Are you a person who posses the will and curiosity to explore many interests even though they may all be very different and don’t always connect with each other? Do you have the desire to learn about different fields to the point of you developing competencies or mastery over it? If your answer is yes, then you’re a multipotentialite! I happen to be one too.
In her book “How to be Everything“, Emilie Wapnick defines a multipotentialite as “a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life.” However, the term was already mentioned in research dated back to 1972 (source: Wikipedia) but Emilie popularized the term.
I felt like Emilie was describing me so accurately in the book. For the last two decades, I haven’t stuck to any particular field. I’ve done sales and marketing, training consulting, instructional design, graphic design, web management, team building facilitator, retail, copywriting, and the list is endless. That’s not it! That’s just what I do professionally. On the side, I enjoy writing, cooking, gardening, playing video games and constant need to learn new things. Okay, I think you have a very clear picture of what a multipotentialite is by now.
I used to think I’m doomed to fail in life because we’re living in the world of specialists. We always hear the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” I don’t want to be that. I want to at least master one or two things in my life. I don’t necessarily want to be an expert because the day I call myself an expert is the day I stop learning (something my mentor said and I remember it to this day.) I just want to be human and be able to explore my many interests.
The Superpowers of Multipotentialites
Emilie’s book empowered me and made me want to fully embrace multipotentiality. There are some amazing features of a multipotentialite that she referred to it as superpowers.
Idea synthesis or idea generation
This is my jam! Imagine my brain like a bowl of salad. It looks like a mess of crap but it’s yummy if you know the combination of veggies and fruits that taste great together. Multipotentialites are really good at generating and synthesizing ideas because they learned so many things throughout their lives. We’re a bunch of McGyvers, I kid you not. But in my case, I can be pretty lazy at solving problems so if you need to pick my brain….please don’t.
Multipotentialites are super hardworking when they want to learn something new. All efforts and time are invested into learning their interests. We don’t freaking need 10, 000 hours to master something. If we do, multipotentialites need to be centenarians at least to be able to satisfy our cravings to learn. Instead, a solid 20 hours is all that we need to be good (may not be great) at something. Hey, the 20 hours rule makes more sense okay? Josh Kaufman says so in his Tedx Talk and he makes more sense than Malcolm Gladwell (if you’re a fan, sorry….not!)
We’re like freaking chameleons! Multipotentialites don’t stick to one career forever. They would have at least changed career directions 3 times or more in a lifetime while taking up multiple side projects. They’re able to adapt to new situations and always open for challenges.
If you’re a multipotentialite, be proud and flaunt your superpowers. If you’re an employer, you should hire a multipotentialite. Having said that, I’m not looking for jobs at the moment though…
Disclaimer: Being full of oneself is not a superpower of multipotentialite.