One Trick Pony or Jack of all Trades?


Some of you millennials may not have heard the term ‘One Trick Pony.’ For those who haven’t let me explain how it relates to people, places and things. It’s pretty simplistic in meaning that the pony has one trick. It is not good at any more than one thing, thus the phrase.


A lot of professionals in entertainment, business occupation or career slots suggest you pick a field and stay with it. They say you have to be passionate about your selection. Be persistent, unyielding, don’t let anybody move you off your spot. Keep moving toward your ultimate goal. Zero in on that particular skill set and enhance it to make you a well-rounded individual in your field of expertise.


Professions relied on calling in THE expert.  Whenever they needed to solve a burning question to finally implement a big project or solve a problem in their processes. They’d call for the big kahuna. And you better believe THE expert would come at a BIG expense.


This being a capitalistic country and a money driven society made everyone long to be that expert. Therefore, with the emphasis being on a talents expertise there was a rush to become THE expert in various fields. Yeah, go forth young man or woman, become a specialist.


That’s what business instructors, analysts, and prognosticators said as recently as a couple years ago. In most cases it worked yesteryear. Some are stuck in that mode today. Unfortunately they are giving you the old way of rising in your chosen field. That doesn’t work today. Whether you are aspiring to be a Singer, Actor, Doctor, Lawyer, or Politician, versatility is a must to become a star in any chosen field.     


Over the last few years, doctors were urged to become specialists in some type of medicine. That is supposed to make them experts in their particular field. Yet it hinders them by causing them to call in another specialist when they run into another organ issue that is connected to their operational body part. They try to have all the necessary surgeons in during the operation. Every now and then, they still have to call someone else to scrub in during an operation. Or if it’s beforehand they send you to another specialist in order to get another experts opinion.


Take a rapper for instance, who think that all they have to do is get a beat and a hook in the rap to create a number one hit. Keep in mind that their entire premise is based upon voicing the truth about what they supposedly have personally experienced in the hood. For those outside the rap game, the entire presentation all sounds the same. And that’s because it is the same. So people chase the dream of becoming a rapper for over twenty-five years and still are no closer than they were before their first release. A lot of rappers are attaining stardom for one hit record.  Then fading as fast as they arrived because there is no there…there.  If quietness is kept, it also happens to one hit singers.


How about an actor or actress? The two that comes to mind are Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. There is no typecasting these individual whose versatility is always on display to an audience. They are not one trick pony’s. When you think of them competing for various parts, they are two people that can play a couple of stationary bowling pins. As long as you gave them dialog and allow facial inflictions; case closed for considering anyone else for the part.


This also applies to our personal lives. On a personal note, I was a one trick pony. At the time, I had a dying need to please me and only me in every way imaginable. I wanted to be the best all talented, all rich, etc. etc. in the world. I wanted to be recognize as THE one and only. I was a walking neon sign that said look at me, for I am the one. The one of what didn’t matter, because I wanted to be THE One of it all. Maturity was realized and it dawned on me that whatever I tried to do, someone came before me and many were more accomplished at it than I. I had to drive out the conceit and begin to find my niche in life. My father words rang in my head, “Boy whatever you do, do it well.” I started taking his words to task. I became pretty good at most things. And boy did I get an education about life while becoming “A Jack of all Trades.”   


Even if you excel at one of the personal traits, self-satisfaction is secondary to shared success.  With maturity also comes the realization that all things worth having is even greater if share with someone. That goes double for sharing it with someone you love or even a group. Success is more special when sharing it with family, or a few close friends. That’s why you see so much jubilation when a sports team wins a championship. There is no substitution for looking in the eyes of someone you know is happy you reached a certain pinnacle. Keeping in mind that it is better to be good in several areas to become a superstar.


In the end when you look at the big picture, which would you rather be? Will you settled for being a home run hitter? Or would you like to be thought of as a complete ball player. When the managers on certain jobs come around with layoff pink slips?  Who normally gets to stay on the job? The expert or the person that can handle various duties as assigned.


And finally, as an Entrepreneur, wouldn’t you feel more comfortable with a working knowledge of your entire business investment? Otherwise, how would know if people you have placed in certain positions are able to handle all aspects of the job. How long would it take for you to see that one or more is faking it? Their intention is to get paid, for they can find another job. But how many times can you come up with the funds to invest in a business venture.  Now which would you rather be, a ‘One Trick Pony’ or ‘Jack of all Trades?’


Peace, yet stay vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,




Codis Hampton II                                                                                          


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In a continuing effort to publicize my book, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953, I will join LitFires Publishing exhibit at this year’s ALA (American Library Association in June) Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago. Go to for the full details. Meanwhile look for my fifth book to be published in early July. Thanks and see you in Chicago.


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