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The Jack Of Too Many Trades: Master Of Some

September 2nd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

                Part of the problem with pretending to deeply understand numerous and complex subject matter is that it detracts from your credibility. That is, people begin to wonder if you really know what you are talking about because it always seems as if you have all of the answers. This is not to say that one individual does not have the ability to speak intelligently on numerous topics because some people are very eclectic in what they know and very articulate in conveying it. Yet such a broadly scoped knowledge tends to have people casting a squinty eye that is accompanied by suspiciousness.

                In others words, if you pretend or attempt to hold deep expertise in too many fields of knowledge, people will likely begin to think of you as a ‘jack of too many trades – master of some’.

                How then does an individual avoid such a label and become known and respected as an knowledge expert? While I will not over-answer this question, following are a few quick and simple  numeric suggestions;

1. Listen closely to what people around you are saying.

2. Don’t feel the need to make all-encompassing proclamations about your idealistic and romantic notions of what human perfection ‘is’. 

3. Ask a reasonable amount of questions even if you are in the role of professing (perhaps preaching).

4. Understand the interactive importance of humility and mild self-deprecation.     

5. Know that is it just fine to say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I have no idea’.

6. Laugh if you feel like laughing.

                Hopefully the listed suggestions may help you steer clear of the jack of too many trades – master of some phenomenon. Who knows, maybe a few of the suggestions will save you from tackling projects that are outside the spectrum of your knowledge. And, as a result, your credibility will be enhanced and restored in the eyes of your peers while a very precious commodity is saved – time.

                Wouldn’t you love to work with someone who is going to save you time? I know I would I’d love to work with a person who loves to save time.

Matthew Polkinghorne

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