Multipotentialites, also known as multipotentialists or polymaths, are individuals who have a diverse range of interests, skills, and talents. Rather than specializing in a single area, they excel in multiple fields and often find it challenging to commit to just one pursuit. In this blog post, we delve into the world of multipotentialites, individuals with diverse interests and creative pursuits. Coined by Emilie Wapnick, multipotentialites challenge societal expectations by embracing multiple paths and passions. We explore the historical context of this concept, highlight the characteristics that define them, and address the challenges they face in a specialization-driven world. Join us as we celebrate the power of multipotentialites and discover how to embrace a multidimensional existence.
In the realm of high school and college decision-making, students are often confronted with the question of what major they will choose or what career path they aspire to. While this query initially ignites dreams of future possibilities, it gradually transforms into a source of anxiety that keeps us awake at night. Why does this happen? The reason is that this question fails to inspire us to envision the full extent of our potential. Instead, it limits our aspirations because we’re expected to select just one path. Even though we may harbor a multitude of interests, well-intentioned adults often dismiss our varied ambitions, insisting that we must choose between them.
But what if we’re wired differently? What if our curiosity extends to numerous subjects and we desire to pursue many different endeavors? Unfortunately, the existing framework doesn’t leave space for individuals like us. Consequently, we may feel isolated, lacking a sense of purpose, and even questioning our own identity. However, it’s crucial to recognize that there’s nothing inherently wrong with us. In fact, we are multipotentialites – individuals with a broad range of passions and talents that defy narrow categorizations.
What Is A Multipotentialite Person?
The term “multipotentialite” was introduced by Emilie Wapnick to characterize individuals who possess numerous interests and engage in various creative pursuits. These individuals traverse multiple paths, pursuing their passions either in sequence or simultaneously, and while the term itself is relatively recent, the notion of individuals with diverse passions is far from new.
A multipotentialite is someone with many interests and creative pursuits. It’s a mouthful to say. It might help if you break it up into three parts: multi, potential, and ite. You can also use one of the other terms that connote the same idea, such as polymath, the Renaissance person. Actually, during the Renaissance period, it was considered the ideal to be well-versed in multiple disciplinesEmilie Wapnick
Emilie Wapnick Narrates Her Own Story
In the TED Talk, Emilie Wapnick narrates her own story. She says she was someone who’s never been able to answer the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
The problem wasn’t that she didn’t have any interests — it’s that she had too many. In high school, she liked English and Math and Art. She built websites and played guitar in a punk band called Frustrated Telephone Operator.
This continued after high school, and at a certain point, she began to notice this pattern in herself where she would become interested in an area and she would dive in, become all-consumed, and she’d get to be pretty good at whatever it was. And then she would hit this point where she’d start to get bored. And usually she would try and persist anyway, because she had already devoted so much time and energy and sometimes money into this field.
But eventually this sense of boredom, this feeling of, like, yeah, I got this, this isn’t challenging anymore — it would get to be too much. And I would have to let it go.
But then she would become interested in something else, something totally unrelated, and she would dive into that, and become all-consumed, and she’d be like, “Yes! I found my thing,” and then she would hit this point again where she’d start to get bored. And eventually, she would let it go. But then she would discover something new and totally different, and she would dive into that.
This pattern caused her a lot of anxiety, for two reasons. The first was that she wasn’t sure how she was going to turn any of this into a career. She thought that she would eventually have to pick one thing, deny all of her other passions, and just resign herself to being bored. The other reason it caused her so much anxiety was a little bit more personal. She worried that there was something wrong with this, and something wrong with her for being unable to stick with anything. She worried that she was afraid of commitment, or that she was scattered, or that she was self-sabotaging, afraid of her own success.
Multipotentialites – TED Talk By Emilie Wapnick
Are you uncertain about what you want to be when you grow up? If the idea of committing to just one thing for the rest of your life feels limiting, you’re not alone. In a thought-provoking discussion, writer and artist Emilie Wapnick introduces us to a fascinating group of individuals known as “multipotentialites.” These are the people who embrace a diverse range of interests and pursue various careers throughout their lifetime. Could you be one of them? Let’s explore together.
What is A Multipotentialite According To Emilie Wapnick?
Idea synthesis. That is, combining two or more fields and creating something new at the intersection.
