The Major League Multipotentialite: How to Excel in Multiple Careers
Photo courtesy of slgckgc.

The Major League Multipotentialite: How to Excel in Multiple Careers

Written by Brenda Scott

Topics: Famous Multipotentialites

Do you ever find yourself looking around for multipod role models and coming up short? Sure, we hear about Pythagoras, Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander Graham Bell, and George Washington Carver, but what about someone we could meet today?

What about an electrical engineer who was also a Major League baseball player who played on winning teams in two World Series, and who is also a medical doctor?

If you’re lucky enough, you might just get to meet this incredible man of our own time – Dr. Ron Taylor. And if you don’t, be sure to check out Ron Taylor: Dr. Baseball – a short documentary about his life that premieres this autumn.

Meeting Dr. Baseball

I first learned about this notable multipotentialite from a Canadian friend of mine who was his patient. She told me she’d had no idea how famous he was among baseball fans; as far as she was concerned, he was just her excellent and very nice doctor.

She worked in a Canadian school and had to get a note from him for some sick leave. However, after turning in the note, she noticed on her next pay statement that no sick days had been docked from her record. When she went to see the administrator at her school to find out why, he told her that it was because he had not submitted the form.

She asked why, and he pulled the note out of his desk drawer, asking, “Do you have any idea how much this is worth?” He had recognized Taylor as not only my friend’s doctor, but also as a baseball player who had not allowed a single hit during his seven innings pitched in four World Series relief appearances.

A Passion for Learning

Taylor started playing baseball at the age of eight. He was a prodigy pitcher. Because he was a lefty, his mother was concerned he would have cardiovascular ailments if he pitched with his left hand, so she made him learn to pitch right-handed by tying his left hand behind his back.

While he was still in school, Taylor was offered a contract with the Cleveland Indians but, after the 1956 season, he decided he wanted to finish high school and then attend the University of Toronto to earn an engineering degree.

Although he was offered an education in Cleveland in order to keep training with the team, he chose to return to Canada for his education. He negotiated that he would only pitch during the summer, missing spring training while completing his education.

After graduating at the top of his class of engineers at the University of Toronto in 1961, Taylor played ball. During his career he pitched for the Cleveland Indians, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the New York Mets, working in the off-seasons as an electrical engineer. He said, “In New York, I really found a home. I worked hard and I pitched well.”

Career Number Three

Along the way, Taylor joined several major league players on a tour of military hospitals in Guam, Okinawa, the Philippines, and Saigon. Here he met doctors and talked with them about their work. This was perhaps the spark that led him to apply to medical school when his pitching career finished when he was thirty-four.

Thirty-four-year-old Taylor went to see the dean at the University of Toronto medical school. Noting that Taylor has graduated from engineering school in 1961, the dean asked what he had been doing for the past eleven years. When Taylor responded that he had been playing Major League Baseball, the dean responded, “What’s that?

Taylor was then told that the medical school rarely accepted people over the age of thirty, because they didn’t “want people changing careers.” When the university officials looked at Taylor’s grades, they told him that if he had been twenty-five, he would have been accepted.

Instead, they told him he had to go back and take pre-med courses before applying. They told him that if he got similar grades in organic chemistry and microbiology to the grades he got all of those years ago in engineering, they would consider him. They gave him 50-50 odds on his acceptance.

That was good enough for Taylor, so he persevered, taking classes from 8am to 5pm, sleeping from 5pm until 9pm, and then studying for twelve hours through the night until 7am. Not surprisingly, Taylor excelled academically and, with great references including one from the Mets president, he was finally accepted.

Taylor graduated from medical school in 1977. In 1979 he became the team doctor for the Toronto Blue Jays and he began a general medical practice in Toronto. This is where my friend met him as her physician.

Lessons from a Multi-Career Life

What can we, as multipods, learn from Dr. Taylor’s multi-career life? I believe there’s more to learn from him than can be covered in one blog post, but here are a few of the things his story has taught me.

  • Hard work is important in any career.
  • Negotiate for what you want in your life.
  • It’s not too late to start a new career, even if others tell you it is.
  • It is possible to excel in more than one field.
  • It is possible be world class in one area and to do other things too.

To find out more about the life of this incredible multipotentialite, be sure to watch out for the documentary, Ron Taylor: Dr. Baseball.

