Jack of all trades, master of none…

Disclaimer: This is an opinionated post. It wasn’t written to impose ideologies but to create awareness especially if you’re a teenager, young adult or a parent with kids still in school.

I hardly regret anything in my 24 years of life. But if there was one thing that I could change, it would have to be taking the action of “searching for my passion and being less fickle minded earlier”. I’m writing this post in hope that it helps anyone who stumbles upon this.

The truth of the matter is, like most people, I want many things for myself. At one point in my life, I wanted to be good at guitar and at another, basketball. Those didn’t work out and I decided that I wanted to be a great corporate person. And at the same time I, too, wanted to be a great programmer. I’m sure you can guess how it all turned out.

Many times we hear the great success stories of those who are still in their teens or even early twenties. I admire them. I’m not even sure what made them that.

My life took a serious turn when I was 21. There I was a fourth-year engineering student in one of the best engineering universities in the U.S. My future was looking bright. My estimated first year basic pay hovers at USD 70 grand per annum. Guess what? One week before my final exams of my 2nd last semester before graduation, I was admitted to the hospital. From then on, it was downhill all the way, I had 3 major surgeries in total, 30+ emergency room visits, a couple of ICU stays all within that one year of 2010. Gosh, nothing I ate gets down and instead, it all came back up as fermented food + awful gastric juices. Well, to cut the long story short, I’m thankful that the drama has ended. I had to dropout of college and move back to Malaysia. I had my final surgery in Singapore and Professor Wong from SGH, saved my future.

I tell you this not to get your sympathy, but to share with you, what woke me up. I realize that life can be ridiculously short. It doesn’t matter if you think you have a bright future or if you’re a gym enthusiast , you can die, anytime, anywhere, doing anything. What I learned then, is that we should spend our lives doing things we love. I try to respect people who complains about their work and not do anything about it. If you can, try to do your first love and dedicate yourself to it. Be single minded. Don’t be greedy. You can’t have everything. Do yourself a favor, stop giving excuses. If you are focusing on more than 1 thing in life, you are doing too much.

When you do what you love, you’ll be amazed at how much satisfaction you derive from it. It’s not wrong to enjoy the finer things in life and many of my peers do. But for me, I don’t drink fancy coffee, drive fancy cars or take fancy vacations. But I’m happy. Because day in day out, I do what I love and I’m supercharged by it. When you learn to die to self, you actually start living. I’m positive though, that someday my effort will pay off. It’s not quantified by the money I earn but by the impact I make.

I believe that somehow, someway humans are extremely capable of change at breaking points. At desperate times, you often find epiphanies if you learn not to worry. So if we learn how to step out of our comfort zones for a long enough period, awesome things do happen!

It’s a long post to share one thing. To excel in life, you have to give up many things in order not to be jack of trades, master of none. And parents, don’t try to make your kid(s) good everything. Heck, don’t bother trying to make them love what they don’t.

Passion is a matter of the heart. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. – Steve Jobs

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