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September 2016

multipotentialite
fair & ethical

why decide?

I’ve stumbled across a post for a while that just wouldn’t get out of my head. It is rare that an article, a story stays with me when I shut down the computer or close the book. This time, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. During the entire day and even days after I was always thinking: “This is so me”!

I am a multipotentialite! Yes, you heard right. Some of you now might think: “What are you?” Well, I never heard of this word before either. Maybe it is because I am not a native English speaker and there is no literal translation for it into German. But I also never saw it as a thing to declare, to be honest.

My spectrum of interests is annoyingly wide. I love numbers, finance, and economics, but I also love writing, photography, and design. Since I can remember I always did things differently. When there was an option to go another way, I did it. A little bit special, weird, and standing a bit out of the crowd – that’s me, nothing to be put in a box.

After reading lovely Portia’s blog post about “What It Means to Be a Multipotentialite”, I researched quite a bit about it. It sounded exactly like me and I was glad that she wants to continue that path on pursuing her multiple interests and not trying to put herself into a box. (Have a look at my link collection at the end of this post, everything you need or want to know about multipotentiality).

First of all, this thing we are talking about here is defined like this:
Multipotentiality is an educational and psychological term referring to the ability and preference of a person, particularly one of strong intellectual or artistic curiosity, to excel in two or more different fields. [wikipedia]

So if you find yourself with more than one of these characteristics, you might wanna thing about multipotentiality:

  • your spectrum of interests is wide and in areas on the opposite side of the scale (such as economics and art)
  • diving into one topic is fun for a while but you get bored easily by it
  • you are always eager to learn more and could never just think about doing one task forever
  • being interested in a lot of stuff is superb, but you also are kind of good in a lot of tasks

But after reading posts, comments and articles about multipotentiality I was surprised by finding a lot of negative words and criticism. Because, multipotentialites do not have a niche, whereas the market is asking for specialists. It is referred to as a curse or a problem that is affecting daily life, … and so on.

I just don’t agree with that. For me, having multiple interests is a blessing. Of course, I have to keep myself busy so that I can keep up with my multi-interested brain. But that’s okay. Studying at university, working a part time job at a drugstore, being a freelance journalist and writing blog posts and making pictures…well, there is no time to get bored.

Whenever I talk to people about work or hobbies, they always seem to enjoy just one part of it. New or different experiences make them uncomfortable, uninspired or just say: “I hate dealing with that”. For me, every task is something interesting. I am always happy when I realize how much I can learn from that new task, how high I can thrive because of that. Other people like to have a routine, I never did. So what?

This “diagnosis” is just another name for my crazy, weird, special personality. I never thought of just doing that one job. Somehow I managed to combine two very opposite passions of mine in one: Economics journalist. So I write about the thing I love and do the thing I love, writing. Not everyone might get that lucky. But even these two are not enough for my brain. Writing stories is another passion of mine, just as photography, designing and creating something new from scratch. That’s what this blog is for.

Yes, the economy is asking for specialists at the moment. Expert freelancers are becoming a bigger deal every day. But being a multipotentialite does not only apply to your work environment. It is who you are, in every aspect of your life. It might take you longer to finish that degree, you might even finish two. But as long as you keep doing everything you want – writing that horror story you always wanted, learn how to do calligraphy or invest in the stock market – you will never get bored.

And if you ever feel bad, because you feel alone with this multipotentialism, come back to this quote from Steve Jobs:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” Steve Jobs, Wired, February, 1995

So being multipotential is not a bad thing after all apparently. But somehow the market, economy, and allegedly successful people told us that we need to be an expert in something. I believe that we have an advantage actually. We love learning, we love to achieve something, we love different things, we know different things and we are able to connect a lot of different ideas that other people can’t. I am not saying that you might become the next Steve Jobs (if you are, lucky you!), but if you just accept the fact that you are multipotential and feed those interests of yours, then you will thrive.

