If you asked me what I thought the meaning of life was, I would not be hesitant in giving you an answer. I firmly believe we humans find ourselves on this planet – in this universe, even – because we need to learn, as individuals, as much about it as we possibly can. The universe is infinitely vast, and it would be impossible to know everything there is to know about it in one lifetime, but even so, we can try. You, who are reading this, are so lucky to be here. One bat of a butterfly’s wings and you may never have been born. Or you may have been born somewhere without access to a computer, without access to good food and sufficient shelter.
I am not without my flaws. Far from it. I know I can be messy, I can be stubborn and downright obnoxious when I believe I am right. But when people get to know me, they are always a little surprised at just how many pies I have my fingers in. There are more pies than fingers. I do a LOT of things, and I do them well. I act, write, sing, do photography, draw, do web design, I blog and I play the piano and the guitar. I can belly dance, I can cook and I am good at solving puzzles and problems. I can make videos, compose songs, write poems and short stories. I paint and make jewellery, I do card tricks and I’m something of an expert when it comes to the internet and social media.
“You’re so talented,” people say. And while it is true that some talents, such as singing and acting, are ones I was born with, I have also worked spectacularly hard to know all the things I know, and do everything I do.
So how does one become “good at everything”?
1. Assume you are good at everything
First of all, you need to realize you will never be able to do a variety of things if you tell yourself that you cannot. “I can’t” is a phrase which instantly kills ambition, creativity and success. Nobody is ever going to hand you anything on a silver platter and so “I can’t” is not conducive to your success. Assume, instead, that you can do absolutely ANYTHING you set your mind to. Want to learn to make soufflé? Wonderful – you can do it. Need to learn how to solve complex algebraic equations? No problem! Want to teach yourself to play guitar? People have done it before you, so you certainly can, too. Go into any activity convinced that this is something that you can absolutely do. No question.
2. Be insatiable
Yes, we all get lazy sometimes and we have days where all we want to do it lie in bed and watch telly. And that’s just fine as long as it does not become the norm. Because to be good at everything, you have to be interested in everything. You need to be fascinated with everything, like a child, and you have to crave knowledge. You need to be reading constantly, watching tutorials, asking friends, taking classes. You need to have a love for life and all the things it affords. And when you find something you want to master, you need to be able to immerse yourself in it, almost obsessively. I went through three months at the beginning of this year where everything I did was about magic. I ate, breathed, slept, dreamt magic. I took a pack of cards everywhere I want. I practiced my shuffles on the bus and in my lunch break. I performed tricks on anyone and everyone who would let me. It was all I spoke about. As a result, I can now do some pretty amazing shuffles and baffle my friends with card effects at parties.
3. Know your limits
I can do a lot of things well. There are also things I cannot do so well. I know not because I assume this but because I have tried them. I played basketball for two years – not very well. I played tennis for a while but was not all that good at it. I started taking private lessons in physics a few years ago but as much as I love theoretical physics, I just cannot wrap my head around the mathematics involved in applied physics. This does not make me a failure – it makes me human. I know where my limits are but I choose not to dwell on them – instead, I play up my positives; work harder to become even better at the things I CAN do.
4. Don’t be afraid to talk about your skills
You have worked hard to be able to do what you can do. You have earned the right to talk about your strengths and skills. Just don’t be a douchebag about it. Nobody likes to hear people bragging, and don’t assume for one moment that just because you have a number of skills that you are superior to anybody else. Everyone is different and everybody has their niche. We are all equally valuable.