Be a Jack of All Trades

Sometimes it’s good to be a jack of all trades. 

I know I wrote an entire article about not digging a bunch of shallow holes. So here is where I will argue with myself. 

There’s such a thing as “general education”. There are some who trash it and view general ed as a basic waste of time. I understand where that comes from. So much of our current education system has resulted in mountains of debt with no clear path forward for graduates. 

But general knowledge about the world around you is the only way to be a true citizen of the world. Students who can approach the world with a Socratic style of critical thinking and implementation based on their own experiences across broad subjects can keep us from treading the same faulty paths. 

Part of being a well-rounded human is knowing a little bit about a lot of things. It’s also how we insert joy and delight into our lives. It’s how we avoid burnout.

When we’re training ad writers, one of the things we teach is that you need to READ GOOD to WRITE GOOD. 

If you spend all your energy consuming business journals, news articles, and nonfiction blogs, and books about “10 Steps to Being Better Than Everyone You Know at Literally Everything”, you can’t possibly expect to write beautiful or whimsical human ads. 

When you sit down to write, your brain pulls from the catalog of phrases and words and reassembles them. If you don’t read good, you can’t write good. 

This is why so much business writing and so many ads sound like regurgitated bullshit. 

If you want to write beautiful things, you have to consume beautiful words. Become a connoisseur of poetry and well written fiction. It will put amazing words and phrases into your head and they’ll come out in your writing. 

You do need to focus your time and resources on becoming truly magnificent at something. But spending all waking hours doing that one thing is a recipe for burnout and staleness. It’s how you grow to hate the thing you loved. 

Carve out time to learn about things, get good at things, and explore things that have absolutely nothing to do with your primary purpose. 

Choose them carefully. Choose them only because they bring you joy. 

Spend your time on them. Let them fill you back up. Take that energy back to your main thing. 

That’s how you live fully.

Daniel Whittington – Chancellor