Your Turn

What other present-day multipotentialites have you come across? How have their stories inspired you?

brenda-bioDr. Brenda Scott is a fine art photographer, writer, and cellist. Originally trained as a musician and organologist, she has worked as a curator of a small musical instrument museum and her Stagville: Black & White exhibit has been displayed at the North Carolina Museum of History and is currently on tour. She enjoys teaching and holds degrees from the University of Oxford, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Auburn University, and the Academy of Art University. View her work at brendascottarts.com or follow her on Twitter @brendascottarts.

74 Comments

  1. Calluna says:

    And… when people tell you that you won’t be able to achieve something because you don’t have the traditional background, try twice as hard so you can be certain to prove them wrong!

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Hi, Calluna.

      I couldn’t agree more. When there’s something you’re passionate about doing but others tell you that you can’t, it can be a great inspirational challenge that can actually help fuel you to move forward with your personal goals. I’ve done this more than once. (Thank you to the person who told me I couldn’t make it even as an undergrad at Oxford. It was a terrific place to earn a doctorate.)

      Keep dreaming and let the naysayers help you move forward!

      -Brenda

  2. Maryske says:

    Great story!

    Actually, I had been looking into fictional multipods recently (that’s an interesting topic, too…), but the story of this guy sounds amazing, too! A real inspiration.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Wonderful, Maryske!

      I have, too. What are your favorites? I agree – I find Dr. Taylor’s story extremely inspirational.

      • Maryske says:

        The first to come to mind is Diego de la Vega / Zorro from the New World Zorro series (played by Duncan Regehr, who seems quite the multipod himself, too, with a career in acting, boxing, figure skating, painting and I know not what else the guy is doing these days!). This Zorro/Diego character is *very* obviously a multipod, with his interest and talents in music, poetry, physics, chemistry, fencing, law… to name but a few.

        Another that I didn’t realize for many years is Phyllis Nefler (played by Shelley Long) – the Wilderness Girls troop leader in the movie Troop Beverly Hills. It’s subtle, but I do detect it a little there, too. Perhaps she was a frustrated one :-)

        I can think of at least one more, but I need to get back to work!

        • Brenda Scott says:

          Thank you so much, Maryske!

          Duly noted. Diego de la Vega is one of my favorites. I’ll have to check out Phyllis Nefler.

          Great examples!

          -Brenda

          • Maryske says:

            Yeah, Diego is one of my favourites, too.

            Just thought of (what could be) the ultimate fictional multipod: the android Data from Star Trek TNG! :-D Does that count?

            Will get back later about the other one I mentioned before. That one takes some explaining (as I might need to do for Phyllis Nefler as well).

        • Brenda Scott says:

          Data. Brilliant, Maryske! I look forward to more, as and when. :)

          Thanks so much for your contributions here.

          -Brenda

          • Maryske says:

            Since I saw in the other post that you were working on a post on fictional multipods, I remembered I still hadn’t gotten back to you about the other one I had in mind: Carter from the 60’s TV show Hogan’s Heroes.
            Pictured often as a naive country boy, when you watch through the entire series, it is truly amazing the varied set of skills and endless interests this guy displays. Unlike the other members of the team, who are very much specialists in one or two fields, whenever a mission requires something out of the ordinary, it’s nine out of ten times Carter who possesses the necessary skills and knowledge to pull it off. And even if he does not, he still often gets entrusted with the task (and ribbed by his mates who often seem to think he can’t do anything right), and usually pulls it off quite admirably, even if not always perfectly. Now there’s a real multipod in a very specialist environment…

          • Brenda Scott says:

            Hi again, Maryske.

            Thanks for the insights re: Carter on Hogan’s Heroes. I’d never thought of that, but you’re exactly right. I’m going to go back and watch these again. I’ve not seen them since I was a kid. Thanks for the great idea. I’ve got one fictional piece coming up at some point, and am working on more, so this is perfect timing.

            Thank you so much for remembering. :)

  3. Zeno says:

    I feel this article is more about glorifying this exceptional (thus unusual) man than of real help to most of us who aren’t geniuses. Because yes, leonardo davinci was a genius, and so is this man… probably. And they didn’t need any help from anybody making things work, because hey.. they were extremely talented. So I do not identify with this article at all and hope to read articles in the future that are more realistic and useful for most of us multi-talents.

    • Emilie says:

      Zeno,

      Thanks for your comment. I actually think it’s really important to have highly successful and societally-sanctioned multipotentialites to look up to and learn from. I also think it’s important to feature more relatable multipotentialites. We try to do both here at Puttylike.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Thank you for your input, Zeno.

