Are you the kind of person who has 40 tabs open in your browser right now? Finding yourself torn between different career paths or hobbies, each calling to a different part of your soul? Let me guess, you’re also “working on multiple projects?” Yep, then there’s a high chance you’re a multipotentialite.
A multipotentialite is someone with many interests and creative pursuits, not confined to one specialty or niche. Unlike a specialist who digs deep into one field, a multipotentialite thrives on learning and exploring various subjects.
In a world that often pressures us to pick a lane and stay in it, recognizing and embracing your multipotentialite nature can be both liberating and daunting.
Let’s delve into what it means to be a multipotentialite and how you can unlock this trait within yourself to lead a more fulfilled life.
- What is a Multipotentialite?
- Who is a Multipotentialite?
- Benefits of Being a Multipotentialite
- Challenges Faced By Multipotentialites
- Discovering and Embracing Your Multipotentialite Nature
- Strategies for Thriving as a Multipotentialite
- Skills of a Multipotentialite
- Related and Similar Terms
- Frequently Asked Questions About Multipotentialites
- Parting Words
What is a Multipotentialite?
Multipotentialite, a term popularized by Emilie Wapnick, refers to individuals who thrive on pursuing various interests and creative paths. Unlike specialists who focus on one field, multipotentialites explore multiple domains, either sequentially or simultaneously. This concept isn’t new, but the term encapsulates a modern understanding of versatile talents, embracing flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to see connections across different fields. It celebrates the unconventional approach of combining skills and passions to find unique solutions and opportunities.
Multipotentialite vs Polymath
A multipotentialite and a polymath both share the trait of having diverse interests and skills, but they are not the same. While a multipotentialite is someone who has many different interests and potential career paths, a polymath typically excels in multiple fields, often at an expert level. Polymaths are recognized for their profound knowledge and mastery, while multipotentialites are celebrated for their curiosity and adaptability across various domains.
Multipotentialite vs Flaneur
The term flâneur refers to an urban wanderer or a person who leisurely explores and observes city life. Unlike the flâneur, who strolls through life absorbing the world around them, a multipotentialite actively engages in multiple pursuits and seeks to cultivate diverse skills and passions. While the flâneur might be seen as a detached observer, the multipotentialite is a participator, diving into many areas with enthusiasm and curiosity.
The term “multipotentialite” may be a bit of a tongue-twister for some. It’s pronounced as:
Emphasizing the syllables “mul,” “TEE,” “poh,” “TEN,” and “shuh” followed by “lite” will help you articulate the word with ease. It’s a term that encapsulates a rich and complex idea, and getting familiar with its pronunciation might be your first step in embracing the multipotentialite within you!
Who is a Multipotentialite?
A multipotentialite is an individual who has multiple interests, talents, and potential career paths. Unlike a specialist, who focuses deeply on a single subject or field, a multipotentialite thrives on variety and change, seeking to explore and grow in many different areas. This term was popularized by Emilie Wapnick, who gave a TED talk on the subject, bringing attention to this unique way of engaging with the world.
Definition and Characteristics of a Multipotentialite
A multipotentialite isn’t just someone who has a lot of hobbies or interests; they are characterized by an intense curiosity and ability to excel in multiple areas. They often find joy in learning new things and may quickly become bored if they feel stuck or stagnant in one field.
This pattern is most commonly found in high-IQ individuals or those who are academically talented. So if you’re a multipotentialite, you’re likely bright.
Some other defining characteristics of a multipotentialite include:
- Curiosity: An insatiable desire to learn and understand different subjects.
- Adaptability: The ability to shift between different tasks and fields with ease.
- Rapid Learning: Often able to quickly pick up new skills and knowledge.
- Multidimensional Perspective: Able to see connections and synthesize information across various disciplines.
The Contrast with Specialization
In contrast, a specialist dedicates their life to mastering one specific field or subject. While this depth of knowledge can lead to significant achievements and expertise in that particular area, it often doesn’t lend itself to exploration outside that realm.
Specialization has long been celebrated in many cultures, particularly in the professional world. The idea of “finding your niche” is commonly promoted, but it doesn’t resonate with everyone, especially those who identify as multipotentialites. For them, the idea of choosing one path can feel limiting and even stifling.
Examples of Famous Multipotentialites
History and contemporary life are filled with examples of successful multipotentialites.
Leonardo da Vinci is famed for being one of the most multitalented human beings that ever lived. Most known for being a painter and a sculptor, he was also an inventor who developed his expertise in all of the following fields: science, anatomy, mathematics, architecture, engineering, astronomy, history, palaeontology, geology, botany and music. Needless to say, he was a multipotentialite.
