The Biggest Lie You’ve Ever Been Told

The Biggest Lie You’ve Ever Been Told

Written by Emilie

Topics: Lifestyle Design

If you’ve ever agonized over the question “what am I going to be when I grow up?”, then this post is for you.

Going forward, we’re going to refer to this as ‘The Question’.

The Question has a tendency to creep up on us each time we near the end of an academic program. High school, undergrad, graduate school… the final year is often spent worrying over what our purpose in life is, how we will make a living, and what on earth we will do next.

The Question also arises when we are not in school. It nags at us throughout our employed lives, often in one of its other forms, like “am I really going to do this forever?” or “is this really what I’m meant to be doing?”

We are often assaulted with some variation of The Question at family gatherings or in social settings.

Basically, The Question is everywhere.

To those who have answered The Question and have committed to one specific career path, good for you. I don’t mean to put you down or criticize your life choices here.

(You should know though, that you will likely be faced with this question again… what do the stats say? Most college graduates change jobs like 8 times before sticking with something long-term?!)

In any case, for many of us, The Question remains unanswered. More than that, it is a repeated source of stress. There is something inherently off-putting about The Question too. Something about it makes us feel uneasy.

First of all, how on earth are we to choose one thing to dedicate our lives to at the age of 18, 23 or 26 (or any other age for that matter).

Second, the reason it feels wrong is that it may actually be unhealthy. Wrapping your entire identity up in one thing and excluding all other possibilities can severely limit your ability to grow in new and unanticipated ways. On some level we sense this so we resist making such a seemingly-permanent commitment.

Finally, what if you answer wrong?! What if twenty years from now, you wake up and realize that you hate your job and had some other dreams or passions all along, but were too afraid to pursue those things back in your early twenties?

All of these concerns make answering The Question a really daunting and uncomfortable process for many of us. But thankfully, I’ve got some good news for you…

The Good News – The Question is a Lie

You actually don’t need to answer The Question at all! At least not with one definite answer. What you need to do is reformulate the question.

Instead of asking “what is my one true calling in life?”, ask “what are the many things I would like to experience before I die?”

By changing the question from one career choice or life purpose to many long term goals, you get to relax and suddenly the pressure involved in making a lifelong commitment is gone. Furthermore, you can add and subtract things as you wish. I usually revise my list of goals/things to do before I die once or twice a year.

Once you adopt this kind of thinking, you literally never have to ask yourself The Question again and that is incredibly freeing.

Making Your List of Goals

If time and money were not an issue, what would you do with your time? Imagine your ideal day from start to finish. Make a list of things you want to try before you die. Make your goals specific and root them in emotion rather than reason. For example, don’t imagine a million dollars in your bank account, instead imagine what you would do with that money. Would you travel the world? Start a business? Write a novel? Whatever it is, write it down in vivid detail.

This is all you have to do for now. Once you know what things (plural) you actually want to do while you’re alive, then you can start thinking about how to finance those things. You might find that the financial part is not as hard as you initially thought.

There are many sources of revenue streams beyond a traditional job. There’s freelancing, part-time work that allows for freedom to pursue your goals, self-employment, and even strategically negotiated full-time employment. Many many combinations and options are available. There are ordinary people like you and me, who have no special resources, skills or inheritance to speak of, who are doing just this.

I will say though, that this requires an open mind. You have to be willing to think about money/work in new ways and at least be open to considering some alternatives to what we’ve been told repeatedly growing up: that you go to school, get training, get a good job, save for retirement, and then at age 65 you are free start living your dreams. Throughout the course of this blog I’m going to bring you resources and interviews with people who have radically different views on this and who are living examples that it is possible to turn the model on its head and have the freedom to pursue your dreams now.

We’ll get to the money part in upcoming posts and podcast interviews. But start with your goals. What do you long to do? What are you passionate about? What are some things you might like to try one day? Also don’t just think about yourself, think about how you’d like to change the world and help others. What are some problems that you’d like to help solve?

Think big. Write down your ideal vision, not some “practical” version of your dreams. Imagine yourself on your deathbed, looking back over your life. What is your legacy? Don’t be left with regrets. Write it all down now.

The hardest thing about taking this approach and striving for many goals as opposed to one definite identity, is that it may make you unpopular at family dinners or parties. It is almost inevitable that people will not understand your choice and will try to pressure you into rethinking The Question. Dealing with nay-sayers is one of the hardest things about following your own path through life. But in my opinion, it is a price well worth paying.

