Quickie

Quickie: The FULL “jack of all trades” quote

August 17, 2022

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You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Jack of all trades master of none.” And if you’re multi-passionate, you probably rolled your eyes.

Because often when you’ve heard that phase, it’s been used at those shade at you because you’re not able to choose one thing as a multi-passionate, and people may have said that to you as a sort of caution: “Hey, you don’t want to be a jack of all trades master of none.”

Right? Kind of feels like an insult.

Well, get ready for your perspective on all of that to change because that’s not the full quote. The full quote goes like this:

“Jack of all trades master of none, though often times better than master of one.”

This phrase was coined way back in the old English days, circa 1390.

Imagine a time when people lived in small townships, and there was one person for every job that needed to happen in that town. There was a cobbler, a carpenter, a milkmaid. You had these very simple roles that people filled.

If you moved to a new town, if you were traveling and looking to settle down with your family, and you arrived at a town that already had a cobbler, for example, and that was your only skill, you would be unemployable in that town and you would not be able to provide for your family.

It was actually more valuable to know how to do more than one thing.

If you were a cobbler, but also a carpenter, for example, you had a better chance of being hired and being able to care for your family. That’s the setting during which this phrase came to be.

So, although it’s cut in half and used as an insult, anytime you hear this moving forward, you can blow someone else’s mind by saying,

“Hey, actually that’s not the full phase. The full quote goes like this: Jack of all trades master of none, though often times better than master of one.”


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