      For me, Puttylike is about sharing, inspiring, encouraging, and supporting multipods. Dr. Taylor is an inspiration for me and many others. I’m sorry if you were not inspired by the story of his life, but there are many other wonderful posts on Puttylike that you might enjoy.

      I do disagree with you on one point, though. Dr. Taylor had to work very hard and had help from many people to do what he has done. It was not all handed to him. Talent only takes one so far. The same goes for people with multiple talents. As I wrote in the post, one of the most important take away messages from Dr. Taylor’s life is that hard work is important in any career.

      For this article, my aim was to inspire, and I have done that for some. What I found exciting about learning about Dr. Taylor was that in spite of all of his great achievements, he’s actually a very humble man.

      Emilie put it very well in saying that it’s important to feature successful – and recognized – multipotentialites while also providing more relatable multipotentials. Puttylike does both.

      I hope you find your inspiration, Zeno, and wish you all the best.

    • Michael says:

      I thought this article quite good and quite relevant. It did mention obstacles presented by others (hand tied behind his back?!? Have to retake classes and prove yourself worthy again?!?). It showed that he worked his tail off. Not sure how this doesn’t relate to just about anyone on this planet.

      Sure, talent played a role. But I’d rather hire someone with moderate talent who works hard than a lazy prodigy.

      I especially like that Dr. Taylor pursued curiosity and passion, not simply a set of commercial endorsements for products, banking on his fame in baseball to glide to retirement.

      Thanks, Brenda, for this wonderful example of what hard work applied to great talent can do!

      • Brenda Scott says:

        Thank you so much for your support and apt comments, Michael! I agree – Dr. Taylor worked extremely hard and faced many obstacles to get where is now.

        Also agreed – I would rather work with a less talented hard worker than a lazy prodigy. Ideally you get to work with the hard-working prodigy. Same with teaching. I had amazing students like this – talented AND hardworking – this past session in the photography classes I teach. That makes teaching a joy.

        Great points, too, about Dr. Taylor not riding on his athletic career and fame. He continued to dream and work hard.

        Michael – you are so welcome. I’m glad you liked this post. There will be more like it, in the hopes that they are an inspiration.

  4. Gene says:

    Sharing examples of “the best” multipotentialites at any given string of jobs or careers is nice. It might even inspire someone who is considering their next move, but what about those peeps who are just successful across multiple projects or career steps along the way, especially those who take on stuff outside their job title, but include unrelated skills or challenges?

    What is the measure of a true “multip….” Do you have to be “the best”, or acknowledged “top of the heap” to be considered a successful, talented, accomplished multipotentialite?

    Just wondering….

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Hi, Gene.

      Success, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. For some, success is another day above ground. For others, success is being a Nobel laureate. Most folks I’ve met fall somewhere between the two.

      It is important to judge your own success. I also think it is wonderful to discover role models who inspire you. When I heard about Dr. Taylor, I was inspired. To top it off, he is a very humble man.

      What is “the best”? How do you even determine “the” best? What might be a better question for each of us to ask ourselves is, “What is MY best?” Or perhaps: “What is MY best way of living life?”

      This brings me back to role models. Role models help me see the potential in humanity. Without having heard Yo-Yo Ma play the cello, I might not have understood how technically proficient one could be. Without knowing about Dr. Taylor, I might have doubted the possibility of having multiple higher degrees and a Major League career as well. I am inspired, even if I will never, ever excel at ball sports or be that kind of doctor.

  5. James says:

    Calluna

    “I seriously doubt whether it is even possible to prove somebody wrong. No matter what you do, you cannot prove somebody wrong because they have formed their whole personality & sense of self based on this, if they admit that they are wrong, it means a part of them is dying, this applies even for you & me. The harder you try to prove them wrong, the more they will strengthen their position because it is their sense of self which is being threatened.

    That feeling you get to prove somebody wrong is also your ego, your sense of self is derived from … and when someone steps over it, you feel like a part of you is dying. In other words, you & the other person are two sides of the same coin.

    Only a person with a very fluid personality will have a perfect balance within (i.e. he will not try to prove that he is right & he will also readily admit when he is wrong) but this is seen as a sign of weakness whereas in reality this is the greatest strength.”

    – Vinodh Gopal via Quora, is it better to prove someone wrong. A obout the treasure on the mountain.

    I think it is always best to accomplish goals, for yourself only. It can’t hurt or help anyone by the accomplishment. But in this case, what Ron Taylor did with his accomplishment, he helped after the fact.

