You don’t have to be one thing, but you can’t be everything.

I remember sitting on the pavement by the garden in the house I grew up in, asking my aunty one short question “Why can’t I be everything?” I don’t remember the answer she gave me anymore but I remember exactly what I was thinking when I asked that question.

One of the very first concepts that confused me in life was the concept of what to be. I always wanted to be many things. As a child, I used to ask my mom to buy me a toy doctors’ kit so I could play pretend doctor. My relatives and friends of the family would say I talk and argue a lot so I should be a lawyer. When I was among my friends, I’d pretend to be on TV, hosting a show, being an important panelist or acting a movie. And I just wondered, why do I have to be one particular thing? Why can’t I be everything there is to be?

Growing up, I’ve come to understand that it is not physically possible to be everything. There are too many things to be and there just isn’t enough time. I can’t imagine spending 8 years to become a doctor, 8 years to become a lawyer, and many many more years trying to cover the over 12,000 other professions/careers that exist in the world today.

The great thing about this is that it’s not really about being everything there is to be. It’s more about being everything that you can and want to be. Don’t let anybody convince you that you have to be just one thing. While you can’t be everything, you sure as hell can be more than one, two or three things. You just need to do a few things to get on the right path.

  • Know yourself: Get to know yourself and understand what you really like or want. Figure out what you can’t live without doing. This will help you to focus on the things that you really want – the things that make you feel most fulfilled. It’s also okay to want to learn about many things or try your hands at them. After all, if you don’t do that, how will you know if you like it or want it? When you explore these interests, you learn stuff about yourself that you may not have known previously. You learn what you like and what you don’t. You’d learn what you never want to do and what you’d regret if you didn’t do.
  • Prioritize: You need to make time for the things you really want and do away with the ones you don’t. Free up some space in your life to make room for the things that are important to you. This will help you to not take on more than you can handle at every given time.
  • Ask for help: If you have a lot of things to do, chances are you cannot do everything alone. Make effort to delegate some things and ask people for help. You’d be surprised how willing people are to help, if only you’d ask.
  • Build mastery: Develop skills to become great at what you do. While you may not be a ‘boss’ at everything, building your skill and experience helps you to develop mastery at most. The goal is to be doing each of these things to the best of your ability and one of the important ways to get there is by doing them over and over again.

We can’t be everything because there are so many things to be, but it’s not about choosing one thing. It’s about doing the things that make you feel most fulfilled.

Even though some of my dreams have changed, I still haven’t outgrown that little girl who wants to be everything I can and want to be. I still want to be a published author. I still want to keep creating lifestyle and personal development content. I still want to write and make spectacular films. I still want to work in a company with smart people I can learn from because I totally love my job. And one day if I get the chance, I still want to be on the big screen speaking, hosting or acting. So yeah, I may not be able to do everything, but I sure don’t have to be one thing.

Here’s to being everything we can possibly be. 🥂🥂🥂


Tomi of Lagos.

6 thoughts on “You don’t have to be one thing, but you can’t be everything.

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