Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Oprah Winfrey, René Descartes, Isaac Newton, Aristotle-What is common between them apart from being famous personalities?
They are people with multiple specialties, talents, and interests, they are called ‘Renaissance men’.
Renaissance man: A person who has wide interests and is an expert in several areas (MERRIAM WEBSTER)
lET’S START FROM THE BEGINNING
No, I wasn’t shabby looking or unclean but because I had a shabby idea of who I am. I was unable to juggle between different identities and interests that I often had. I had a deep curiosity in a field, I pursued it for a while, became good at it, and felt it become boring now. As a result, my resumes always changed.
Yes, it did change because I was now looking for a new role but it also changed because I had developed a whole new set of skills that were to be added to the resume.
When people asked me what do you like I had a list of endless different fields some of which didn’t overlap or connect in any way.
Yes, I had many and I have many. The list goes on every time I check it.
I remember my anthropology professor telling me,
Do you wonder what I said?
I said I wanted to study cultures, have a running income, write a book, work in the open, pursue Ph.D. and serve society in some way.
If you don’t identify with these feelings, you must be thinking she is fickle-minded! She is lost! And I am thinking, how blessed you are to have one true purpose known to you.
The world is full of people who figured out either a calling or decided on a job meant to serve them for the rest of their lives. Aren’t they blessed? They wake up without confusion, sleep without anxieties, don’t appear lost!
Having too many interests is tough! Really! That is what gives you the feeling of ‘something isn’t right.
self-sabotage & ‘something isn’t right
I had lived a life full of self-doubt, self-sabotage, and the feeling that something is wrong with me just because I wanted to be taken up so many roles.
I have ‘N’ no. of dairies and digital files with endless diagrams of Ikigai’s and purpose and goal and ambition and what not! But I could never have one single answer.
If you are a researcher and have made user personas, imagine multiple personas living inside of you! Which one to go for?
Maybe my professor was right, but was it wrong? And why? Just because I am curious and want to immerse myself in a lot of things? Just because unlike others I never get bored! Rather I am overwhelmed with so much to do in such a short time?
the answer from beyond: The multipotentialites
But, the universe has always had my back. Years before it had brought a message saying “if you enjoy the solitude that is because you are an introvert” and now it brought me a message saying you are a ‘multipotentialite’.
It happened so that while scrolling through Youtube for some motivational videos (felt dead low then!) I came across a TED talk and immediately on to a book. It was called, “How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up by Emilie Wapnick“
We are what Emilie Wapnick calls ‘a multipotentialite”. A heavy term for someone who doesn’t possess one isolated quality but has several feathers in his/her cap.
So, I came to know that we are a kind of career superhuman!
And the Hollywood superhuman flicks have already told you how difficult it is being so!
I am sure many of you agree. We like arts, sciences, nature, cultures, people, music, theatre, mathematics and so many different stuff all at once. We value freedom, are innately curious (my website name agrees), have endless ‘will’ to learn, and are busy either learning or creating something! That is the reason no one role can define us! We are but many in one package!
I realized even my father is a multipotentialite. He is an entrepreneur, a Plummer, a carpenter, an electrician, a philosopher, a spiritual guru, a motivational coach, a gardener and there is an endless list of things he can be relied upon!
I guess, being a multipotentialite is a rather a blessing, that I realized like just now!!
We have a creative drive that wants us to follow several paths the world laid before us. We are blessed to be inspired every now and then. We are those who can be employed for many roles at once. We are those who ditch the mold and create a niche of ‘multi-talented people.
Everything said-but is it practical?
I had been a believer of ‘one’s true calling’. Though I still believe in the ‘calling’ but no longer believe it to be ‘one’. But having multiple callings is sometimes not practical.
But that doesn’t mean we should doubt ourselves. Remember that we were born in this way, we didn’t create our curious hormones! And if the maker intended us to be this way, he must have a plan (or wants you to find one!).
Emilie Wapnick happens to have found one. She cleverly defines the 3 of our crucial needs and how these 3 can be had, even with multiple roles, without any compromises!
These are the 3 main ingredients that an innately curious multipotentialite often seeks to have. But, we often find meaning in a particular field, money in another, and variety in a yet different field, so how to balance these?
You may like playing guitar, painting, photography, sketching all at once
Emilie Wapnick has found 4 ways to do so:
CAN TAKE THE “GROUP HUG” APPROACH: choose an interdisciplinary field or role so that your curiosity gets satiated by yet new roles you play at work.
CAN TAKE THE “EINSTEIN APPROACH” where you can invest time in hobbies like many of you must be doing right now while working at a full-time job.
CAN TAKE THE “SLASH APPROACH” where you can do one or two jobs simultaneously if you can handle it!
CAN TAKE THE “PHOENIX APPROACH” where you can take up a career, and switch whenever you feel you have earned mastery in it!
No matter what career, job, passion, interest you choose, let one thing settle down in you first- you are a multipotentialite and not a fickle-minded freak that ‘traditional’ systems of the economy might convince you to believe.
I remember being asked in an interview: “You took up a master’s in English literature and then in Anthropology, ”from arts to social sciences, why?
Because of a whim? No! because I thought having experienced people and emotions in a book, I can now move on to experience them in person! It’s not like mood swings we have career swings! It’s just that, we can never settle on something mediocre! And sometimes when you have mastered a skill, a career, a role, you do find yourself capable of experiencing a yet new field or space!
To all the multipotentialites out there, say out aloud-
I am sure if you have reached the end, you are one of us, what are your thoughts and which approach would you choose?