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windex's avatar

Is there anything wrong with me wanting to try everything but not stick to just one thing?

Asked by windex (2914 points ) October 2nd, 2010

(Jack of all trades, master of none)
I can not tell you how much I wish I could live a few hundred thousand years, and try to experience everything there is.
I want to try every profession, live as different people and try to experience the world the way they see it.

I’ve tried a bunch of sports, different jobs, and life styles and it’s not that I get bored necessarily. Or maybe I do, I just get over it. I want to tackle the next thing. Once I learn or get the gist, and kind of know that I could be really good if I tried, then I don’t want to do it anymore since it’s too easy.

I love nothing more than to learn and discover new things, just the satisfaction or experiencing a high from learning itself. Hope that doesn’t sound too dumb. Obviously there isn’t enough time to try everything, and by even attempting multiple life styles/professions etc. I knowingly put myself in a situation where I can’t really become good at just one thing. So I suffer for it.

Do I need to make sacrifices and just choose one path? Do I need to talk to a shrink? Anyone else feel this way?

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18 Answers

everephebe's avatar

Don’t worry about it. A love of learning will only make you better at, everything. Forget about trades and jacks and all that.

kess's avatar

I wish that you get the place that you know that you know all things and you can do anything you put your mind to.

This is the reality of each and every one of US

Neizvestnaya's avatar

As long as you don’t have others relying on you for anything you’ve committed to or are responsible for like children, spouse, whatever then you are lucky to do as you please.

AmWiser's avatar

Yep. That’s me jack of all trades, master of none. I have started so many projects in my lifetime it isn’t funny. It gets easier not to start projects as I get older because I don’t have the energy or the notion to start any many projects.

MissAnthrope's avatar

You and me both! My mom gives me loads of shit for this. I’m 33 and still don’t have a bachelor’s degree… because I rarely finish anything!

I love dabbling, trying new stuff out, learning how it works.. but then after that, I’m disinterested and move on. I swear I have at least two degrees’ worth of knowledge in my head, so it’s a bit of a shame I can’t focus myself. I just keep hoping these skills and smarts will eventually apply toward something constructive and practical.

tranquilsea's avatar

I think this is very common. I dive in to new things regularly. When I get to the point when I feel I’ve learned all I can I move on.

Multipotentiality is something that Leonardo da Vinci struggled with.

JilltheTooth's avatar

My Dad used to give me grief about changing jobs all the time and not having a specific career until I told him I was a “Skills Acquisition Engineer”. He stopped bugging me.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@tranquilsea – Thanks for that link! That sums me up pretty well. I pretty much had the same feeling (about the apathy, purposelessness, depression, etc. in intellectually-gifted people) and it’s nice to get some confirmation. I think it can be really hard being smart and, in my case, I do get depressed because I can’t figure out what I’m supposed to do, no one thing calls me more than any other, and I feel like all my talents are being wasted because I have no purpose.

I just have a lot of interests and I love exploring them all. As I’ve said recently, my fantasy life would be one where I was extremely wealthy and not for the material possessions, but simply for the fact that I wouldn’t have to work and could take all the classes I wanted!

tranquilsea's avatar

@MissAnthrope when I first started researching giftedness I was relieved when I found that this characteristic is not uncommon and actually makes a lot of sense.

I try to educate people who think it’s a problem. But once they get to know me they realize that things I know are very broad in scope. Makes me a great conversationalist lol.

marymaryquitecontrary's avatar

I think it could be a problem such as ADD or it could just be a sign of a curious mind. Which it is depends on such factors as whether you are enjoying the changes, or if it is keeping you from a career and keeping you from one thing that you actually love. If you’re sad that you can never focus on what you really want to do, then we slap on the label ADD. But if you’re happily skimming the world of the intellectual and practical, more power to you.

zophu's avatar

Specialization is beautiful, but heavily abused by civilized society. Instead of allowing one to “go further” than one could if they didn’t commit to any single field, careers generally have the primary purpose of containing a person, making them easy to allocate amongst the other countable resources like so many bags of grain. People try to justify this with over-glorified notions of “competition” and “choice,” but most “choose” their careers before they fully understand them, and “competition” is almost completely just a bunch of social posturing not directly related to actual contributions as far as I can tell.

