multiple trades” came first through their mastering and excelling in one initial endeavor. They all mastered something. This is the case from the Great Industrialists to Howard Hughes to the modern innovators and titans of industry. They were what I would call: Jack of All Trades, Master of One (or two). These were the people that found a way to resolve the inherent tension and pursued their various passions unencumbered. This I believe is a blue print to greatness and more importantly a way to resolve my angst and find balance between the day to day pursuit/grind of mastering and excelling in a particular trade and the dreams and desires of many alternate possibilities.
Onwards and Upwards.