Maybe, it’s an uphill battle.
In modern usage, dilettante has a negative meaning. People use it to refer to someone who ‘dabbles’ in different interests without developing deep expertise.
A jack of all trades, expert in none, so they say.
Maybe even a pretender. A poser who thinks they know more than they do.
Changing that negative perception is probably a fight I can’t win. But as a dilettante myself, I see it as a life full of possibilities and interesting things.
The word dilettante comes from the Italian word dilettare (Latin root delectare), which means ‘to delight’.
A dilettante is someone who delights in knowledge and learning.
What a wonderful trait! Someone who takes delight in all the things!
We have the gift of endless curiosity.
We like to cultivate a wide and varied range of interests, and there aren’t many topics we don’t find fascinating or projects we wouldn’t mind giving a go.
‘Learn macrame after attending a lecture on ancient Roman weaponry and before volunteering with a forest regeneration group? Sure, sign me up!‘
We’re not all meant to be a specialist.
And in a world that focuses on specialisation, it’s hard to remember that dilettantes have value too.
But we do.
About Mel, the Author
I’m not an expert.
Don’t get me wrong – I love experts. Expertise is awesome. I want an expert mechanic to fix my car. An expert doctor to fix my illnesses. An expert lawyer to fix…well, let’s hope I never need a lawyer.
I just don’t happen to be an expert myself. I’m competent in many things, and I’m ok with that.
I’ve done teaching, accountancy, real estate copywriting, administration, SEO, catering, and event planning, worked in retail and construction, drove a forklift, run my own business (two, in fact), and more. I’m sure I have two or three more careers left in me before I die. Plus many hobbies and interests to fill my ‘spare’ time.
What do I have to offer?
A space where we can explore being a dilettante without the pressure of a world that rewards specialists and doesn’t values jacks of all trades.
I’m not an expert.
This is a personal blog about what I have learned and continue to learn about juggling all the interests we Dilettantes have. Maybe you’ll find something I write helpful. I hope so.
If you, too, are a closet Dilettante in a world of specialists, someone who loves learning, is curious, passionate, and takes delight in all the things, then pull up a chair, grab a coffee, and welcome to the Dilettante Life.
About the Dilettante Life
Here I share how I juggle my many interests, personal project management, what I’ve learned about learning, knowledge management, and more.
You can follow the Dilettante Life on Facebook.