Likewise, Benjamin Franklin was a statesman, diplomat, author, postmaster, inventor, activist, philosopher and humorist.
Deon Sanders made his mark as a professonial athlete in both the NFL and in MLB, then later went on to get into sports commentary.
There are countless other examples of people who excelled in multiple fields, including Aristotle and Thomas Jefferson.
Chances are you might be one too if you’re reading this!
Benefits of Being a Multipotentialite
In a world that often pushes for specialization, being a multipotentialite brings a unique set of benefits. Here’s a look at what makes this approach to life and work so valuable:
Versatility and Adaptability
Being proficient in multiple areas allows a multipotentialite to adapt to changing circumstances with ease. Whether it’s a shifting job market or a personal desire to explore new fields, having diverse skills makes transition smoother and opens doors to various opportunities.
Creativity and Innovative Thinking
Multipotentialites often excel in creative and innovative thinking. Their varied interests and experiences allow them to see problems from different angles, leading to fresh ideas and solutions. They are often the ones who break down silos between fields, fostering collaboration and innovation.
Ability to See Connections Between Diverse Fields
Perhaps one of the most intriguing benefits of being a multipotentialite is the ability to see connections between seemingly unrelated fields. This ability to synthesize information from various domains can lead to groundbreaking ideas and concepts that might not be apparent to those focused solely on one area.
In my experience, I have found this to be one of the greatest benefits. It turns out that being a “Renaissance Man” (or woman) in entrepreneurship is actually quite an advantage. My favorite way to create a business it to take 3 or more seemingly unrelated ideas and put them together to create a brand new idea or category. It’s exciting when your idea actually comes to life!
Challenges Faced By Multipotentialites
On the other hand, decisions get a lot more complex as a multipotentialite. Many people are able to choose one thing and stick with it. But because multipotentialites have a wide variety of interests and abilities (and therefore a bunch of options), it’s really tough to choose just one.
It’s hard enough to make up your mind when choosing which flavor of gelato to order. Now how are you supposed to choose one interest to stick with the rest of your life?
Despite the unique advantages that multipotentialites possess, they also face distinct challenges. Understanding these can provide insights into how to navigate them and ultimately thrive.
Societal Pressure to Specialize
In many cultures, there’s a strong emphasis on specialization, both in education and career paths. People are often encouraged to find a specific niche and dedicate themselves to mastering that area. This can lead to misunderstandings and pressure for multipotentialites, who naturally gravitate towards a range of interests.
Feeling Overwhelmed by Interests
Another common challenge is the feeling of being overwhelmed by the many interests and passions. Deciding what to pursue and what to set aside can be an agonizing choice. Managing time and resources to explore multiple paths can also lead to burnout if not carefully handled.
Potential Career Challenges
In the professional sphere, multipotentialites may face difficulties in fitting into traditional career paths. Job descriptions and career ladders are often designed with specialists in mind. Multipotentialites may feel the need to hide or downplay their varied interests to align with what’s expected in a particular role.
Overcoming the Challenges
These challenges aren’t insurmountable. By recognizing the value of multipotentiality and finding supportive communities, embracing structured planning, and crafting a personal narrative that honors their diverse talents, multipotentialites can overcome these obstacles.
Discovering and Embracing Your Multipotentialite Nature
If you’re someone who feels drawn to multiple fields and thrives on learning new things, you might be a multipotentialite. Here’s how you can discover and embrace this nature:
- Self-assessment and reflection exercises: Reflect on your interests and passions. What are the topics that excite you? Write them down and look for common themes or connections. Various personality and career assessment tools might also help in identifying your multipotentialite tendencies.
- Recognizing your diverse interests and talents: It’s not uncommon for multipotentialites to downplay or dismiss their varied talents. Recognize that your diverse interests are a strength, not a flaw. Embrace the value that your multifaceted perspective brings.
- Embracing curiosity and exploration: Allow yourself the freedom to explore different fields without committing to specialization. Attend workshops, read widely, and connect with others who share your interests. Cultivate a mindset that encourages curiosity and exploration.
- Creating a supportive environment: Find or build a community that supports and understands your multipotentialite nature. Whether it’s online forums, social groups, or friends and family, surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals can provide encouragement and inspiration.
Integrating Multipotentiality into Your Life
Consider how you might integrate your varied interests into your daily life, career, or hobbies. Creating a “slash career” (e.g., writer/artist/entrepreneur) or pursuing interdisciplinary projects might be a perfect fit.