What do you guys think? And what are some of the things you would love to do one day?

50 Comments

  1. Colleen says:

    You can stop asking yourself the question, but other people will never stop asking you. Sometimes the reason why they’re asking is completely self-interested: they want to know that other people are following the traditional path, or they want to compare themselves to you, hopefully finding that they have an answer to the question where you don’t, so they’ll feel good about themselves.

  2. Emilie says:

    So true. People sometimes get majorly uncomfortable and even seemed threatened when you start talking about doing your own thing. Sometimes it’s best to keep it to yourself.

  3. Rami says:

    EM! I wish I had read this post years ago!

    First off, I’m going to tell you that I began my mad dash for freedom on June 22nd, the day I decided to quit my much hated marketing job. I’d been working for them for a couple of months, partly for the money, and mostly to make my parents proud. I really wanted to prove to them that I wasn’t a bum doing freelance work, I actually had a steady job with a real paycheck, and no longer required their help to live. I was finally a real person.

    Well, turns out being a real person sucks. I slaved away at this job for months, working my heart out, and never felt validated. Not a single fucking time. All I got out of it was 8 hours a day of my life being stolen from me, and a shitty paycheck at the end of the month.
    When I finally quit, it still wasn’t over, because I stayed an extra month until they found a replacement.

    Finally, July 15th at noon, I packed up my stuff and left, never to return. I can’t tell you how good it felt. I walked out of that office, smiled from the inside, grinned on the outside, and felt like myself again for the first time in months. I went straight up the street to Saint Hubert’s chicken, had some deep fried food, a cold beer, and a great chat with an interesting waitress. In fact, I even gave her a 20$ tip, just because I was feeling like a champ, and ran out grinning like a fool before she saw it. What a day!

    Since then though, The Question has slowly crept back into my life. I’ve begun wondering what I am to do with myself, and whether to try my own thing or work for someone else. It’s tricky. It’s only after determining that I have a whole lifetime ahead of me, and many adventures yet to come, that I’ve been able to let go of The Question and really enjoy myself and the things I do.

    But there’s still the money question. I still need to live, and writing a novel right now doesn’t seem feasible, because I’ll be flat broke in three months. The negotiation I’m currently working on is a job that pays my bills, that I enjoy, and that will only take 4 days of my week. This will give me 3 days to work on my words.

    Anyway, in conclusion, your website is awesome! I’m so glad you wrote this article, and I’ll be checking back regularly!

    • Niamh says:

      Rami, I love this! I can picture myself walking out of my work with that very same big smile on my face! I get the money issue too though, it’s something that always needs to be considered, lest we become hobos on the street. Thanks for your story, it made me smile :)

  4. Emilie says:

    Rami, you have no idea how happy your comment made me. :)

    I love your dash for freedom story too, with the chicken and $20 tip and everything. Those stories are always so simple, but so profound. You really feel like you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing at that moment. It’s a great feeling.

    Yes, the money thing is an issue… But I don’t think it’s as much of an issue as we have come to believe, especially now with the internet. I just mean, I think there are a lot of options beyond the ones that are presented to us. No one tells us about entrepreneurship when we’re kids, for example.

    My hope is to put together a little guide to alternative work arrangements, income streams, or “dream financing” as I prefer to call it… :) I’m going to delineate various models and interview people who are using those models on my podcast. That’s one of my goals for the website.

    Anyway, thank you for your kind words Rami. I’m so happy that you’re a part of the Puttylike community!

  5. kaye says:

    This is a great post, and greatly validating for me and what I’m going through right now.

    My brother is successfully following the career path he has dreamed of since he was 4. So when I changed majors my second year of college, to my family and friends I was “giving up” on what I was “meant” to do–even though my change of path had been preceded by a LOT of introspection, soul-searching, and emotional struggle. Most of them are still convinced I’m just taking a break and will someday devote my life to music again–the way my brother has devoted his life to art–when the truth is, I’ve discovered that there is a lot more to the world than I saw when I was 18, and there is a lot that I want to do with my life. I have some pretty big dreams, and some smaller ones… some pipe dreams, and some I am determined to accomplish. So what that they’re not the same dreams I had in High School, and so what if they change again as I grow and see more of the world and myself. I was proud of what I accomplished as a musician, but I am happier with what I accomplish now, even if it is far less glamorous, because it feel right for me, where I am and who I am.