    No egos were stepped on or boosted, except for an over zealous sports memorabilia collector. LOL!

    Maryske, I can think of several fictional multiples too. Brenda and Emilie, should look into this deeper. Books, movies, and any culture influence us. I wonder if any real life multipods show any similar characteristics of fictional multiples.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Well put, James! Bravo!

      In this case I agree that Dr. Taylor worked very hard to achieve his goals. Others had passed judgement on him, but had actually misjudged him.

      I am working on a piece on a wonderful fictional multipod whose character is said by some to reflect the real life of the author. I’ll work on others as well. Fiction can provide a wonderful mirror for reality in some cases.

      Please let me know if there are any specific areas you’d like to hear more about in my posts.

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. James says:

    Zeno, absolutely this story is about glorification. But it also pointed out Mr. Taylor’s determination with four hours of daily sleep, plus schooling and studying, he accomplished his goals.

    Gene, if you are good at computers, tattooing, and running. And you are publicly demonstrating your skills. I do not think you need to be an expert to be a multipods. Because none are really related.

    However if you are good at yoga, running, photography, and the concept of well being. And you are incorporating all four interests or specialties into a business model, such as a blog, conference, or podcast, then you better know your stuff and how they connect.

    The most important aspests of a successful person is Passion and Patience. – Gary Vaynerchuk

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Well put, James.

      I thank you so much for pointing out that Dr. Taylor did what he did through very hard work.

      Yes, as you responded to Zeno, I was aiming to glorify the life of Dr. Taylor. I feel he deserves it, because he is not perhaps as well known as he might be, he has worked extremely hard, he’s a really nice guy, he’s humble and won’t shout his own story from the rooftops (or on the internet), and he has done some really interesting things.

      I thank you very much for jumping in here, James.

      Best wishes,
      Brenda

  7. Zeno says:

    I think every multipotentialite is special. Not just the ones who have reached the “top” according to society. The same society that judges less succesful (but happy) multi’s in a negative way. Maybe that’s the US’s obsession with “success”. What is inspiring to me is someone who lives his/her truth no matter what society thinks. And no matter if society sees him/her as succesful. Being “the best” at something doesn’t really matter. What matters is if you enjoy it, your experience doing it. And I don’t need anybody to applaud me for that.. It doesn’t affect my happiness. My aspiration would thus not be to achieve a lot of things or to be “the best”, but to be fully engaged in the things I do choose to do. To be authentic. With or without a lot of money or recognition.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Well put, Zeno.

      Dr. Taylor would probably be quite embarrassed that such a fuss is being made over his life. He is a very humble man who pursued his dreams. Now his life is the subject of a short documentary made by his two sons.

      I agree with you that you don’t need to be applauded by or deemed the “best” or “successful” by society in order to actually have achieved true, inherent success and happiness. However, I like applauding someone who otherwise would be too humble to share his life’s story with others, particularly when he has had exciting careers. Who knows, perhaps your own search for truth and authenticity will lead to someone writing about your life one day. I think the important issue here is seek our own paths in life, our own truths, and our own happiness.

      I’m not exactly sure where the US and any standards or ideals of success comes into the picture with Dr. Taylor. He is a Canadian and so are the filmmakers. It seems to me that Dr. Taylor was seeking truth in his own life rather than some societal – North American or otherwise – ideal of success. However, it seems he found both.

      Peace.
      Brenda

      • Francis says:

        Now I’m confused about what “multipod” means. My father had more than three careers during his life and he was pretty good at all of them. I don’t see him as a multipod, the signs are not there.

        To be successful in one career implies that you are an adequate specialist in that field. So the good doctor succeeded as a specialist would. He did it very well in three difficult fields and this is what makes him exceptional. Does being a specialist in several field make you a multipod?

        I liked the article and the lessons it draws are important. It’s just that a specialist view of life/success is not healthy for someone like me.

        And being a genius is not about having it easy, it’s about potential. You still need people and lots of work to grow.

        • Emilie says:

          “Does being a specialist in several field make you a multipod?”

          That’s a really good question, Francis, and one that gets at the limitation of labels. At a certain point, isn’t it all semantics? Is a person who excels in three fields a specialist or a multipotentialite? Depends who you ask. But does it really matter?

