While flipping though The Peak, an interview with Jeffrey Seah, South-east Asia CEO of global brand communications group Starcom Mediavest caught my eye.

Jack of all Trades“My hope is that every Singaporean will be a jack of all trades and a master of 10. It is not easy to be an all-rounder, as everyone wants to excel in one particular field. Having this awareness and a positive reaction to such stimuli will be the true application of Darwinism. The marketing and communications industry in Singapore will benefit with such mindsets.”

What an interesting positive spin on an adage that could be perceived as a limiting statement and belief!

When someone has a multitude of interests and skills sets, they are often encouraged to focus so that they can master one or two of them. But there are some of us who simply enjoy learning new skills and acquiring new portfolios and hats.

Take for example, my publisher Kok Hwa from Candid Creation Publishing. 4 years after our first meeting, he is now an Action Learning Coach as well as a trainer with his own workshop ‘So You Want to Be an Author?’. The expansion and continuous mastery of new trades have opened up new opportunities and an exciting new world for him.

Singapore’s ‘Mother Teresa’, the late Teresa Hsu who passed on in 2011 aged 113 is another example. At aged 47, she enrolled and was accepted into a three- year nursing course in London meant for students under 25. At 67, she founded one of the first home for the aged sick in Singapore in the 1960s where she worked until she was 85 years old. She picked up yoga at the age of 69 and started teaching it to the young and old at temples, associations, hospitals and schools. Truly inspiring!

And there are many other examples.

The key operative word here is mastery. It is not simply a shallow interest or shallow application but a deep desire to delve as deep as possible, and apply the new skills to its best possible use whether for one’s personal development or the betterment of the world around us. An on-going attitude of curious and open learning not limited by age nor the naysayers surrounding us.

It makes life all the richer for ourselves, and those around us.