I had a friend named Clifford some years ago and I enjoyed his company because he was good at telling stories. On one occasion, he told me that he was the best in his class in the secondary school and actually had alphas in the West African School Certificate exams in the seventies. He was so good in arts and science subjects that he found it difficult to decide what to study in the university.
Eventually, he entered the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) Ile-Ife to study Mechanical Engineering. After the second year, he felt he had made a wrong choice of course. With his excellent scores in the arts subjects, he was able to migrate to the Faculty of Arts and led his class in the BA (English, Special Honours). He made Second Class Honours (Upper Division).
With his sound academic qualification, he was quickly offered employment by Shell, in the Personnel Department. According to him, there was nothing he lacked in Shell. He was given a very good salary with allowances, as well as a house and a car. After working for Shell for a few years, he resigned and got into the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to have time for further studies, according to him.
While at WAEC, he registered for MBA at the University of Lagos. The course opened his eyes to opportunities in business. Thereafter, he resigned from WAEC and established the business of buying and selling books at Yaba. We actually met for the first time when I sauntered into that bookshop to look for a book written by John Maxwell. When I realised that he passed through the “Great Ife”, my alma mater, we became friends immediately and he told me nearly everything about his life.
The next time I went there to pick up another book, someone else emerged as the owner and told me that Clifford had handed over the business to him. I was surprised and just phoned him immediately to know what had happened. He informed me that everything was all right but he had discovered his love for computers. He said he had secured a place at the Computer Village, Ikeja, and the business was exciting and profitable. He regretted spending some years at Ife and even working for Shell and WAEC. According to him, he should have studied Computer Engineering in the University and gone into computer business a long time ago.
Clifford is one of those people who are blessed with many abilities. They have the intelligence and capability to do many things and believe they can do everything. But the truth is that nobody was born to do everything. Nobody was created to solve all human problems.
Just think of some people who have become famous and you will realise that they focused on a specific area of service to humanity. Focusing and concentrating on a specific area makes you an expert or specialist. Think of people like Marie Curie, Chinua Achebe, Dr Myles Munroe, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and so on. These people concentrated on one or two gift areas to become successful. Even if you are multi-talented, you have to decide which talents to stir up to serve humanity.
God gives talents to people in different measures. Some people may have many talents and therefore capable of doing many things. When these gifts are not well managed, it can cause such people to be ineffective. In the attempt to use all their gifts, they fail to develop any of them to become successful. For such people, there is need to focus on specific gifts and develop them.
No one was created to be a “jack-of-all-trades and master of none”. Some gifts can cause distraction from your vision and you end up not excelling in any area. It is nearly impossible to distinguish yourself in many fields at the same time. However, some geniuses have tried to do so to a limited extent. You must decide to concentrate on related gifts to make an impact on society.
One of my friends used to quote from Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. But I always retort, “Yes, all things which Christ has asked you to do.” Those things God created you to do, He will surely give you the enablement and provide the resources to achieve them in order to fulfill the purpose of your creation. But for those things you took upon yourself to do, you are on your own.