          I don’t think there’s one way to be a multipod. There’s a spectrum, and at one end are people who move sequentially through their interests and spend a lot of time with one before moving on to the next. Your father might fall into this category. Dr. Taylor would as well. On the other end of the spectrum is someone who has 20 different projects on the go at any given time and is happiest moving through the world that way. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.

          To me, all that the label “multipotentialite” means is that your life and identity isn’t wrapped up in one narrow subject. Beyond that, there are an infinite number of ways to be a multipod.

          • Francis says:

            Hi Emilie :)
            Sometimes yes, it does matter even if there’s a spectrum. If you order some blue shoes online and you get green ones, would you be pleased?

            I understand what you mean but if “multipotentialite” has such a wide claim then I don’t see the point. Nobody’s life is static. It’s not change itself but the rate of change that makes me different. At some point a difference is large enough that you don’t fit in anymore.

            There is no way I can emulate what Dr. Taylor does. One career, eh nope. Three?? You’re kidding right?!? I’m not like the good doctor, I’m something else. Assuming I’m not alone in the world a label will help me find my kin and also help me deal with life.

            Brenda, I’m aware of how words can be slippery. Let me put it this way:

            by knowledge I really mean skill, understanding, experience, knowledge, (etc?)
            generalists have broad, shallow knowledge
            specialists have narrow, deep knowledge
            if you can build a career out of some knowledge I consider you a specialist in that field.

            Which one would you go to, a mechanic with shallow knowledge of his craft or one with a deep knowledge?

          • Brenda Scott says:

            Francis,

            The beauty of Puttylike is that we have a whole spectrum of people here, but the one thing we all have in common is that we do not fit neatly into having only one career or one main interest in life. Some of us become specialists in multiple areas. Some of us remain generalists in multiple areas. Some of us do a bit of both. In addition to what we actually do, we have different goals and objectives.

            I guess what I’m trying to say is that Puttylike is here to inspire and support. When I wrote about Dr. Taylor, I was not aiming to provide a role model for every person here. It was my goal to inspire as many people as possible. Perhaps the next person I write about will be someone you can relate to more – perhaps not. Who inspires you? Who are your role models?

            I wish you all the best and hope you find what you are seeking, Francis.

            Peace,
            Brenda

        • Brenda Scott says:

          Hi, Francis.
          Emilie said it very well, but I just wanted to add my two cents. First – thanks for chiming in.

          Second, I agree with Emilie that there are different ways of being a multipod. I think Dr. Taylor is a multi-specialist rather than a multi-generalist. In my experience, these are quite rare. But for me, it makes Dr. Taylor’s life exciting and inspirational.

          And I think that Emilie’s point about definitions is also excellent. I’ve heard that an expert is just someone who knows 50 things about a topic. That would make MANY people experts on an extraordinary number of activities.

          What I love about definitions is that by learning different ones and derivations, I can learn more about those creating the definitions as well as the society in which they live(d). I love the unabridged OED for this reason. But I digress . . .

          important aspect of thinking about definitions is that we help clarify ideas in our own minds. This is why you’ll often see definitions at the beginnings of doctoral dissertations and theses.

          Words are wonderful. Ideas are wonderful. And the lives of polymaths, multipods, multipotentialites, the well-rounded, interdisciplinary folks, Renaissance people, scanners, and the like are to be celebrated.

          • Francis says:

            Thank you for your replies Brenda, i’ll think about this. I’m trying to understand what puttylike is about. And I’m trying to come to grips with the fact there are others like me. It might seem naive but I thought I was alone (it sure felt like I was). If puttylike can accommodate such a wide variety of people then it truly is a fantastic place!

          • Brenda Scott says:

            Francis,
            Only you can know this for certain, but I think you are in the right place – and I welcome you! You will always be unique, but you don’t have to be alone. And you’re right – this is a fantastic place.

            :)

  8. Perhaps an odd nomination: Andre Agassi. I read his autobiography “Open” twice. I’ve never read a book twice in my life. Now I think I know why it struck me – I think he was a frustrated multipotentialite. He wanted to do other things but was “stuck” playing professional tennis. I identified so much with that frustration. Since retiring, he has gone on to do other things very well, although not as famously.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Thanks for the comment, Douglas Walker.

      I will be sure to check out “Open.” Oh to be “stuck” playing tennis at that level? Yet – I understand the feeling of frustration.

      Anyone else, folks? Who is your favorite famous living multipotentialite? Who is your favorite non-famous multipotentialite?

  9. Brenda Scott says:

    I’m excited that this post has already inspired much discussion and passion. It’s great to hear your voices, multipods!