    • Kaye! It seems like I am in the same situation as you. Do you mind sharing a couple of the dreams you had while you were in High School?

    • Deb H says:

      My daughter decided in the 2nd grade she wanted to be a marine biologist. She held on to that dream and did extra studies in science and oceanography and all related fields, obsessively, into her Jr. year of high school. Then the pressure from school to choose a field of study for her “life’s career” started. She was supposed to commit to a life-long career path at 16 so she could hit collage armed with pre-calsses and a carved-in-stone plan. The stress was making her crazy and she started doubting her 2nd grade dream. Of course, I think reading too much Peter Benchley in grade school and jr. high had a lot to do with it too ;-) The point is, she was being pressured by the system to pick one thing for life. At seventeen. And it stressed her out.
      I pointed out that most people have 10 different careers (careers, not jobs) in their life time. Nothing is forever. And why is she doubting her first career choice? Did she hang on to a dream she had out grown out of habit? Because it gave her an identity of sorts up until now? Because it saved her from having to think about the big scary question mentioned above? (My DH is about to retire and he still wonders what he wants to be when he grows up, you NEVER get away from it).
      Long story, short. Daughter gave some serious thought to what else she might want to do for a career. We talked about what else she spent all her time doing – the answer was clear as day but she had been so focused on the habit of what she thought she wanted she couldn’t see it. She used to make up stories for the baby sitter instead of the other way around. She wrote her first illustrated story in the second grade (I had it bound and still have it). She has written stories of all kinds since. She also spent all her after school hours in drama, choir, orchestra, writing club, New Age club, on the debate team… you get the picture. She decide to pursue writing and is now in Grad school, still doing writing as her primary career goal. But the choice has allowed her to dabble in anything and everything that interests her (which is a lot).
      I could not be prouder.

    • Noa says:

      Hi kaye, I am from Italy and i am writing six years after you. I feel like you were. How are you now ?

  6. jesse says:

    great post. Readihg it gave more energy in desogning my unique life style.

    What I want is not money, I want love, appreciation, I want to play a role in helping people get along.

    In doing this, I have decided to focus on creating and designing my life in that. Guess what am getting what I want, and what more. I’ve got my life, my friends and money.

    Emilie, well said, when we focus less on money amd ask the question: what would I like to experience before I die, what we’ll have will close to perfection.

    Thanks.

  7. FearfulGirl says:

    This is a really beautiful concept. I felt so much anxiety at 20 when I finished university and realized “This is my life from now on: work to live, live to work, forever and ever. The end.”

    I was unwilling to accept that. I moved overseas for a year, met an adventurer, sailed across an ocean with him, wrote a book and became a freelancer. I’m excited about what’s next.

    You have to ignore convention, listen to your whims and go down paths that are scary! Work + mortgage + kids + suburbs + saving for retirement is the standard, expected norm. But why??!!

    • Emilie says:

      I know right?! Total social construction! We’ve bought into this crap for too long.

      Good for you Torre, taking your destiny(/ies) into your own hands!! That’s awesome.

    • Anjesen says:

      Wow look, it’s Torre DeRoche on Emilie Wapnick’s site! Hi, Torre. Hi, Emilie.
      Torre: Love with a chance of drowning is absolutely beautiful and inspiring. I love your site
      Emilie: I love your music and your wit and your enthusiasm in everything you do, thank you for your timely advice, your site is now my favorites and I’m devouring the articles. You both girls are awesome.

  8. Nic says:

    Well, I typed the most blatant question into google, ” why can’t I decide on what to do with my life ” and this blog popped up. I would love to talk to people like me and share thoughts. I also wanted to point out the occasional semi-panic attacks I have whenever I try to picture where my life is headed. I WANT TO LEARN EVERYHING I CAN BEFORE I DIE!! lol

    • Emilie says:

      Haha that’s awesome that this post came up in response to that search query! I love it.

      Nic, welcome to Puttylike. I think you’ll find that there’s a pretty great community here of scanner personalities who have embraced their multipotentiality and the fact that you don’t need to only do one thing in life. (It’s pretty awesome when you come to that realization, huh?)

      I’m not sure you’ll be able to learn EVERYTHING before you die.. haha.. but you’ll certainly be able to learn a lot! I know it can all get a little overwhelming at times too. That’s one of the reasons I started the site- to help scanners base our lives around variety, without getting overwhelmed.

