“You should always have too many interests and not enough time!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
I got kind of excited yesterday while thinking about this quote since I think I finally might have figured out who I am.
I am a multipotentialite.
The revelation came about when someone new followed me on Mastodon – it’s a social network that is drawing the interest of many people who no longer want to spend time on the hateful, racist sludge that Twitter has now become. The individual, “Curiosa,” featured the short tagline in their bio: “Many interests – never enough time.” For someone like me, that is rocket fuel for thought! The phrase grabbed me, shooked me, and took me for a walk – I rolled it around in my mind while out for a round of golf yesterday.
So I came up with a variation of my phrase .. and then Googled it to make sure I wasn’t using a phrase that was already common. It was not – but it led me into a new rabbit hole that grabbed my attention of people who possess what is known as multipotentiality!
What? I must admit I have never heard this phrase before, but Wikipedia tells me this:
A multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life. Multipotentialites have no “one true calling” the way specialists do.
Or, as my wife said, “a jack of all trades, a master of none.”
I decided to dig into the phrase through my research database and this is the first article I found.
She calls herself a multipotentialite.
Primary industries advocate Chanelle O’Sullivan wears a lot of hats and there is so much more to her than her Instagram handle, Just A Farmer’s Wife, would lead you to believe.
Indeed, she is a farmer’s wife, but she is also the mother of two energetic young children, an entrepreneur, a social media specialist, a futurist and someone with a never-ending source of ideas.
“Wherever I see anything, I see an opportunity,” she said.
Now she is getting excited about her latest venture _ a business that combines her passion for the primary industries and technology to highlight New Zealand’s produce, careers, environment and skills.
Virtual Insight aims to connect food and fibre producers with food and fibre consumers, both nationally and globally, while also highlighting the opportunities in the sector to school pupils.
Mrs O’Sullivan has also been working with industry on a mental health campaign around women _ there were a lot based around men, which was necessary, but it was time to make sure women had support too, she said.
Providing insight into primary industries
16 April 2018, Otago Daily Times
I ventured off to her Web site, and the home page description said it all!
I have a varied background covering agriculture, animal health, rural communities, food and beverage marketing, entrepreneurship, business ideas + ownership, growing food, building our own home, and raising a family.
Whoah. That’s a background with a variety of different activities!
I then thought about the phrase and my own career – which has had me as a roadie for KISS for a few concerts, to a professional accountant, to a stint as an IT specialist, e-mail and tech consultant, to time as a ‘competitive intelligence professional,’ then to an author, radio show host and columnist with 34 books about the Internet and technology to a futurist focused on disruption, trends, and things such as artificial intelligence. Not as varied as Chanelle, but perhaps I might fit the bill.
What might be common to multipotentiality? This!
What is common to a multipotentialite?
The more I dug into the topic, the more excited I became. It seems they are relentless in learning – new knowledge is the process, and new experience is the goal. They have excessive levels of creativity, often combined with a lack of focus. Exploration and curiosity are the foundation for a new world – today is just a stepping stone into a different tomorrow. They are often told by others that they should conform, align to expectations, not deviate from a path, and be like everyone else – but the simple fact is – they cannot. They often suffer from a deficit of attention and focus that is sometimes diagnosed. They believe that learning new skills is more important than mastering one skill. They don’t usually fit well into existing careers and structures! The boredom of routine is deadly, and there is little patience for structure.
Their spouses, family, and friends usually struggle with their lack of focus! (LOL!)
This usually leads to a situation in which they have different careers and jobs throughout their lifetimes – which fits what I will often describe on stage when it comes to the future of careers: “A child today will have 5 or 10 different careers throughout their lifetime – and perhaps 35 or 40 different jobs!”
I continued with my research and came across a commencement speech by a fellow named Alessandro Woodbridge for a graduating class at Quinnipiac University.
I am one of the rare few that had considered the possibility of trying a major in every school that Quinnipiac University offers.
This would explain why, for nearly two years, I was undecided. I was also serious about my considerations, too, even taking classes in them with the intention of potentially declaring this as my major.
I went from College of Arts and Science, to thinking about psychology as my major, then to thinking about an Italian minor, to considering biomedical science as my major, making this my minor instead and then eventually, begrudgingly declaring on the broad major that is management.
Your major doesn’t define you
4 October 2017, U-Wire
That’s some diversity of background! The thing is = many of us know people like this! Or, we are that person!
He goes on:
Is there something wrong with you if you’re unable to stick with anything?
I’ve been bouncing off the subject a lot, and I can imagine it’s causing anxiety just reading all of this, but this is all exactly how I felt up until my junior year.
I had no idea what I wanted to do and it caused me so much anxiety. I honestly felt like something was wrong with me because I couldn’t stick with anything and I was afraid to. I was incredibly scared of the feeling of being limited when I graduate college as a result of whichever degree I choose. I was worried this said something about me as a person, that I am uncommitted and that after college I am just going to be unsure of myself.
Then I realized I couldn’t be more wrong. This notion that I have to be one thing as opposed to many things stemmed from when we were kids. It’s the world’s culture.
That innocent question ‘what do you want to be when you’re older?’ doesn’t sound so innocent anymore, does it? But that question doesn’t come in such simple forms. In fact, there are a variety of ways this is said, like ‘what is your major going to be when you graduate college?’ Even though the innocent questions could inspire people to dream about what they could be, it doesn’t inspire people to dream about all they could be.
This idea of one true calling or people finding out what they’re destined to do is highly emphasized within our culture. As if we are all venturing out in the world to find out the job that has been calling for us.
We are not all wired this way, most people don’t want to be put down in this kind of framework and it’s not being ‘too liberal’ to think like this either as we are playing with something far greater, we are juggling with how we want our stories to be written.
If you feel like you do not fit into this pattern, don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re a multipotentialite .
A multipotentialite is someone with many interests and pursuits, according to Wapnick.
One of many things Wapnick describes about when to talking about multipotentialites is that they can use idea synthesis to combine two or more disciplines and incorporate this into something different and potentially something greater.
Your major doesn’t define you
4 October 2017, U-Wire
The last line nails it, and is directly related to my inspiration today. Learn many things. Have varied interests. Feed your attention deficit, and chart a path of exploration. Learn new things. Explore new ideas.
Be that squirrel.
Because in a world that is changing fast, it’s better to know many things than to know one thing!