  10. Mairi says:

    Well, I loved this story! Amazingly, I, too, have had personal experiences with Dr. Taylor (as my family doctor). The interesting thing is that I’m pretty sure that he would be quite embarrassed by being described as a “multipotentialite”. After getting a diagnosis which I wasn’t prepared for, I was devastated. This gentle man shared his accomplishments with me- I had no idea! He described them simply as a series of life choices, hard work and perseverance. He did NOT think he was “special”. He did choose to follow his dreams despite any road blocks. He offered suggestions about how I could continue my “successful” life in different ways, taking my new limitations into account. I think this is a true example of being a “multipotentialite”… being able to share your talents, be they intellectual, physical or emotional, with whoever crosses your path. Is that not why we are here? Our gifts are nothing if they aren’t shared… it isn’t all about “us”. I can’t wait to see the film, “Ron Taylor: Dr. Baseball”!

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Mairi! Lucky you to know Dr. Taylor!

      Thanks for adding your experiences here. In doing research about Dr. Taylor, it made me really want to meet him. He seems like such a wonderful, kind man.

      How interesting that he helped you think about how to continue your success in life through obstacles.

      I love your definition here – “being able to share your talents, be they intellectual, physical or emotional, with whoever crosses your path.”

      The film can’t come too soon to my area. I’m really looking forward to it.

    • Ashley says:

      I love this profile, and I love that you added your personal experience, that he doesn’t consider himself “special.” That is how I feel! I hope Emilie and Brenda continue to spread the word so that it becomes a new norm – we are not special, we are just digging our feet in and tapping into something that we may all have! A potential to do more. I love it! Keep ’em coming.

      • Brenda Scott says:

        Thank you so much, Ashley!
        I love it – “a potential to do more.” Very well put.

        Watch for more – coming soon.

  11. Brenda Scott says:

    Update: “Dr. Baseball,” the short documentary film about Dr. Taylor is getting nominated for and winning prizes: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4722646/awards?ref_=tt_awd

    What other films do you know that feature multipotentialites?

  12. James says:

    1. Princess Diana Spencer of Wales.
    2. Michael Jackson
    3. John Lennon
    4. Anne Frank
    5. Michael Pistorios – See TEDtalks*
    6. Forrest Gump
    7. Oprah
    8. Ellen Degeneres
    9. TavI Gevison
    10. Malala Yousafzai

    I tried to mention people who have faced obstacres in their lives. Some maybe not true multipotentialites but they certainly have proven they enjoy each aspect of their life. I am greatly influenced by these people.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Great list, James!

      Thank you so much. Very inspirational people – duly noted by this writer.

      Anyone else?

  13. James says:

    My apologies, #5 should read Martin Pistorios not Michael.

  14. Gabi says:

    I feel like I have been successful through my varied life. I always thought I was a bit crazy to be changing careers or paths so many times in my life, really not that many but also always having lots of side projects going on. Being famous is not my goal, happiness and a bit of contentment would be good. It’s nice to hear a story where someone who was a star athlete went on to do something like being a doctor.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      I agree, Gabi!

      It seems that Dr. Taylor was not seeking fame. He just loves baseball, being a doctor, and he loved engineering. He’s a great model, because he works extremely hard and pursues his dreams and happiness rather than fame.

  15. YC says:

    I have been absorbing as much as I can after watching the Ted Talk about multipods.

    Finally, I have this great sense of relieve that there is nothing wrong with the career path that I have taken thus far, if you can even call it a path. I am 35 years old this year and I have probably switched industries more than anyone I have ever known amongst my peers and I have this little voices within me that keeps saying that I will not amount to anything great if I don’t settle down soon.

    I am very glad that Emilie discovered this framework that I can 100% relate to, this new way of looking at my inner self.

    However, I have one question though. In entrepreneurship, one of the most repeated advice I was given is on focus. People keep telling me that if I do not focus on building the core offerings of my business, I am heading towards disaster zone. I am always told not to get my plates too filled with projects, don’t spread myself too thin, outsource whatever I can. But I tend to do the opposite. I even challenged myself to do the renovation of my office myself. When I started painting an apartment myself (because I want to learn how to paint better), I got a scolding from my wife because I am wasting my time…

    So, question: “Is focus good advice for multipods like me, from the perspective of entrepreneurship?”

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Hi, YC.