      Anyway, I’m happy you made your way here! :)

  9. Ruby says:

    Can I just thank you for your many awesome posts, podcast and personal interaction? I always felt like having varied interests was a detriment, while simultaneously deriving great joy and making an impact with them….it was confusing to enjoy so many different things while also feeling I was immature or dabbling too much.

    It’s a lie that we have to have one path. It’s a lie that work has to feel like work. It’s a lie that your work life and personal life have to be segregated from one another.

    I shall say “thank you” by hitting the “share” button. I think many of my friends could use this! :)

  10. I agree with Colleen, so many people do ask to compare to themselves I think the conventional path just doesn’t cut it anymore, and more and more people are asking what else is there?

    I had to ask who/what I was living for and it wasn’t for the right reasons.

    I really like this post, a very transparent and digestible way to tackle goals.

  11. Dyamond says:

    Great job! I am already looked at strange in my family for numerous reasons, so I might as well keep up the reputation.
    Even though I’ve been contemplating in great detail lately the things I’d like to accomplish in this lifetime, I’ve never considered that “the question” doesn’t have to exist! It’s like a load has been taken off my chest. I don’t have to give anyone an answer? That’s a relief because I don’t think that answer will ever be set in stone.

    At the moment I want to become a yoga teacher. I also want to become a music teacher. I want to help people find themselves through creative expression. I don’t know how I’m going to do those things, but I’m thinkin about it.

    I really like your stuff. *Hugs*

  12. Emma says:

    “what are the many things I would like to experience before I die?”

    I love it. Despite definitely escaping the “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question, this is one of those concepts that’s so ingrained in us socially that it went on operating in me under the surface and I didn’t even know about it!

    I have spent a lot of time recently asking “Well should I do the counsellor/therapist/coach/supporting others in reaching their potential role? Or the creative/punch-people-in-the-gut-emotionally-with-my-art role? Or the diagnostic/advisor/business process improvement role?”

    And the strange thing is, despite choosing the first of those three for the time being….it never occurred to me I could set them up in succession (or overlap, or concurrently, or whatever).

  13. Franis Engel says:

    My issue is that I have too many dreams – How are they ALL going to happen?
    I’m not sure how I’m going to get to go to Iceland to experience the hot springs there or what’s going to take me to Brazil on a music orgy tour, (or how I’m getting back!) I’m also not sure how to take a project for the ride it deserves of outlining improvisational performance – but it is what it is!

    Here’s a multi-talented person I met who spells out her ever-expanding “life list” here: http://dianneaigaki.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/dianne-aigakis-life-list-4/

  14. Livia says:

    I just discovered your blog and I am immensely relieved to find that I am normal. For over 20 years, I have been trying to figure out what my calling is, to no avail. I felt I never grew up because I never found it. Now that I know that I am a multipotentialite, I don’t have to stress about it anymore. Thank you.

  15. Great post Emilie. I have been talking about this notion for a long time and have so many projects surrounding “THE” question that I have to say you covered it very nicely.

    I just came across your blog today and this post immediately popped out at me. I think you will see why when you take a quick peak at a talk I gave: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG5pbdnkMZE&feature=feedlik

    Somehow I think you and I have a lot in common so I’m looking forward to following along with Puttylike even closer.

    Thanks for the post!

  16. Martin says:

    Nice article Emilie,

    I can relate to a lot of this. Before it has yet manifested in the physical world, I have been setting an intention to live similarly to what I think you are referring to here.

    The reason I may not seem sure what exactly you mean, is just that I have only watched your intro video, then began with ‘start here’ and read this article.

    I do love where you seem to be headed, and this type of open-mindedness towards our futures and occupations is relatively new to me.

    I am inspired just reading this, and hearing your intentions with this site, as I have never been able to categorize myself, and what you are saying resonates.

    So, some of my passions are spirituality, the makings of success, cars, Skylines in particular, drag racing, and the idea of earning income through different avenues and creating a life set to my standards.

    Some specific goals are to own my dream house on the ocean with an 8 car garage, travel around whenever and wherever I want, domestically in an RV, with the racecar(s).

    That’s a good start to my list :)

    Thanks,

    Martin

  17. Maria, Copenhagen says:

    I’m so happy, I found you!
    What relief! I’m okay as I am!!!