Discovering and embracing your multipotentialite nature is an exciting journey. It opens doors to a more fulfilling and creative life, where the joy of learning and exploration is celebrated. By recognizing, accepting, and nurturing this aspect of yourself, you can unlock a more enriched and satisfying path forward.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Are you a highly curious person?
- Do you have both academic and creative interests?
- Do you often find yourself working on multiple projects at the same time?
- Do you feel as if you don’t have a specific calling in life?
- Do you thrive on learning new skills?
- Do you tend to pick up these new skills quickly?
- Do you have a wide variety of interests?
- Do you find yourself losing interest in projects or hobbies quite often?
- Do you find it hard to answer “what do you do?”
If you answered yes to the majority of these questions, there’s a high chance you’d score high on the multipotentiality scale!
Strategies for Thriving as a Multipotentialite
Being a multipotentialite in a world that often emphasizes specialization doesn’t have to be a struggle. With the right strategies, you can thrive by leveraging your unique interests and talents. Here are some essential areas to consider:
- Combining interests in a single job: Seek roles that allow you to wear multiple hats or work at the intersection of various fields. This can help you satisfy different interests without spreading yourself too thin.
- Juggling multiple part-time pursuits: If one job doesn’t encompass all your passions, consider juggling part-time roles, freelance work, or side projects that align with your interests.
- Creating a personalized career path: Carve out your unique career trajectory. It may include a combination of employment, entrepreneurship, and continuous skill development.
Education and Learning
- Continuous learning and development: Embrace lifelong learning by taking courses, attending workshops, or self-studying. Continuously expanding your knowledge will fuel your multipotentialite nature.
- Tackling learning curves: Accept that diving into new areas may come with a learning curve. Be patient and persistent, and celebrate the progress along the way.
Networking and Community
- Finding like-minded multipotentialites: Engage with communities, online forums, or social groups that embrace multipotentiality. Surrounding yourself with others who understand your multifaceted interests can provide support and inspiration.
- Collaborating across different domains: Utilize your ability to see connections between diverse fields by collaborating with specialists in various domains. These collaborations can lead to innovative solutions and fulfilling partnerships.
The journey of a multipotentialite is not a straight path, but it’s one filled with excitement, discovery, and creativity. By implementing these strategies, you can create a life that celebrates your unique gifts and opens the door to endless possibilities. Whether in your career, education, or personal growth, thriving as a multipotentialite is attainable, rewarding, and deeply fulfilling.
Skills of a Multipotentialite
Multipotentialites tend to be skilled in:
- Combining ideas
- Problem solving
- Rapid learning
- Quick skill acquisition
- Contextual thinking
- Wide degree of knowledge
Related and Similar Terms
Frequently Asked Questions About Multipotentialites
What IQ is a multipotentialite?
A multipotentialite is someone with diverse interests and abilities across various domains, and it’s not tied to a specific IQ level. IQ measures cognitive abilities, not interests or potential in various fields. Being a multipotentialite is more about curiosity, passion, and adaptability rather than a quantifiable intelligence score.
Do multipotentialites have ADHD?
Multipotentiality and ADHD are not directly connected. A multipotentialite has various interests and abilities, while ADHD is a medical condition characterized by symptoms like inattention and hyperactivity. Some individuals with ADHD might also be multipotentialites, but one does not necessarily imply the other. It’s essential to differentiate personal traits from medical diagnoses.
How do you know if you are a multipotentialite?
You might be a multipotentialite if you have diverse interests and abilities, and you frequently feel drawn to learn and explore different fields or subjects. Rather than specializing in one area, you may feel equally passionate and competent in various domains. This curiosity-driven approach often leads to a rich and varied life or career path.
What are the 3 superpowers of a multipotentialite?
The three superpowers of a multipotentialite are typically considered to be idea synthesis (combining different fields and ideas into something new), rapid learning (quickly picking up new skills and knowledge), and adaptability (easily adjusting to new environments or changes). These traits enable them to thrive in various domains and careers.
Embracing the multipotentialite in you is not about defying norms but celebrating a unique way of being that allows for endless exploration and creativity. Recognize your diverse talents, cultivate them with care, and don’t be afraid to forge a path that resonates with your multifaceted nature. The world needs the innovation and versatility that multipotentialites bring, so go ahead and thrive in your own unique way. Your potential is limitless!
What’s your favorite part about being a multipotentialite? Let us know in the comments below!
Originally Published: July 4, 2019