I’ve just taken on some new work, and not surprisingly for a multipotentialite, it’s going to take me off on a bit of a career tangent.
There I was, brimming with excitement as I chatted to a friend about all the juicy details.
“Oooh, I don’t know how you do it,” she exclaimed. “I couldn’t face the idea of having to retrain, especially at our age!”
I have to admit I was totally flabbergasted by her comment, and once I’d had time to pick my jaw up off the floor, I re-ran the conversation in my head. I couldn’t imagine not wanting to change career every few years, and I certainly couldn’t imagine not wanting to keep on learning my whole life.
She’d made it sound as though learning was a chore, something to be avoided unless absolutely necessary, almost as though it was a punishment. Whereas I’ve always thought learning was fun. In fact, I’d so far as to list it as one of my top five, all time favourite activities.
Learning is not just a means to an end
I guess our approach to learning is one of the main differentiators between multipotentialites and specialists.
For many specialists, learning is something they need to do in order to demonstrate their expertise. By studying for a certificate, diploma or degree, they’re able to evidence their competence to undertake tasks within their specialism. The learning is just something they have to do along the way.
We multipotentialites on the other hand, often crave learning and unlike the specialist, it’s rarely for the piece of paper we receive at the end.
Is it the learning experience itself, not the certificate, we’re after?
You’re probably familiar with the heady rush that comes from signing up for a new course and the sense of excitement at what is to come. With eager anticipation each summer, I look forward to the launch of the new course prospectus from my local college. I scour their website in search of new classes to take. Will it be Spanish or Italian this year? Or maybe yoga? Horticulture? Metalwork?
In addition to perusing the evening classes, I probably spend the equivalent of several weeks each year, surfing university websites and pondering whether to sign up for another undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
It’s just for fun you understand, my learning desire’s not part of some grand career plan.
It all stems from a deep rooted desire to learn, and it’s a desire that ignites an internal battle within me: part of me eager to enroll now, whilst another part attempts to rationalise that burning desire. I try to remember I’m in learning “crave” mode, and not to part with my cash until I’ve slept on any decision for at least a few nights.
But these days temptation is everywhere. Have you seen the online, open access courses being offered by the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)?
Where once we were limited by geographic location, a lack of finance, or even social class, now it’s possible to study with some of the world’s greatest universities, and all from the comfort of your very own sofa. You can choose to take modules with US universities such as MIT, Princeton, Stanford and Harvard. With the best part being, it’s totally free! Who’d have thought that’d ever be possible?
As someone based outside the US, I certainly didn’t. I can barely hide my delightment that this educational model has caught on and is going global. Following hot on the heels of the US-based MOOCs, an Australian version has already launched and a new partnership of UK universities (Futurelearn) begins in autumn 2013.
I really feel like I’m a kid in a candy store. I just don’t know which course to choose first
I’m fascinated too, by the wealth of opportunities that this online learning revolution can provide, not just for me, but for people worldwide. Maybe we really are entering a new age of enlightenment, a 21st century learning Renaissance.
If this truly is the age of knowledge, where better for us multipotentialites (or Renaissance Souls as we’re sometimes called) to find ourselves, but at the very heart of a new era of learning?
Now all we’ve got left to do is work out how to balance those intense cravings for learning, with the number of spare hours we have in a day. (And that, as they say, could take some time.)
Over to you!
Do you get learning “cravings”? Have you found a way of managing them, or do you enjoy giving in to them?
Bev is an artist, creativity coach and founder of Kickass Creatives, a website offering practical support to frustrated creatives. She’s over 20 years of working in the arts: experimenting with everything from performing in a fire circus and managing a hiphop dance company, through to web consultancy and jewellery design. Bev is passionate about using her experience to enable others to fully develop (rather than hide) their multitude of talents too. Connect with her on Twitter @creativekickass.