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Jack of all Trades, A Master of 10

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.

Active Aging

Life is what you make it out to be.
Life is what you create it to be.
Life is looking out for and seizing the opportunities that come your way.
Life is persevering when it gets tough or challenging.
Life is going with and enjoying flow.

After her retrenchment 11 years ago, my mum devoted her time to her family and volunteer work. Yet there are so many hours in a day that I often felt that it must be “boring’ for her. Then two years ago, she signed up for training course at the Employment & Employability Institute (e2i) and soon found herself working for Universal Studios Singapore as an attraction host at the Return of the Mummy ride. It was not an easy journey returning to the workforce and I often tell her to work only if she enjoys it. She persevered.

On Sunday, I was chilling out with her at my grandma’s place and I started to read the Sunday Times. When I came to the Lifestyle page 6, I had a surprise. My mum is in it!

She had been interviewed as one of three persons who have carved out a second career late in life. The interview took place several weeks ago but she kept quiet about it to surprise us. I am so proud of her that I msged my dear friends to share about it.

She persevered in her training and give her best in her job. She may be the oldest in her team yet her energy level and enthusiasm is contagious.

A close friend shared with me that she is inspired by my mum’s example. I am too! And you bet, she will be a role model that I will cite to encourage my older clients that life can still be meaningful and enjoyable regardless of the age.