    THANX a lot!!!

  18. paul says:

    Could not lurk through even one more without commenting. Felt wrong somehow, not sayin hi to people (peeps?) I feel an instant connection to so…hi! Just kinda stumbled on over to this place… is it still alive, Em, or did you perhaps move on to other things? =8^D anyways, sure I’ll catch up w/ you all tomorrow, pretty late here. I know not proper section for introducing myself, eh I’m pretty random. Take me as you will, or don’t lol. Hopefully contribute some insight and obtain even more…

  19. Conrad says:

    I can connect with this article however the crux for me is that I am one of those people who if i do something, I live it completely so its very difficult to then have multiple areas of focus. Emilie, your site seems to provide relief and medication for multipotentialites who know thats what they are. What about for people like me, who want to become multipotentialites, but have difficulty in not becoming so absorbed in one area of focus?

  20. Sara says:

    Hi! This article and your other articles are really interesting! I consider myself a person with many interests, though I am uncertain whether or not I am a multipotentialite. However, ‘The Question’ is actually my favorite question to ask, and it’s not really because I want to limit anyone, I just find it really fascinating to hear what plans people have, and I really admire people who know what they want and what their passion is (not to say that you cannot have more than one passion of course).

    Personally, I tend to dislike the question “what are you doing nowadays?” worse, seeing as I am, according to this society of specialization, doing nothing. Even though I am in the process of publishing some of my poems, making a movie with my cousins, writing a novel, and advancing my drawing/photography/cooking skills. I can really see in people’s expressions after I tell them this that they think something along the lines of “oh, ok, so she is unemployed and not really doing anything”, just because I do not have a job and not studying at the moment =.=

    Anyways, sorry for the rant, just venting some of my thoughts ^^;

  21. Hello,

    WoWsers!

    I just stumbled across this website last night/early this morning through the wikipedia article on multipotentiality –

    And I am so happy and grateful that I did! ~

    I am just gobbling up all of your work, and your perspective, I already feel, is opening my eyes to another way to look at my life, reality, and the world !-

    Much of my life, I have found myself bombarded by comments by naysayers and such, some of whom I count as my closest friends and peers – who are bewildered by my multifaceted approach to life and work, and are more than happy to expound about how I need to “focus”, “stop being lazy”, “get serious”, “grow up”

    -or-

    even worse approximations of “Do you have ADhD?” – “I really think you should see a psychiatrist for your issue” –

    It is so beyond wonderful to find a place where I am not only given permission to be me, but also am being equipped with a toolbox to navigate this world of aggressive specious specialization –

    Incidentally, I am the proprietor of a “Renaissance Business” – (I love that you have created that term, I think it is perfectly exemplifying) – working in Art, Design, and Invention – “Atlas Design Company” –

    I am now ready to climb to the rooftops and shout:

    “I am here, I am a multipotentialite, I am puttylike, and that’s okay! —> Get used to it!” –

    Thank you Emilie for the long awaited, much needed, validation and permission to be me! There is no overstating the value and importance of your work.

    Peace Along The Way,

    Kody J. Bosch
    Atlas Design Co.
    Custer, Wash

  22. Stacy says:

    The “one thing” I want to do is try new things, be fairly self-sustaining and self-sufficient, and enjoy life and those around me. The absolute worst answer that tears me up every single time either I say it or someone says a version of it for me is an answer to my kids “can we do ____ this together” and the answer is “no I have to work”! WHY? Why can’t we live on a piece of land, do what we want, as we want, and enjoy every day of it? That’s what I want to do!! I want acreage, a huge garden, orchards, animals, and more than anything a place that inspires me to find the beauty in everything around me. A place I can teach my kids in a free way how to do, try, experiment, and think! Macrame this week, pottery next, pop into the garden for a snack any time, pull a few weeds while we’re there… You get the picture! No two days ever the same. BUT, every day filled with love, laughter, and joy! WHY do I have to wait for my kids to graduate and I can “retire” to even get close to that? That just seems wrong! Why does the bulk of “the world” find that to be wrong?

  23. Keith Kehrer says:

    My wants list overwhelms me at times. Most involve arts and creating, some would require a time machine but I am not saying die on them either.