      Thanks for chiming in here and asking great questions! In terms of entrepreneurship, I think you have to look at businesses on a case by case basis. What works for one person, might not work for another; however, there are some great examples of success for us to follow.

      I was always taught in business classes to do what you are good at and outsource the other things, so that you can focus on your strengths. So far I’ve found that to be great advice, but that’s not exactly answering your questions. You’ll notice I’m hedging here, because I don’t know your exact circumstances.

      I’d advise finding a great mentor, and by great, I mean someone who understands your desire to learn different skills and do things yourself. That person could really help you with the specifics of your business while helping you keep true to yourself.

      If you run one or more small businesses yourself (like I do), you might find you have to wear many hats within the business just to make things happen. In art school business classes, they hammered it home to us that we’d be lucky to spend 20% of our time on our art, and that 80% or more of our time, at least when starting out, would likely be spent on other duties.

      I wish I had a quick answer for you YC, but as you know from personal experience, there’s a lot that goes into being a successful entrepreneur. Always remember that while there are sound, proven business tactics, some of the most successful business people are the innovators.

      I wish you every success in your endeavors!

  16. Douglas Eby says:

    There are many examples in the arts – one of my articles Multitalented Creative People has quotes by and about Leonard Nimoy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Xavier Dolan, Juliette Binoche, Viggo Mortensen, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jamie Lee Curtis, Natalie Portman and others. http://developingmultipletalents.com/multitalented-actors-and-other-artists/

  17. Kate says:

    Great post Brenda and I’ve just checked out your photography. The cats are fabulous. One in particular has made an impression on me … I shall contact you to see whether I can purchase a copy!

    Ron’s story is as relatable as any story I read about people I have no personal relationship with. There is always a sense of detachment as I don’t know the finer details of their experiences. The best kind of role models are the ones I meet in my own life – people I can get to know at a deeper level over time.

    I believe the multipod spirit is present within many people I meet and I have witnessed it come to life with one conversation! Role models are an important source of learning, however, valuing our own experiences and sharing them with others can create conversations which may be more meaningful to our growth and development.

    I look forward to your next post Brenda!

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Thank you so much, Kate! And I’m glad you like the cats. Just drop me a line on my website contact page. I sell a couple of editions of prints, and we could see what would suit you.

      I agree that having more contact with someone can have more of a direct impact on one’s life. My mentors in organology, cello, fencing, photography, and coaching, taught me skills I use daily. These people are role models, but they are also mentors. More distant people to whom I look for inspiration I call role models – but not mentors. But those are personal definitions.

      You are so right about the multipod spirit being present in many people! It is surprising and inspiring.

      Thanks for chiming in here!

  18. I appreciate his ability to acknowledge the naysayers but then continue on with his goals. He could have buckled under the opposition, but he seemed to have used that to fuel his determination.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      You are so right, M. Michelle Derosier! What I loved was that through it all, he has the spirit of a baseball player. How many people would ask about the odds of acceptance in those terms other than ball players? To him, 50-50 were good odds, and he went on about his business, not minding that he had been told that at 34, he was “too old.”

  19. Alison D says:

    I loved this post and would love to read more like it. (Famous or not, :) )

  20. Melina says:

    It is wonderful to know that some multip persons balance succesfully their lives. Yet I still feel-after so many useless efforts – helpless and scared to do, to go on, to resist to the horrible demons inside me that push me to quit. I’m desperate.And exausted. That’s all.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Hang in there, Melina.

      I have come to realize that when I am at my most exhausted, when I am most tempted to quit, when I am feeling desperate – that is EXACTLY when I am closest to the next breakthrough. Things I could never have imagined have happened to me at these times.

      Now when these times seem to fill my existence, I am lucky to have this experience. This is when I remind myself that a breakthrough – and I mean an exciting one – is just around the corner. All I have to do is keep going, and it will come. I then think back to times I nearly gave up – and the great things that happened when I did NOT give up.

      So – Melina, please hang in there! Seek help if you need it (we all need help sometimes), even if it is just someone who cares enough to make you a cup of tea and give you the mental and physical space to take a nap. But remember – something pivotal (and exciting) is coming. And know that here at Puttylike, you’ve found a wonderful group of people who care.

      • Melina says:

        Thank you, Brenda for the warmth of your message. I feel what you say.. Yes, good things still exist and thrive. I’m stucked yet there’s -till now at least- the cognition that to give up is not an option. I really try. And …it’s so true that kindness affects us because it is generous and an infinite source of courage. Thank you, again.

