Versatility can Kill you! and this is not even a heading.
Let’s do a quick run through history. Recently, I’ve been using the “b” word on history too much because I just realised it’s something that can’t be erased. Yeah, you can make amends but you can’t erase history. I digress.
Growing up, people told you to try your hands out at different things and see what you’re very good at. People liked it when you were good at sports, in church and also good in school. Then there was this Current Affairs book that was making the rounds in the country. Your parents would buy it for you and you’d spend the free time of your life reading “current affairs”. Isn’t it funny that they call the affair “current” yet you’d have to keep memorizing dates of things that happened long before your grandfather was born? Maybe we should have called it “Historical Affairs”. I near digress.
It was the in thing then. A kid who knows and can recite the whole states and capital of their country, tell you who the President of Kagawastan is or what the capital of Purukan is. All those things made sense, parents were proud of their kids for being up to date. They were even happier when the kid smashes academic records in school. “Ah! We’ve given birth to a genius”, the man says while on top of his wife. Reinvigorated by success, the wife screams “let’s make more babies”. “…Intelligent ones”, the man adds and then goes ahead to pummel. You see how families are made? Again, I digress.
You think this is prosaic. You haven’t seen nothing yet, I still have a bucket load of banality to serve up. Kids grow up thinking it’s cool to “Jack of all trades, Master of none”. Who says you need to be a master anyways, so long as you know the “current affairs” version of the subject matter, you’re good to go. All you need know is that Nigeria’s capital is Abuja, who gives a heck about the population density of Abuja. Slowly, we’ve denigrated into a generation of Robin Hoods. We indulge in wrong and pacify ourselves with the notion that we do so for the greater good. I nigh digress.
Don’t be everywhere and end up nowhere. Better a man who knows every single detail about Abuja including the ratio of beans lovers to rice lovers (if need be) and nothing else than a man who knows the capital of all the states and it ends there.
I’ve been involved in so many things. I read newspapers like mad while growing up, I’m supposed to be the guru, but I don’t fancy all that. I remember reading Angus Maciver’s First Aid in English while I was still a toddler (err, not literally) and I remember all that history about nothing. I remember thinking I was gon’ fly a plane after reading one newspaper article about pilots. I remember thinking I was gon’ be a neurosurgeon after reading Ben Carson’s Gifted hands, I remember wanting to be President after reading a Times Magazine exclusive on Bill Clinton. I remember wanting to be different things based on what I’ve read. I wasn’t helped by reading almost everything printed on paper. I don’t digress.
They tell you, now is the time to try out different things, they tell you, you’re young, you’ve got the time to try out whatever. But I keep asking the stars, if Bill Gates had tried out Software, Hardware, Lacrosse, Rugby, etc at a young age, would he have known what to devote his lifetime to? If I had spent all those years reading only newspaper articles about Aviation, read novels about aviation, only, would I have spent these latter years confused about what to do? No digress.
It’s good to be versatile, it’s good to know a bit of everything, especially if you wanna go for a general knowledge Millionaire gameshow, it’s good but truth is except you’re Christopher Langan, you may never know deep bits about everything.
Find a niche, find something. It may not make sense to you now, but devote all your energy into that one bit, get to know everything about it, be a master of it. You’d realise that all the other things become interconnected at the top echelon.
Versatility can kill you; if you start at the bottom. Versatility should begin from the top. Getting to the top is a lifetime singularity. I digress.