Looking for a bridge over troubled water? KRITHVI SHYAM, our young psychologist, addresses your worst anxieties

I am the quintessential jack of all trades and master of none. I have learnt many sports and arts out of interest but haven't mastered any. Looking back I feel like I have wasted my time and money and should have pursued just one. But my interests are many! Can any good come out of being Jack or should I just pick one and stick to it? - JACK

Dear Jack, I support this idea of developing existing interests before following new ones, for this reason: It saves you from socially awkward situations. You see, when someone advertises that they’re into sports/arts, society starts expecting to see some results: for example, musicians are turned into human jukeboxes (“You‘re learning the guitar? Play Stairway to Heaven for me no!”), and sportspersons are constantly asked about their performance in previous and future games.

So, pursue one sport/art and work on it first before heading to the others. You don’t have to be great at it; just reach a level of competency that will allow you to comfortably talk about (or demonstrate) your skills. It’s a lot better than having to embarrassedly mutter, “Yeah… I quit after 10 classes, so I don’t know much, but I can play Happy Birthday if you’d like!”.

It’s good to invest your time and money in learning new things, but you should make sure that the investment lets you reap returns through enjoyment and satisfaction. 

Of late, I have been dealing with a lot of specific mental problems. I read somewhere that they were problems faced by those born left-handed and forced to use the right. When I checked with my parents, they confirmed it - I was naturally left-handed but was forced to become right-handed. I know the psychological repercussions but afraid it might be too late to change things. What do I do? - DISORIENTED LEFTY

Dear DL, when you say you “read somewhere”, I’m assuming you mean “the internet”, because I can think of no other medium that would be swift to pin the cause of “mental problems” on people changing their handedness. Generations of lefties were forced to become “righties” because of societal pressures, and if that had resulted in any long-term psychological damage, we would know by now.

You don’t go into any detail about what these “mental problems” are. You also mention that they are a recent occurrence (“Of late…”), and not a long-term persistence. So I’m afraid the only advice I can offer is that you shouldn’t be drawing a cause-effect relationship between becoming right-handed and these problems.

If you find that they are interfering with your daily life, then you should take the help of a therapist to find out what the underlying causes to them are.

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