For whatever reason, over the years, we didn’t retain the values of the Enlightenment and the Renaissance periods in America.
It’s a shame, because for a brief moment in time, we lived in the true spirit of what I assume people expect of this wacky, young country… the “anything is possible” mindset. Or, at least people were willing to buy into that sentiment, and celebrate a well-rounded suite of skills as an asset.
In those eras, possibility wasn’t just a philosophy meant for “other people” it was meant for everyone. It was taught in schools. It produced some of the greatest minds who produced some of the greatest works in history, and we benefit from them still today. Some of the spark lived on in the Information Age and Technological Revolution, but we lost a critical piece: Individual Skill Diversity. To me this loss is most devastating.
I was born with enough curiosity for twenty people. I consider myself lucky not to have been born a cat, or I’d be in my grave.
Anyway – due to my curiosity, I’ve always wanted to try everything. And I absolutely do that, even if it confuses everyone I meet in our society, which is generally afflicted with long-term memory loss about that splendid Renaissance.
As a result, I’ve been told by friends, family, teachers, strangers, bosses, fellow artists, and even advisors or role models I looked to for support: You need to pick one. You need to settle down. You can’t keep changing.
Is that so? I would rather die.
In fact, that sounds like the exact definition of laying down on my death bead. Being in a single spot, settling there, and ceasing to change.
To me, change equals learning, and learning means trying new things, and new things means variety, and variety lends more context and capability. CONTEXT AND CAPABILITY. These are things, when used together solve problems, like our friend the jackknife.
I resolved to be a jackknife…
I may not be the most perfectly crafted and exquisite tool of each type, but I’m versatile, ready to shift based on context, and I can safely travel to wherever I’m needed for problem solving.
Today, when people say… So you’re a Jack of all Trades, master of none… I say, “If you don’t mind, I prefer jackknife.”