The phrase Jack of all trades comes from the figure of speech “A Jack of all trades, but a master of none.” The term itself is actually paradoxical. This blog will attempt to unpack what it means to be a modern Jack of all trades, and how you can become one to enrich your life, and search for happiness.
First thing’s first, what is a Jack of all trades? Historically, a Jack of all trades (let’s just call him/her Jack) did not originally have the negative connotation it has these days. Basically, when it first came into use it just meant “person who can do lots of stuff”. The negative connotation – the “master of none” part – was only added later and was even used to negatively portray William Shakespeare.
Not a lot of people realize this but the full Couplet is actually:
"A Jack of all trades, master of one,
But oftentimes better than master of one."
When the term was first used in the 1700s, a Jack was probably limited to the trades that he/she were competent in. These days, thanks to the beautiful creation that is the internet that allows me to write this very sentence, being a Jack is easier and far more extensive than ever. Jacks aren’t limited to a handful of trades they learn from friends. These days Jacks can learn to play a musical instrument, robotics, photography, entrepreneurship, programming, camping and hiking, electronics and art, and These don’t even scratch the surface of the opportunities that are out there.
But there’s still this lingering negative connotation about it. So let’s address this “master of none” business in a more modern context. A modern Jack (or Jane, but for consistency’s sake we’ll stick with Jack) spends all of free time learning new crafts and trades. In fact, he probably spends the majority of his life looking for new projects to take on. He becomes so good at taking on these projects, that it gets easier for every new project he adopts. And then he finds that every new project he picks up, he’s using knowledge that he gained from past projects.
A Jack, in his very nature, is a master. He is a master of learning, collecting knowledge and exploring his creative capabilities. This is why I say the figure of speech is paradoxical. A Jack is a master at being a Jack.
Keep following along to learn more about how to become a Jack and explore your creative mind.