Revel in Being a Master of Integration
I found this pic of a small piece of cloth I once painted, and got a craving for painting some abstracts.
Blue Painted Cloth
This is how it works for me: I follow my cravings, and use the appropriate skills I already have, or experiment with new ones, in order to satisfy them. I do not consider it a problem to have a large menu of skills and techniques at my disposal. It just takes a while to work my way through practicing them all. There are people who employ the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none,” and believe they must concentrate on one thing, and one thing only, lest they “spread themselves too thin.” That’s like saying you can only love one person properly, instead of realizing that love is big enough to embrace the world.
Wikipedia has an excellent take on the phrase:
The earliest recorded versions of the phrase do not contain the second part [master of none]. Indeed they are broadly positive in tone. Such a Jack of all trades may be a master of integration, as such an individual knows enough from many learned trades and skills to be able to bring their disciplines together in a practical manner. This person is a generalist rather than a specialist. A person who is exceptional in many disciplines is known as a polymath or a “Renaissance man”; a typical example is Leonardo da Vinci. The phrase became increasingly cynical in connotation during the 20th century.
Let’s throw away the cynicism, shall we, and enjoy every skill we have a hankering to put our hand to. I revel in being a master of integration. It is thrilling to combine a whole set of skills in a single piece, and have that heady sense of everything coming together. The whole is then, indeed, greater than the sum of its parts (Aristotle).