Are you a glass half full or glass half empty kind of person? It’s the same glass of water for all of us, so it just depends on how we decide to interpret what we see.
It’s all a question of perspective.
It can be challenging to uncover what links together all the different strands of your interests into one unified overarching theme. This can be especially frustrating (and fantastic) when you’re continually discovering new interests, as your theme needs to keep evolving too.
How A Distraction Helped Me Hone My Overarching Theme
In a recent post I talked about how I’d gone off on what felt like a complete tangent, by starting some dressmaking when I’d planned to do some clay modelling.
When I’m trying to figure out the hows and whys, I find it’s easier to spill my thoughts out onto paper than to leave it all jumbled together in my head. I start by scribbling ideas down in boxes, before mapping out connecting lines between those boxes. This is what I doodled after my dressmaking tangent:
To my amazement, the dressmaking just dropped right into place. I’ve even managed to get such seemingly different interests as shoemaking, architecture, and psychology to come together under a single theme – design interventions.
How To Figure Out Your Overarching Theme
If you’d like to gain a fresh perspective on your overarching theme, here’s a three-step exercise you might like to try:
1) Grab your list of interests
Every multipotentialite has far more interests and ideas than he or she can keep store in their head. Most of us have some kind of bucket list or system for keeping track of all those things that have captured our interest.
Now’s a good time to grab that list, or to start one if you don’t already have one! If you are starting your list afresh or thinking about revamping it, here are some ideas on creating a list and on curating your life.
2) Play around with groupings
You don’t have to get every single interest to link to each of your other interests (although sometimes this can happen). Instead of a spiderweb, you may find your interests form into clusters, circular chains, or ladders.
- Clusters: Interests cluster into small groups. It’s the broader theme from each of these groups that links to the themes of the other clusters.
- Chains: Each interest links to another one or two to create a circular chain. Interests on opposite sides of the circle may not relate directly to each other but they do relate to those either side of them.
- Ladders: This is like the chains idea but the two ends don’t have to join up. Think about the idea of six degrees of separation, which suggests that everyone is six or fewer steps away from any other person in the world. By creating a series of “friend of a friend” connections, any two people can be shown as connected in a maximum of six steps.
3) Change your perspective
If you’re going to look for new ways to link your interests together, try shifting how you see things. Here are a few techniques you might like to test out:
- Mindfulness: Try sitting back and observing rather than focusing on finding links. The subconscious mind has tends to come up with solutions when we’re not really trying to find them, just as crossword solutions often don’t come to mind until the day after we do the crossword.
- Introspection: Look at your emotional responses to each of your interests. Maybe the connection between some of your interests is how they make you feel or an experience they evoke rather than subject matters.
Over to you!
What’s your overarching theme? How did you decide to group things to make sense of all your interests?
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.
If you’d like to learn more about turning all of your interests into one business, check out Renaissance Business.