„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.“
I have been thinking about this topic for quite some time now because I keep meeting more and more people that, just like me, don’t fit in just one profession/interest/skill. In today’s society, we have a cult of “one job for life” or “let’s specialize even more” kind of thinking. You have to know early in your life what you want to be when you grow up and then you have to specialize and then work that one job till you die. Otherwise you’re facing a horrible, horrible destiny of Jack of all trades, master of none.
Also, if one day it dawns on you that you cannot stand doing your job anymore-you cannot just quit like that and start searching for what it is that you really want to do. The dearest and nearest to us very often do not support wholeheartedly our choice to engage in some experimenting, soul-searching and self-questioning. Because it is not safe in this horrible economy today. Because what if you can’t find another job? Because they would die to do the exact same thing but they lack courage. Because they know someone who tried it and failed it. List just goes on and on.
During past four years, I held so many Kreativistika creative workshops that I stopped counting. One thing kept coming up: on every workshop, there was at least one soul that didn’t know what she/he wanted to do in life. Didn’t know where their passion lies, what were their abilities and talents. Or they had more than one passion or talent, often totally opposite. And that situation led them to choose vocation that is “safe” i.e. they could find job easily. Nobody asked Soul what she wanted, nobody consulted Heart what lights her up. Ratio did the math and the tradition, expectations and circumstances pushed these persons to tread in a well-beaten path (usually not their path at all but hey, at least you could see where are you going). Or not. The panic strikes when a moment comes to tread in this path even further or to turn away and go along that little mountain path that you don’t know where it is going.
I find it interesting that all of them (participants of my workshops) think that it’s inappropriate for an adult to behave that way. That it is irresponsible, immature and generally not ok to have more than one vocation or to change career direction completely. We all do one thing we should not do-we compare ourselves to others. And so, they compared themselves to others and saw that others do not have five jobs, three hobbies and a palette of talents.
Universe has a sense of humor so these people got together on my creative workshops. And I have extensive experience with having more than three jobs, two side-projects and six hobbies. I know how it is deep in my bones because all my life I have been mixing a crazy mix of my love of ancient history, curiosity concerning different languages and traditions, sport activities (yoga, diving, swimming, tennis…), need for helping others (that’s why I am trained Bach Flower practitioner) and constant hunger for knowledge (that’s why I have training in psycho-energy work, communication, self-growth and personal development). Oh, yes and I loooove Nature- so that’s why crystals, flowers and aromatherapy.
And that is why it is a nightmare for me to answer one simple question- What do you for a living?
I tried to fit in, I really did, doing my “9-5 job” I didn’t like and hoped that my feeling of numbness, dissatisfaction, apathy and tiredness would pass. They didn’t. I started having serious health problems that literally stopped me and made me re-think my life. To re-think it deeply and seriously because I felt cut-out from my purpose and creativity (which I felt I had deep inside but couldn’t possibly reach).
That’s why I resonated immediately with Emilie Wapnick’s TED talk about why some of us do not have one job. One passion. One talent. That’s where I learned about the term multipotentialite: person who has more than one potential (job, talent, capacity, interest) and has diffused career path. They are curious, creative, willing to learn and apply new skills. During the period of Renaissance, a wide palette of knowledge and interests was highly valued so that’s why today we have a name for that- renaissance person. For example, Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes, Da Vinci, Archimedes, Aristotle and many, many other artists, scientists and inventors fall in this category. That kind of people are still here today but we don’t consider them to be “renaissance persons” but just plain Jack of all trades… But master of none.
The biggest challenge is to find a point in which they could unite all their passions (talents, skills, abilities, interests). To find that sweet spot in which their life purpose meets some of their biggest passions. Since it’s virtually impossible to practice all passions at the same time, it’s really important to set the priorities: what is s a job, what is a hobby. The biggest lesson here is how to be focused and not bleed out energy (which often leads to burn-out syndrome).
But it’s very important not to confuse multipotentialite with superficiality and lack of long-term goals.
The biggest life lesson of every multipotentialite is self-acceptance. The greatest gift is life full of new experiences, possibilities and constant self-upgrade. Also, you learn how to deal with uncertainty and change because these are your constant companions on your way. You just learn to be adaptable and stay flexible.
If you recognize yourself in this topic, you might find interesting following resources: Emilie Wapnick’s blog puttylike.com, books Margaret Lobenstine The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One, Barbara Sher Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams