“A Jack of all trade can be a master of none”
Priorities help a person stay in focus. Without clear priorities in life we can get lost spending time, energy and resources on other unimportant things that do not help us carry out our purpose and wish in life. As the saying goes, “A jack of all trade can be a master of none.” One might think that this statement is not important. But I have learned that to be quite true.
For several years, I wanted to be good at whatever I got my hands on. I grew up loving music and arts and developed a passion for it. I spent some time and a lot of money on that. Some years later, I lost the passion and decided to be a business person. So I went to a small business school to study retail store management. I also attended few business seminars. I went back home and tried different small-scale businesses like retail stores, public motor transport, screen printing and sign-writing, selling used clothes and poultry farming. I also cleared land planted cash crops like planted coffee, cocoa and vanilla and rice.
When I became a pastor, I struggled to take care of myself while ministering to my congregation. The struggles I faced in ministry forced me to do many things to survive. I drove trucks and cars and made some good money. I also did some basic computer repairs. I would stay up late at night solving computer problems, fixed old computers and felt like I wanted to be an IT. I sold laptops and computer peripherals. I did sign a lot of writing jobs after hours, I went into poultry business and raised chickens to sell, I also taught college students on part-time and full-time basis for a several years. Then came the desire to become a company owner so I registered a small business and went looking for opportunities for business with a mining exploration company which I never succeeded.
I was always praised by many people who know me for being a multi-talented guy. I could do a lot because of my experiences. Yet, as I look back, I wish I had set my priorities right and concentrated on one or two things which would have brought greater results than what I had acheived.
Maybe one reason is because I was always moving in life, I had to learn the basics of certain skills to deal with current situations in life. Yet, I regret that I was a jack of all trade and a master of none. I had a good practical experience about a lot of those things I had done, but I never mastered even one of them.
A few weeks ago, I was watching my 6-year-old daughter’s drawing on a blank sheet of paper and I suddenly remembered my past. I grew up with a passion for arts and showed early signs of becoming a promising artist in the future. People loved my drawings. I won a few art competitions in primary school. Over the years, I shifted my focus to other things and lost my concentration on my hobby. If I had concentrated on my artistic ability, I would be a great artist by now. I want to do it again but I feel it is too late. I have other important things to consider as priorities. If I were given back my past, I would set the right priorities and work hard to meet them.
Regardless of the regrets I have over my past, I still have some more years to live. Time is always on the move and does not wait on anyone; nor will it ever come back for anyone. With almost half of my life gone, I realize I have to set my priorities so that when I am old and my strength is gone, I will be satisfied that I have not not only accomplished some things in life but contributed something significant to the world.
Don’t let others dictate your priorities. Some people make other people’s problems and issues become their priorities. When you do that there is a danger that you will feel that you have to live to please other people. But the fact is you will never be able to please everyone.
You too can set your priorities so that you stay on focus to carry out your goals and purposes in life. Try to set a few priorities to focus on. If you set too many priorities, you will be divided and won’t have time to do everything. Life is short and you will never take back the time you have wasted. If you want to make good use of your time, setting priorities is a must.
Ask yourself simple questions to get you started in setting your priorities.
- What are some things in life you value more than others and would like to set your priorities on? (Brain storm them and list them down in order starting from the most important one).
- What are some goals or dreams in your life that you would like to focus on?
- What are some things that you spend too much time or resources on that you feel are not important to you?
- Is what I’m doing today a priority to me? How does this thing relate to my priorities?
- Write them down on a piece of paper and paste or pin it somewhere you can see everyday and be reminded.