    Keith

  24. FLEUR says:

    A few years ago I was puzzling over what I wanted to do and head towards – I was stuck in a rut and felt like every day was just wasting time for the next day. So, I asked my mother what I said I wanted to do when I grew up when I was a child – I thought this may give me some direction as childhood passions tend to come through in adulthood. Her reply, very nonchalant, even with that little wave of her hand, was “Oh, you said you wanted to be everything” and she went back to her cup of tea. Great, thanks childhood me, very helpful >_< But you know what,as amusing as I find the irony of this revelation, I really do want to be everything, and i plan to be!
    -Fleur

  25. Sandy W says:

    Several years ago, I had my palms read; it was for charity, so I thought “Why not?” The elderly lady tsk’d tsk’d and told me that I had too many talents. I said that was good! She said No! I had to choose one and develop it.
    So, for years, that simple, little old lady tormented me. Her small bit of advice ate at me. Which talent? I tried to develop as many as I could, but none were THE ONE. When I found this site, I cannot tell you the relief I felt. That old bat was wrong! I CAN have all my talents. I WILL have all my talents and I’ll even find more – just to spite her. Well, of course, now I know that it’s my nature & I can’t really stop anyhow.

    • Emilie says:

      Wow! It’s amazing how a small comment like that have such long term impact. I think it happens to all of us in different, often subconscious ways. Glad you made it here! :)

  26. Lawrence says:

    I’ve been struggling for years about which path to take. My problem has always been deciding, as there was always that niggle in the back of my mind “what if I make the wrong choice?”.

    I think this has held me back, as I felt that I had to make one choice and stick with it – we are always told to apply grit and stick with one thing. This just didn’t sit right with me.

    Thanks to discovering your site, I feel a whole weight has lifted off my shoulders. The answer to my question is simple – do them ALL!

    However, I do have another problem now. Like most multipotentialites, I am going to become slightly obsessed with this subject and will be spending the rest of today and tonight reading through your articles – which leads me to my problem. I will have nothing left to read in the morning!

    Would greatly appreciate it if you could spend tonight preparing some more articles ready for tomorrow!

    Seriously, you are a breath of fresh air and a great inspiration. Keep spreading the message wherever you can – I know I will be.

  27. I started a list back in 2004. The first one was what I wanted to do before I hit 40. My top goal was to earn enough money to retire from engineering early so I could start over!

    I even reconsidered starting over – because of the assumptions behind The Question. I reasoned that I would still have to give up other interests in order to focus on a new career, be it graphic design, music or interior design.

    My more recent lists have evolved into what you’ve described – the projects I want to work on and the things I want to do in life. But it has always been a closely guarded secret and never made much sense to me until I found your TED talk and Puttylike.

    I didn’t expect to learn so much about myself from someone else’s blog!

  28. Palak Marwah says:

    Hey Emilie!
    You might have heard this more than a couple of times, but by accident as I found your TED talk and dug deep into your work, I wound up on puttylike.com
    The Question is surely a premonition of panic for multipotentialites, more so in a country like India where stable is the only way of life. Unable to find your singular true calling is considered a deficiency and flaw, moreover the person is considered to be a jack of all trades and master of none and also a superficial learner. It is difficult to express in words what I, as a multipotentialite, feel on discovering so many people like me and a platform to interact, be guided and guide the likes of me.

    We all are waiting for the day when autocorrect identifies multipotentialite as a formal word and does not show the red underline! Apart from the society, even technology needs to embrace us ! :D

    ~ Palak Marwah
    A passionate multipotentialite Indian in the path of discovering herself!

  29. Alina says:

    Thank you so much for the post! Me, too, I wish I´ve read this years ago.
    Oh dear, The Question was the biggest pain in the ass for the most part of my life! I´ve always made really good marks at school, because it had all those interestings things… but then I´ve finished highshcool and was forced to choose a career. I´ve picked up Arts, then, a year end a half later I was bored to death, dropped it, started Journalism, got bored again, dropped it… passed years of my life working as a waitress or simillar, really believing there was something profoundly and structurally wrong with me. Five years ago I´ve joined a womens bookstore`s owner and together we´ve lounched a e-learning platform for women and feminist studies. I was so damn happy I´ve forgot The Question! It was really fun until few months ago. Yeap, I´ve kind of started fealing “unatached”, needing something new. My energy was moving towards a different direction, alltough I didn´t knew what it was going to be. I am sure you know what I´m talking about.
    Luckily, this sumer i´ve run in to an article about highly talented adults at talentdevelop.com and, for the first time in my life, somebody with authority actually told me I WAS OK. Such a relief! So, one thing led to another, and here I am, like a blank page: I left my bussines and I´m planning to move to Lisbon (I live in Seville, Spain) and dedicate myself to arts and creativity, and marketing, and bussiness coaching, and… you understand me, don´t you? Trying to figure out how should I approach my multipotentiality to make a living.
    So, forgive me for the lenght of the comment, but I am really exited about this moment of my life and the opportunity to make it my own way. Thank you!

