For many years, I have fancied myself as a “Jack of all trades, and a master of none.” No, I am not talking about handy man work, as I surely do not know my way around a hammer. I am speaking about my working career, my profession.
I work with computers, specifically in software programming, but that is not where I got my start. Since I didn’t get my start in working with computers, I always felt like I had to catch up to people my age that were “ahead” of me. I felt like I had to learn everything I could, getting exposure to everything possible, so I could fit in when various topics came up. I didn’t focus on any one thing, I was trying to learn everything. But then something changed…
As I began to read more books on business and success, I started to see a common theme. These books were telling me to not try to be decent at everything, just try to be the best at one thing. Take one thing and do it better than anyone else. Make it your obsession and be the greatest at that one thing. That was a completely different mindset. I hadn’t thought about it that way. I thought I had to know a little bit about everything, so I focused on a wide range of things, never getting too deep in any one area. But these books about success were telling me something completely different. But what really helped me understand this was something Bruce Lee said.
That’s Right…Bruce Lee
It is crazy to think that Bruce Lee, the famous fighter, could teach me anything about business and success, but he truly did. I always saw him as Bruce Lee the fighter, not Bruce Lee the philosopher. Here is what he said that really opened my eyes,
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
This is incredibly insightful. I never realized how philosophical he actually was. Just writing this now has reminded me that I need to read his autobiography. Be right back..I am adding it to my reading list. Okay, I’m back…
What Bruce Lee said makes perfect sense. If we do 10,000 things one time, we won’t do any of those things as an expert. But if we do one thing 10,000 times, we will be an expert at that one thing. He wasn’t fearful of the guy who practiced 10,000 kicks once, because neither kick would be that threatening. But a man who practiced one kick 10,000 times is an expert at that one kick and can do some real damage with that kick. That is the guy you have to look out for…and that’s the guy or gal you can become!!!
Great success comes to those who focus on one, maybe two things, and do them better than anyone else. Instead of trying to be that Jack of all trades, we need to pick one thing and become the best at it. Dive deep into it. Learn things about it that others gloss over. Know this one thing like the back of your hand. By focusing on that one thing and being the greatest at that, you are like the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. Your skill in this one area will shine above all others and you will stand out. People have changed the world by becoming the best at one thing. Maybe you don’t need to change the world, but you can improve your odds of success simply by focusing your efforts on one thing and being the best at that. And it is never too late to start.
If you are a Jack of all trades like I use to be, I beg you to reconsider. Try to find one thing that you can learn to do better than anyone else and focus all of your energy there. Sure, you can spend a little bit of time on some minor learning, but focus on one major thing and make that your primary focus of learning. By becoming the best at something, you will stand out. And if you stand out above all others at your one thing, you can make a big impact!!!