“You cannot be anything if you want to be everything.” — Solomon Schechter

Janki Shastri
3 min readAug 3, 2023

Hey folks !!!

Just came across this line and read it about many times to grasp the essence.So apt for today morning read-feed. Point to ponder for the day .

Now if i understand rightly, In a world that constantly promotes limitless possibilities and endless potential, it can be difficult to accept the notion that we cannot be everything we desire. The idea that we can achieve anything if we put our minds to it has been ingrained in us from a young age, encouraging us to dream big and reach for the stars. However, the reality is far more complex, and the pursuit of being everything ultimately leads to a path of disappointment and failure.

When we think about being “everything,” we often envision a jack-of-all-trades type of person, someone who excels at multiple disciplines and possesses a wide range of skills. We imagine ourselves as Renaissance men or women, who can effortlessly navigate through various domains and conquer any challenge that comes our way. While this idea may sound appealing on the surface, it fails to acknowledge the inherent limitations of being human.

We are bound by the constraints of time, energy, and resources, which means that we must prioritize and make choices about where to invest our efforts. When we try to be everything, we stretch ourselves thin, spreading our focus and attention across multiple areas. As a result, we become mediocre at best, unable to excel in any particular field. This dilution of our abilities hinders our progress and prevents us from truly mastering any one discipline.

Moreover, the pursuit of being everything often stems from a fear of missing out or a desire for validation and recognition. We may believe that by being well-versed in numerous fields, we increase our chances of finding success or gaining the approval of others. However, this mentality is flawed because it fails to recognize that true fulfillment comes from pursuing our passions and developing deep expertise in areas that truly resonate with us.

In his book “Essentialism,” Greg McKeown highlights the importance of focusing on what truly matters. By delving deep into our interests and selecting a few key areas to pursue, we can achieve a level of mastery and fulfillment that is unattainable when we try to be everything. Instead of spreading ourselves thin, we can invest our time and energy into a select few endeavors, allowing us to cultivate expertise and make a meaningful impact.

Additionally, the pursuit of being everything can lead to a constant state of comparison and dissatisfaction. As we constantly strive to be the best in every domain, we measure our success against others, fueling a never-ending cycle of self-doubt and anxiety. This relentless pursuit of perfection becomes exhausting and counterproductive, as it robs us of the joy and satisfaction that come from focusing on our own progress and growth.

The reality is that we are complex, multidimensional beings with unique strengths and interests. Rather than trying to be everything, we should embrace our individuality and pursue excellence in the areas that truly resonate with us. By acknowledging our limits and focusing on what truly matters, we can achieve a sense of purpose and fulfillment that is far more meaningful than trying to be everything.

In conclusion, the notion that we can be anything if we want to be everything is a fallacy that fails to acknowledge the inherent limitations of being human. We must accept that we cannot excel in every field and that true fulfillment comes from focusing on our passions and developing expertise in select areas. By letting go of the desire to be everything and embracing our unique strengths, we can find purpose and fulfillment in pursuing what truly matters to us.

So friends, with a goodbye note I leave you to this soul-searching spot. I too sit beside you all here and take my journey to the self-analysis lane. Let’s meet again for another U-turn towards a new cognitive avenue.

Aloha!

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Janki Shastri

A writer, a poet, a translator/interpreter , a maverick, sharing my heart out , my expression in words.