  30. Tony says:

    Emilie,

    This is absolutely, beautifully, written.

    …and yet still no words to describe.

    Please do keep it up.

  31. About that one comment from parents that can literally destroy a life? I had that. I wanted to do a history degree. I was 17 and when my father said that the only thing one can do with a history degree was to be a teacher and I said I didnt want to be a teacher. He said well then you better so something useful. like accounting. My dad was an accountant. I did that first year at university doing Commerce and I HATED it. I failed all my exams and was suspened from university for 1 year on “academic probation.” I never bothered to go back and I have been DRIFTING ever since – for more than 20 years. Done lots of things, seldom stayed more than 12 months in any one job. Finally completed a Business Administration diploma but without a job, I cannot repay my student loan. I cannot beleive that my dad did not know that with a history degree, I could have become a librarian. I loved reading back then – still do. Now I am just a SAHM. I feel so useless. Like my life was wasted!!!

    • Keith says:

      There are those that tell you that nothing you do in life is a waste. I believe that.You are on a journey. Some people don’t know who there are and have to uncover that. Some people (like) me know exactly who they are but struggle with how to be who they are in the world. Sounds like money and business are not your things. At least you figured out what doesn’t work for you. Try something else. Jump!! The invisible net is always there.

      KK

    • Antonella says:

      HI Francesca,
      I am exactly like you, I feel like I wast my 27 years of life and that I am late in everything! I fineshed my degree late,I need to find a job bacause I must to be independent first all. I need money to find out who I am and who I want to be. I need to escape where I am stuck now.

      Is it late ? I feel breathless. But thanks to this amazing blog I realized that I am not the only confuse person !!!! but my question is always there : am I late in life ?

  32. John Paul Hennessy says:

    Dear Emilie, Thank you so much for being the inspiration that has helped me to change my life, Ive never had a moment of such pure clarity until I came across a definition for what I call ‘My condition’. I am 100% multipotentialite and as all of us here I thought I was the only one, what is wrong with me etc etc. I have gained an unfound confidence in knowing there is a community to share with. The pressure of society/culture to conform to a singular career has caused me great anxiety. Thank you from my heart for opening my eyes.

  33. Ashely says:

    I’ve always thought that something was wrong with me because I was I was drifting away from the traditional college route and interested in so many things. I’ve talked to school career guidance counselors but they’ve always told me the same thing…you have two choices a Major or Minor but they both have to be in a similar field. I was really inspired after reading this article…YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE WHAT SOCIETY WANTS TO MOLD YOU INTO!!! thank you, I broke out of the Mold society wanted me to be and this article is fucken awesome. I will share it with friends…I am going to be an entrepreneur, audio producer, and computer scientist…

  34. Sasha says:

    Hey ! I’m glad I discovered this site (^.^)

    I’m 18 and soon will be joining college …only problem being I don’t know which !! ….. I can join medical college or engineering or designing …
    gosh I feel stupid for even saying this .
    My friends think that I’m indecisive and often laugh :<
    Also I'M VERY MUCH INTO MUSIC . I SING PLAY PIANO AND GUITAR AND WRITE and also dance .
    But this all makes me sad when I think I'll never be able to excel …since I just seem so scattered .
    My family would want me to be a doctor .
    But I'm very scared …scared that I'll be doing that one thing my entire life. I'm not able to sleep at night .
    Another problem is money .
    I need money to support my family in few years since we are not that well off at the moment and I really want to help .

    I'd be glad if anyone gives any helpful advice .
    Thank you :)

  35. Shannon says:

    As a multipotentialite who has been in the workforce for 30 years, there is a secondary lie that accompanies the first one – which is that every pursuit/interest/talent must somehow be tied to career, income and the almighty dollar to be worthwhile.

    This devalues true worth that is gained, such as personal growth, enjoyment, quality family time, meeting new people, improved health, stress release, relaxation, etc, even if no money is ever earned.

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