Are you struggling to decide on just one thing to do with your life? Are you one of those people who has about a million interests, and can’t seem to choose just one to focus on for your career? If this sounds like you, then you can take comfort in knowing that you’re definitely not alone. There’s actually a term for people like us: multipotentialites.
According to Emilie Wapnick, founder of Puttylike (a website dedicated to multipotentialites), the term describes people with many different interests who engage in a variety of creative pursuits. These people have no “one true calling” the way specialists do. Instead, they choose to pursue multiple paths, either sequentially or simultaneously (or both).
In other words, multipotentialites pursue many interests at the same time or spend focused time on one interest before moving to the next—and there’s usually a long list of things they want to do next.
If the idea of having to give up some of your interests to pursue and master just one thing is devastating to you, then there’s a good chance you’re a multipotentialite.
My Life as a Multipotentialite
Let me give you an example of what my life looks like as a multipotentialite: I’m into music, sports, art, cooking, dancing, philosophy, and fashion, to name a few of my most recent interests. As you can see, my interests vary, and within each area I might be interested in a bunch of different things, too.
For instance, I play the piano, guitar, bass guitar, and drums (all on a spectrum between bad and not bad). I wish I could play the violin, cello, and trumpet. I’m currently taking voice lessons.
In high school I played a lot of sports. You could say I was a jock. Since high school I’ve taken up dance, and I’m now studying ballroom dancing, break dancing, tap dancing, and even ballet. I’m going to stop listing all of my interests now, but believe me, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
It's Okay to Have Many Interests
Sometimes I feel pressure to just focus on one thing and master it. I used to think that at some point in my life I’d find just one thing, my “one true calling.” Thankfully I’ve given up the search and realized that not only will I probably never find just one thing that I’m passionate about, but that it’s just not me. There are so many things I love doing and wish I could do, and I’m going to pursue as many of those as I can. Trying to limit myself to one thing would just be lying to myself.
While being a multipotentialite may be a bit unconventional, the upsides are many. In particular, we might pursue numerous interests over time and, as a result, have numerous opportunities to create and re-create ourselves. To those around us it might seem strange that our interests are constantly changing and growing, but we are changing and growing with them. In time, those around us will realize that’s just who you are as a multipotentialite.
So, if you’re a multipotentialite, embrace it! And resist the pressure to specialize.
Lastly, check out Emelie Wapnick’s TED Talk called “Why Some Of Us Don’t Have One True Calling.” It’s a gooder.
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