What is a Multipotentialite?
Multipotentiality is a term from psychology that refers to the ability for a person to excel in multiple endeavors, careers or fields. It arose from educational research in the area of giftedness.
It can also refer to the trait of having multiple interests spanning across fields or areas as opposed to being strong in just one.
The opposite of a specialist, a multipotentialite is someone who has the trait of multipotentiality. A multipotentialed person. Basically it’s someone who is good at (or has the potential to be good at) lots of things.
This can be both a blessing and a curse.
On the one hand, this pattern is most commonly found in high IQ individuals or those who are academically talented. So if you’re a multipotentialite, you’re most likely quite smart.
On the other, decisions get a lot more complex. 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?
Benefits of Being a Multipotentialite
The good news? Provided they are given the right environment and support, multipotentialites can become competent at many skills or abilities to a high level.
Because of their wide degree of skills spanning multiple disciplines and their high degree of empathy, multipotentialites are particularly good at finding creative new solutions to problems. For example, they may find unique ways to combine their passions into a career or business or invent new technologies that tackle problems in new ways.
Skills of a Multipotentialite
- Combining ideas
- Problem solving
- Rapid learning
- Quick skill acquisition
- Contextual thinking
- Wide degree of knowledge
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 multipotentialite who excelled at many professions, including but not limited to politician, diplomat, author, postmaster, inventor, activist 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.
Quiz: How Do I Know if I’m a Multipotentialite?
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!