A person’s brain, (and body if talking about physical specializations,) how it interacts with available information, (which is ideally thorough and intuitively provided,) defines one’s optimal specializations. There’s no need for competition or arbitrary choices; no need for discipline or devotion to any particular studies—just intuitive compatibility and genuine inspiration, (not just “passion.” it’s creepy, seeing people smile on the daily grind) Generalism is all that should be striven for; specialization should be organically developed, in education, work and social role. There’s no natural reason to force it.

The creative greats seem to me to have generally had unusual educations, especially in early childhood. It might not be so much “superior” genes and generically determined IQ that makes a person “great”. It might just be that some people, for one reason or another, are able to maintain a consistent wonder that is crushed/drained/distorted in the average person; as in it’s definitely that. We live in a world where we are bombarded from birth with influences designed, actively and passively, to contain us until we are little more than bundles of predictable conditioned responses by adulthood. Generalism is natural. If there were less fucked up humans around that would be more obvious, I think.

“Gifted?” Is that term still used? “Congratulations, student. We have determined that you have received the divine blessing that allows us to spend more resources on you than on the average student, who you would think needs more resources because they lack the divine blessing; but no, we’ll teach you why that isn’t the case. First lesson: here’s your medal, and a certificate from The President of the United States. I suggest you get it framed.” Bleh.

Marva's avatar

Unlike the common view, we are not all alike. Different things are right for different people.
You sound like you have a gift to enjoy many realms of our world. Don’t treat it as a fault, enjoy it.
You can never know where this path will lead you to for example watch this and you might still even find yourself keeping to one life style in the future.
Just do what feels good, enjoy it fully, and trust yourself to get to wherever, or whatever you need to be… :)

YARNLADY's avatar

Wrong according to whom? You do what works best for you and don’t concern yourself with the opinion of anyone else.

YoBob's avatar

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

-Robert A. Heinlein

augustlan's avatar

Holy crap. That is me. @tranquilsea Great link!

The only trouble with this situation, is that one must be able to earn a decent living. That’s a bit of a problem if you never stick to any one discipline. Maybe that’s why the area I ‘specialize’ in is administrative/accounting positions… I can do those jobs in a wide variety of industries, and have learned a lot about each along the way. As long as you can make enough money, and be happy with that, then I guess it’s not really a problem at all.

windex's avatar

Thanks all : )

wow @YoBob that was deep. +1 appreciation

Jeffinohio's avatar

I have only worked a job more than 5 years once in my life. I get to a point where I’ve done almost everything in that profession, reached a point where it no longer challenges me. When getting up to do it daily is the biggest challenge it offers, I become bored, and then change it.

This has not gone far to helping me establish long term security, and that’s the problem that is most concerning for me. I’m currently looking to go back to school for ANOTHER certification, so I can change it up, with hopes that it will help me establish some sense of long term security, and that feeling that this is my life’s calling.

Sometimes I wonder if this extends to relationships, but I haven’t seemed to perfect any of my relationships, simply put, there are some things I can only do so well. With my attitude, that doesn’t work, because I can fix or make anything better, life has taught me different though. Fixing or maintaining a relationship requires all a persons skills, I may just have more to learn.

To me, it’s almost a curse, as it seems I can’t stay the course. To me, that is a problem. Would you hire me knowing, that I will be the best, but won’t stay once I’ve attained that? But being a specialized drone doesn’t fit well in my life either, although, sometimes I just wish I could be like that other guy, who works at the same job for 30 years, or is married for 50, I kinda envy those folks.

choppersangel's avatar

Whoa, I’ve entered a world where I don’t feel like an outsider… Too many interests, too much thinking (often keeps me awake), so many things I find come not exactly easily – I may have to ‘work’ at it – and problems with supporting myself. My Husband calls himself an ‘Omninerd’ because of his wide ranging interests. I generally tell people I’m a writer and artist, which covers being interested in almost anything.

There can be nothing intrinsically ‘wrong’ in having a bright brain and an impatience to learn. The problems are clearly identified in the other answers, issues of boredom or inability to follow a career path. But, we – people with Omniskills – must be deeply useful in a human world heading for disaster… surely?

The ability to actually say ‘yes, I can do that’ in many circumstances is hugely useful. I think our wondrous Internet may well become the best place to play with these skills. Nanopayments for information and creative work; forums like these to share expertise or interest – the first time Humans can truly cross cultural and national boundaries to share knowledge, or discuss positive possibilities.

Look at us go!

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