Mastery of the One Thing

Is it better to be pretty good at a lot of things, or truly master one thing?  Does it depend on whether you are a butterfly or a hammer?  As a butterfly, you can fly from one interest to the next. As a hammer, you get deeply passionate about one thing.  It seems like we value the hammers more, and maybe that’s why we all want to be VERY GOOD at one thing!  Hammers are easy to see.  Hammers get things done.  Hammers stand out in the crowd.  But what if we are more like a butterfly, and find we can’t sit still long enough to master something?  How do we find fulfillment in that?

I remember when I was first married, my husband would lovingly tease me that my interests hopped from one thing to the next. One day I was determined to crochet enough blankets for every baby shower I ever got invited to. I bought all the yard, bought patterns, learned the skill, and spent many nights in front of the TV perfecting my craft… for about a month. I did successfully make a few blankets, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  But, then I was done!  I was ready to tackle something new, without ever becoming the best crocheter in my county.

For a long time, I saw this as a weakness.  I desperately wanted to be so good at one thing that everyone I met would want to learn from me and ask me questions. I still have those feelings, but they are definitely balanced by my need to flutter around to new things and new skills.  Perhaps what butterflies can be the master at is being flexible and trying new things!