Jack Of All Trades

Greetings, fellow Netizens. I am excited to appear from an all new domain name (previously www.meetalvin.com). I also have a new e-mail address, hello@alvin.my. Remnants of my digital footprints bearing my former e-mail address is still floating around in digital space. I’m looking forward to getting to them, as I can then consider myself reborn into the realm of the Internet!

One thing I’ve learned to appreciate from migrating to a new domain (and also watching a whole lot of the TV series Billions) is how vast the entirety of knowledge actually is. I wouldn’t have understood one bit of this IT thingamajig if I had purely defined myself as a psychologist. Furthermore, I wouldn’t have understood references to pop culture and also the financial markets in that TV series. Side note: coincidentally, the financial markets has also been my interest as of late.

I’ve been on a binge with this TV show about law enforcement, politics, and the financial markets. (image source)

What makes a complete person?

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time digging deep into psychology. I’ve even made it my career. While I thoroughly enjoy it, it does not make a complete education of what it means to be a person.

For example, being a brand of psychologist that I align with would mean having skills not only in mental health, but also (among many others):

  • Public speaking and training
  • Group facilitation
  • Copywriting
  • Marketing (digital and conventional)
  • Web design
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Accounting
  • Stakeholders management
  • Networking
  • And many others (this list gets too long)

These skills come alongside the crucial need to develop skills in my personal life that makes me a balanced individual. This can include communication and relationship management, personal finance, spirituality, physical health, appreciation of the arts, philosophy, and leisure.

Depending on where you skew towards in your pursuit of life, there can be many more facets to improving oneself. However, does a person adequately embrace these developmental needs? Most people would hope that the education that they’ve gone through would address their learning needs to sustain their life. I find this to be far from the truth.

Case in point, the first time I had ever verbally presented in front of a crowd was in University. Education till then did not at all include any element of communicating information to a crowd. Had I just relied on what I was good at (at that point, it will be to read, memorize, and regurgitate information), I would be a wholly different person now. And in my opinion, I would be a much more incomplete person.

Safe and sound

I have noticed that a bubble takes shape around a person once working experience starts to accumulate. If a person is a psychologist, that is all there is about the person. If a person is an architect, then that is all there is about the person.

There is a kind of uni-dimensionality that happens to a person with more time spent in an industry. Understandably so, as being good at something provides a whole load of reinforcement. Being competent means having social validation. Being competent also means that a person no longer have to make mistakes. And to a great extent, that is soothing and safe.

There’s big hype surrounding Industry 4.0. Are we ready? (image source)

With safety and validation also comes a great downside. Is being too niche into our skill-set allowing us to thrive (or let alone survive) in the 4th Industrial Revolution? Disruption to industries and the way we live/ work happens at breakneck speed. One day, my industry is booming. The next day, I could be out of work.

Calm seas never made a skilled sailor

In my view, going through life’s education in a holistic manner equips a person to sail through these stormy uncertainties. This journey would require me to stretch beyond skills that I’m good at to skills that I am a doofus in. It may even seem disconnected at times. Strangely, I find that oftentimes it is entirely related, especially when opportunity presents itself.

You and I know of this saying that goes “A jack of all trades, master of none”. I was surprised to learn recently that the complete version of this is:

“A jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one”.