Emilie here. Before we jump into today’s post, just a quick reminder that we’re accepting new members in the Puttytribe tomorrow! Could you use some support from your fellow multipotentialites as you build a life around your many passions? Click here to learn more. I look forward to meeting all of the new puttypeep. Woo hoo!
Multipotentialites aren’t well understood by society–we know this. It’s mostly because our psychological makeup isn’t widely recognized as being a THING. Most people simply don’t know what a multipotentialite is. For this reason, they might assume that we’re just someone who is scattered, immature, or that we have ADHD.
We’ve talked about these misunderstandings on the blog before. Today I want to discuss some misconceptions that are held by people who actually acknowledge and respect us–people who might even be multipods themselves.
I’ve noticed these assumptions while giving interviews, answering email questions and even talking with friends. And honestly, I probably believed some of this at one point as well. But the process of writing a book (more on that coming soon) and interviewing so many people from different walks of life has really broadened my perspective of what a multipotentialite is.
Assumption #1. All Multipotentialites Hold Multiple Jobs
Not true. What IS true is that all multipotentialites need some degree of variety in their lives to be happy. Some of them get this variety by pairing together multiple jobs or businesses (I call this the Slash Approach to work). But many others have a single job and either do many different things as part of their job, or have a wide array of hobbies and personal projects that they play with on the side.
Don’t assume that just because someone has a conventional looking career they are any less of a multipod.
Assumption #2. All Multipotentialites Change Careers Every Few Years
Similarly, it’s a mistake to assume that we all quit whatever we’re doing every few years. This may be true of multipotentialites who use the Phoenix Approach, but there are some multipods who remain happy in a field for their entire career!
A career can last a lifetime if the field is interdisciplinary enough to provide opportunities to learn and to integrate your other interests into your work.
And some multipods are happy to stick with a stable well-paying “good enough” job for many many years because they view it as the thing that is funding their creative projects and that makes them possible.
Assumption #3. Multipotentialites Are Not Experts
As Neil discussed in a recent blog post, the dichotomy between depth and breadth is a false one. It’s a mistake to assume that multipotentialites possess only a passing knowledge of different subjects.
Sure, we all have things that we became curious about and drop quickly. But most of us are highly experienced in/knowledgable about some areas (at least eventually. If you’re 20 years old, it might take a bit more time).
Most importantly, as we progress, multipotentialites become experts of the connections between fields.
4. We Are All Multipotentialites
Some people make the argument that everyone has more than one interest therefore we must all be multipotentialites. The thing is that some of us have exponentially more interests then others. The lives of multipotentialites are fueled by curiosity.
Here’s another indication that we aren’t all multipods. I’ve noticed that when people hear about the idea of multipotentiality for the first time, they usually react in one of two ways:
Reaction #1: OMG, that’s totally me!
Reaction #2: Wait, that’s a thing?
Can you guess who multipod is and who the specialist is?
Who knows though. Maybe we are all multipotentialites, and specialists are just people who have given up on the idea that they can keep exploring. I don’t think that gives specialists enough credit though.
What misconceptions about multipotentialites have you noticed (beyond the typical “they’re flaky, confused, etc.”)?
Emilie Wapnick is the Founder and Creative Director at Puttylike, where she helps multipotentialites integrate ALL of their interests into their lives. Unable to settle on one path herself, Emilie studied music, art, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University. She is an occasional rock star, a paleo-friendly eater and a wannabe
scientist carpenter. Learn more about Emilie here.