I Am a Multipotentialite

By happenstance (or maybe destiny depending on your philosophical bent), I came across an article and then the Tedx Talk about being a multipotentialite.

Now you may be asking, as I did, what the heck is multipotentialite? 

According to the article and talk, multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life. Multipotentialites have no “one true calling” the way specialists do. And I definitely relate to multipotentiality.

Hamlet quote.jpg

When I was in secondary school, I always envied those who knew they wanted to do, whether a doctor, an engineer, a veterinarian, a teacher. It seemed that most of my friends knew exactly what career or path they wanted to pursue, or at least had a general idea, like arts, theater, medicine, math. But me, well, I never had a solid idea. I loved many things—books (shocking, I know), animals, art, music, poetry, travel, languages—and it always seemed like I was finding new things to add to the list.

Flash forward to college. I started out as an undecided major and took courses in almost every discipline. And I stayed undecided until the university basically forced me to decide. Even then, if I could have had at least 3 or 4 majors, I would have. I ended up double majoring in political science and sociology, but would have also opted for journalism, literature, philosophy, theater . . . you see where I’m going with this.

Then, as I’ve previously written, I earned a masters in business administration—completely unrelated to my undergrad work—and then worked for a while in corporate America before scrapping it all to go to law school. I’ve been a lawyer for the past seven years now and I’m once again thinking about changing career lanes to do something else.

And over the years in my non-work time, I have taken classes in language and art, traveled around the world, volunteered with a variety of non-profits, written a novel and started a couple others, and have beginning business plans for about 5 different businesses (my favorite one is my bookstore-bar idea). And I’m always finding new things to learn or do.

So when I read the article and watched the TedX Talk, I completely related. I am a multipotentialite—a jack of all trades and master of none. I love to learn. I can cite all sorts of useless trivia and esoteric knowledge. I see connections in random things. I have a ridiculous amount of ideas and have started on more than I can count, but haven’t always finished. I have a terrible time developing long-term goals because my goals are constantly evolving, morphing into new ideas.

Does this sound familiar? Do you have similar “issues”?

Maybe you aren’t a multipotentialite. Maybe you found your calling somewhere along the way and you have your five- and ten-year plan, maybe even a twenty-year plan. You might be a master at setting goals and following through on them. That’s fantastic. I admire you and have often, throughout my life, wished I could be more like you. But I have accepted that I am not and never will be. In fact, trying to fit into that mold made me miserable.

Nietzsche_dancing.jpgSo I have accepted that I’m a bit different. That I don’t quite fit. That I may view the world a slight bit different. That I will never be seen as an expert in any field. That I may keep changing jobs and locations. And some may always see me as irresponsible, unable to commit, or the less harsh, but still slightly insulting, “carefree” or “dreamer.”

But you know what, that’s okay. I am okay with being who I am because the world needs those of us who dance through life with no music.

Do you identify as a multipotentialite? Or did you find your calling? Tell me in the comments below.


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