The second multipotentialite superpower is rapid learning. When multipotentialites become interested in something, we go hard. We observe everything we can get our hands on. We’re also used to being beginners, because we’ve been beginners so many times in the past, and this means that we’re less afraid of trying new things and stepping out of our comfort zones. What’s more, many skills are transferable across disciplines, and we bring everything we’ve learned to every new area we pursue, so we’re rarely starting from scratch.
The third multipotentialite superpower is adaptability; that is, the ability to morph into whatever you need to be in a given situation.
Idea synthesis, rapid learning and adaptability: three skills that multipotentialites are very adept at, and three skills that they might lose if pressured to narrow their focus. As a society, we have a vested interest in encouraging multipotentialites to be themselves. We have a lot of complex, multidimensional problems in the world right now, and we need creative, out-of-the-box thinkers to tackle them.
In fact, some of the best teams are comprised of a specialist and multipotentialite paired together. The specialist can dive in deep and implement ideas, while the multipotentialite brings a breadth of knowledge to the project. It’s a beautiful partnership. But we should all be designing lives and careers that are aligned with how we’re wired. And sadly, multipotentialites are largely being encouraged simply to be more like their specialist peers.
Source: TED Video Transcript
Here Are A Few Key Characteristics Of Multipotentialites
Broad Range of Interests: Multipotentialites have a wide array of interests across various disciplines and domains. They are naturally curious and tend to explore different subjects, often becoming proficient in multiple areas.
Rapid Learning: Multipotentialites have a knack for quickly grasping new concepts and acquiring new skills. They possess adaptable and agile minds, allowing them to switch between different fields and learn at an accelerated pace.
Versatility: They can adapt to different contexts and environments due to their diverse skill set. Their ability to draw connections and transfer knowledge from one domain to another enables them to approach problems from unique perspectives.
Discomfort with Specialization: Multipotentialites may struggle with choosing a single career path or specialization. They might feel bored or constrained by the idea of focusing on one area for an extended period. Instead, they thrive on variety and novelty.
Creative Problem Solving: Their multidisciplinary background and diverse experiences contribute to their creative problem-solving abilities. Multipotentialites often bring unique insights and unconventional solutions to complex challenges by integrating ideas from various disciplines.
Intense Engagement Cycles: Multipotentialites tend to go through cycles of intense focus and enthusiasm for a particular interest or project, known as “deep dives.” Once they feel they have achieved sufficient mastery or saturation in that area, they move on to a new endeavor.
Entrepreneurial Spirit: Many multipotentialites are drawn to entrepreneurship or self-employment, as it provides them with the flexibility to pursue multiple interests simultaneously. They can create their own ventures that incorporate their diverse skills and passions.
Embracing their multipotentiality can lead to a fulfilling and dynamic life for these individuals. However, it’s worth noting that societal expectations and pressures often favour specialization, which can sometimes make it challenging for multipotentialites to navigate traditional career paths. Nevertheless, recognizing and celebrating their diverse abilities can lead to a rich and multifaceted life experience.
Embrace your many passions. Follow your curiosity down those rabbit holes. Explore your intersections. Embracing our inner wiring leads to a happier, more authentic life. And perhaps more importantly — multipotentialites, the world needs us.Emilie Wapnick
In conclusion, the notion of being a multipotentialite challenges the traditional concept of choosing one singular path in life. While society often expects us to specialize and focus on a single career or passion, many individuals find themselves drawn to a multitude of interests and possibilities. The pressure to fit into a predetermined mould can leave multipotentiality feeling misunderstood and uncertain about their purpose. However, it is important to embrace and celebrate the diverse talents and passions that make us who we are. Being a multipotentiality is not a flaw or a burden, but rather a unique and valuable characteristic. By recognizing and accepting our multipotentiality, we can unlock a world of endless possibilities, pursuing multiple paths and finding fulfilment in the richness of our diverse interests. So, to all the multipotentiality out there, remember that your varied passions are your strength, and it is through embracing your multifaceted nature that you can truly thrive and make a unique impact on the world.
Are you a multipotentialite?
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Mathukutty P. V. is the founder of Simply Life Tips. He is a Blogger, Content Writer, Influencer, and YouTuber. He is passionate about learning new skills. He is the Director of PokketCFO.
He lives with the notion of “SIMPLE LIVING, CREATIVE THINKING”. He Believes – “Sharing is caring.” and “Learning never ends.”