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:
- Very interesting Ted talk by Emilie Wapnick about how culture made us decide one path in life and that multipotentialism isn’t in conflict with that in any way. A must watch for everyone who still believes multipotentialism is restricting their life.
- “Puttylike.com – A Home for Multipotentialites” is a website solemnly focusing on people who are focusing on everything.
- “Are you a Multipotentialite?” by CareerPivot.com is explaining what a multipotentialite actually is
- “Multipotentiality: When High Ability Leads to Too Many Options” – Explaining very nicely how adults can help young multipotentialites
- A very honest post about how it feels to be good in almost everything by unnecessaywisdom.com.