Jack Of All Trades – Master Of None

By Mary H. Dyer | April 10, 2021
Image by can72
by Mary H. Dyer
April 10, 2021

Is it possible to master the art of gardening? For that matter, is it possible to master anything?

What does it mean to “master” something? In my mind, it means you know everything there is to know — that you are basically “perfect” at that particular skill. In that case, I don’t expect to ever “master” the art of gardening. 

Mastering Takes Time

I learn new things about gardening every year, and I continue to have spectacular failures and monumental goofs. In other words, I continue to learn the art of gardening day by day. 

When it comes to growing things, nature always throws in some new challenges to think about, and possibly to overcome — at least until the next weather event, pest, disease, or critter reminds me that I really haven’t mastered anything at all. All my farming friends and family understand this.

 Mother Nature won’t be mastered, and she will always knock you off your high horse if you start feeling too confident. Gardening is a humbling experience.

New Mountains To Climb

I have played the piano since I was six years old, and I feel I’ve achieved a certain level of proficiency. I’m happy at this level, which allows me to sight-read without too much trouble, and to share music at church and other events. 

However, I’ll never be a master pianist, not even close. I’ll never reach the level of prodigies like Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, Chick Correa, Thelonious Monk, or even Elton John. Those talented people probably don’t consider them masters on the level of Chopin, Rachmaninoff, or Beethoven. There are always new mountains to climb.

Google reveals varying opinions about what it takes to master any skill. Malcolm Gladwell wrote that mastery requires an average of 10,000 hours of practice. Others say it takes more, while some believe it requires much less. 

I don’t plan to become a master at gardening (although I am an official Master Gardener). I don’t expect to master anything, and that’s okay. It’s not about mastering the skill. It’s about learning, and most of all enjoying the process, no matter what you’re doing. 

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