I have described myself before as a Renaissance soul–this is a term I only learned within the past few years. It was so nice to know that I wasn't alone, that there were enough people out there that couldn't seem to "stick" to a passion that someone had written a book about it (The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One by Margaret Lobenstine).
Today, I came across this TED Talk video by multipotentialite Emilie Wapnick.
She's a writer, a speaker, filmaker, musician, and the list goes on. She describes multipotentialites as being "wired differently." As the mother of a child on the autism spectrum, I've often thought about people and different wiring, but I never applied it to myself. Watching this was a bit of a revelation.
Wapnick discusses our culture's seeming obsession with finding your one true destiny, your one true calling. "What do you want to be when you grow up?," we're asked over and over again.
It reminds me of another one of our culture's obsessions, the idea of your one true love. It makes those who are or have the potential to be compatible with more than one passion (be that a person or an interest) seem a little odd and out of sorts. I'm not speaking about monogamy or polygamy, just the idea that there are multiple people with whom it would be possible for you to make a good life.
Careers are a little easier. Your career is not going to be upset if you cheat on it.
Embrace your multipotentiality, Wapnick says, and learn your superpowers, including adaptability and idea synthesis.
This is where I am now. I haven't figured out how to make a career out of intersecting all of my passions yet, but writing about them is a start.
I still remember when a tenth-grade teacher called me wishy-washy. That hurt, and it stuck. It has reinforced the idea in the back of my mind that something was wrong with me because I couldn't stick to just one thing.
I'm finding my multiple interests to be an advantage these days. It's certainly an advantage in homeschooling: my kids don't just learn one thing—why should I? Learning along with them is so much fun because I love to learn as well. Also, I am much happier when nurturing different passions and letting myself take a break and letting go when I am bored with one particular idea.
I love learning. I love mastering new skills. I have always had trouble understanding how someone could show an interest in a topic and not want to dive fully in and find out what it's all about deep down in the meat of it. Mastering skills also helps me build my self-confidence. I know that I will always be able to get by because I have not just one or two but many well-developed skills to fall back on.
So, what do you consider yourself? A specialist, someone with a dream, someone who has always known what you wanted to be? Or a scanner, a Renaissance soul, a multipotentialite? Someone with diverse interests who is always moving on to the next thing?
Tell me what your interest(S) are. If you're like me, maybe you will give someone an idea for his or her next big thing :)