Interesting links about multipotentiality:

signatures

writer's block
mindfulness

that blank page

Every Sunday I sit down at my desk with a cup of hot tea, full of motivation to put those words on a blank page, filling it with my imagination and ideas, bringing it to life. I declared Sunday as my writing day since here in Germany everything is closed and you are basically chained to your flat. Almost all the time I really look forward to that specific time. Me holding a cup of tea, thinking about the story I want to tell. It is me time. Just myself and my blank page.

I love writing. Since I was a kid I always wanted to tell stories, write them down and read them to everyone I knew. Letters, postcards,… you name it. So keeping up my motivation is almost never an issue. But every now and then I am holding my cup of tea and am staring at the screen and with an empty brain. No story seems to be finding its way into my head, no imagination. Nothing.

It was a rainy day this particular Sunday. For me the perfect atmosphere to be writing in. It just has this certain vibe for me, kind of melancholic, a little bit dramatic sometimes. Just perfect. But this Sunday I was just staring at this blank page and this annoying little flashing vertical line. You know, this thing telling you where you are on the screen. It was almost mocking me with its flashing rhythm.

“Imagination and inspiration is a tricky thing. Without it, you might as well be the most motivated person on earth, but no sentence will come out of your fingers.”Annika, the lieselotte

For me, this kind of situation is especially annoying. Working full time, finding a moment to write is rare. Even though Sunday is my declared writing day, life just gets in the way sometimes. I have a social life too, you know. Writing might be a very lonely activity, but that’s the reason why a social life is so important. And friends tell the best stories to get inspired by. But having the time for writing and then be without any inspiration sucks.

So what should I do in this situation? Just stop writing? Yes, well, that is always an option. But it will get me nowhere. My project will never be finished, no one will ever read my story and I still believe it is a story that needs to be written down and read by masses. (Just kidding, I don’t really believe that my story is that good, but who knows.) Giving up is never an option, especially not in writing. I believe having the urge to give up is just part of writing in general. Suffering always tells good stories.

Last Sunday I turned to Google and asked how you get rid of writer’s block. Yeah, well, several articles popped up. All of them told the same story. But honestly, there are no standard solutions to this particular problem. For some – hopefully, never me – a writer’s block will last forever. I am not saying that last Sunday was a full-on writer’s block, but it was a little one.

After asking Google what to do, without finding a solution to my problem, I turned back to my blank page and that annoying little vertical line. I swear, sometimes I can even hear it laughing loudly. You know, with this diabolic laugh. Only starting writing will make it stop. But I just couldn’t. My mind was blank, nothing was in it.

After just shutting down the computer I turned on the TV and tried to relax a little bit. The world is not in danger because I am not writing, is it? My mind was not really focusing on what was going on in that show I was watching (writing this I still can’t remember what I was watching back then). During this time, the idea of this blog post came along. Describing my pain, my suffering of that stupid blank page. And just because I love everyone who reads my blog so much, (which so far are just a handful of people, but I am so thrilled to have you here) I am telling you what I did that day to overcome that annoying little flashing thingy.

  • Starting the day, I always rely on a cup of hot tea. I know, coffee is the poison of choice for writers, but I don’t know, tea gets me through the day better at the moment than any coffee.
  • Lying down on my couch with a cozy blanket around my legs always does the trick. The morning is the most important part of my day. If this part goes wrong, well, then we can just forget the rest.
  • Even on a Sunday, I sometimes put makeup on. Yes, that might sound ridiculous, especially because I will never leave the flat anyway. But putting on some nice clothes, cozy ones, of course, makes me feel ready for the day. Try it! It will make all the difference.
  • The next thing I do is kind of a girly one (if putting on makeup wasn’t girly enough for you). I like to clean my flat, make it nice and pretty. Watering my plants, hoovering and buying flowers that match my rug perfectly will put my mind in a writing mindset. My imagination always works best in a pretty environment. This can be your flat, your favorite coffee shop, library, …

After doing all this last Sunday, my imagination was back. I wrote ten pages and am still quite happy with them. Not bad, heh?

What do you do to get your writing hat on?

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