“Be not of those who think perfection consists in undertaking many things, but of those who place it in doing well what little they do.
For it is much better to do little and do it well, than to undertake much and do it ill.”~St. Francis de Sales, An Introduction to the Devout Life, and also quoted in Cultivating Virtue: Self-Mastery with the Saints
Jack of All Trades, Master of None
Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Jack of all trades?” How about “Jack of all trades – master of none?”
The former is used as a compliment and the latter is often used as an insult to someone who tries to do many things, but doesn’t excel at any of them.
The truth is, most of us just aren’t wired to be good at everything. Many of us do one thing well, or a few things at most.
Saying No Does Not Make You More Holy
The problem is that we sometimes think that saying “yes” to everything, makes us more holy. How does mediocrity equal holiness?
As Catholics, how do we approach perfection, in a success-driven world, where everyone seems to be striving to be the best at everything?
Do One Thing Well
Why not focus on doing one thing well and offering it to God? Once you have perfected it, then perfect something else.
I’m not speaking of our daily, family and job duties. You have to do those regardless. I am not speaking of sloth.
However, there is no need to take on multiple projects at once, if you feel that you cannot handle it.
Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you must do many things, because God does not want mediocrity. Do one thing well.
If, you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the things you want to accomplish, take a step back and focus on the one thing that you think would be most beneficial to your spiritual life, work, or family. Do that one thing well.
You don’t have to say “yes” to everything. It’s okay to say no.
Perfection is not about being the best at everything. It’s about being the best that you can be, at what little you do. Do not accept projects because you don’t want to let anyone down.
For those of you who see yourself as renaissance men or women, you can still learn different things. However, if you feel overwhelmed, take that as a sign to stop taking on new projects. Master what you are already working on.
Today, as we go about our day, may we do all things diligently, even the smallest, for the glory of God, and may we learn how to do that one thing, really well.