  21. Claudia says:

    Great report on someone extraordinary, thank you. My first multipotentialite encounter was intimidating, because this Programmer/Jewellery Designer and Manufacturer/Sculptor/Poet/Astronomy-fan/Mathematician was really intense, due to being undervalued by society. The sad part was that he detested the way the world worked, ie earn money to eat and pay the rent, at the same time he loved all his facets and was isolated. I did not pay much attention to his situation as I thought his passions would equate to happiness, so this led me back to reality: I have a problem because I have no one focus area. Until I saw Emilie’s talk on Ted.com – yay, and life changed drastically!!!! Thank you.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Hi there, Claudia.
      I’m so glad you found Emilie’s wonderful talk! We’re glad you’re here.

  22. Liesbeth says:

    Hello everybody! What about this: It’n not all about hard work in reaching your goals.It’s also about the right timing, meeting the right people and the right circumstances and about the right inner motivation. In my experience I sometimes tried so hard things became an obsession and in the energie spended in reaching goals I hurt my fa,ily. So my choice was to let it go. I think that was the right choice. You have to make choices and cannot do everything you want, especially not when you have a family. Sometimes that’s an offer. I must say that I would not be verry happy when the only thing my husband did was studieing and sleeping. But it’s different maby when you are single, I don’t know if Taylor was. For me now it’s a better time for me to follow my dreams, since my kids are older and things are flowing towards me like a blessing. So it’s the rigt time and I feel much more piece.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Hi, Liesbeth.
      Thanks for chiming in here. I agree that timing is important as well as hard work. It’s also about choices. Dr. Taylor was not married when he went to medical school; perhaps it is easier for single people, but I’m not sure. It seemed the same level of difficulty to me in both types of marital status, but everyone’s experience is different. For me, anything I’ve really wanted has involved lots of hard work. But timing has also been extremely important.

      I’m glad it is now the right time for you. I wish you all the best! (And I hope it comes for you – without the hard work!) :)

      • Liesbeth says:

        Thank you Brenda for your reply, and I agree with you about the hard work. The difference is that for me it doesn’t feel like working very hard, because I’m doing the lot’s of more things that I love. Spending work and time in the things that I love gives me a totally different feeling. Hard work itself is not only about achieving something greater or better, but being on the road to your goal you have in mind gives satisfaction and happiness too. :)

        • Brenda Scott says:

          You’re welcome, Liesbeth.
          It’s wonderful that it doesn’t feel like hard work for you!
          It usually does for me, particularly at the very beginning and in the final stages. Every degree I’ve earned has been difficult at first and then again right at the finish. Same with exhibits, writing projects, coaching certification – you name it. And yet I love all of these areas. Still, none of it was as easy as taking a nap or playing with my cats! That’s not to say that I did not enjoy myself while working, but just that I was aware that it was work.
          I think it is different for everyone. I’ve taught people and seen their ease along the way, so I know from observation that things can be easy for some people. I think you’re exactly right, though – knowing there’s a goal in mind does give satisfaction and happiness along the way, whether or not hard work is involved (or perceived).
          Really great points, and you are very lucky. :)

  23. Eileen Keane says:

    I thought this was a great article, but what if you’re already in your 60s with limited income. I’ve spent my entire life thinking that I had ADHD because I didn’t stick with one career.
    Now I have my own business and I feel like I’m done, but I have bills to pay.

    What do you suggest for someone like me?

  24. jimothi says:

    This really is inspiring. As life goes on, I find that making the jump to a new phase of life is scarier, and I need stories of others who have done it.
    This story is just what I needed today.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      I’m so glad to hear that, Jimothi! Thanks for your chiming in here. I wish you all the best!

  25. Di says:

    I am neither rich nor famous but I have been enjoying a career that suits my changes in direction quite well. I work as a national park ranger. I have a career that spans 11 parks, 7 US states, and duties from vertical and white water rescue to accounting and educating children. There are certainly many ways to expand your many interests and garner new skills.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Hello, Di!

      Thanks for chiming in here. What a great career! I’ve often thought how amazing it would be to work as a park ranger, but I don’t have the skills. Do you have a blog?

  26. Karmen says:

    Thank you so much for this inspiring article Brenda. Resonates much with what I am going through now.

  27. Brenda, thank oh so very much for this brilliant article and real-life success story of a multipotentialite! I can really relate and this have such an inspiration for me. And this is because I am at the starting of my third career in IO psychology – after graduating with degree architecture and work in business development & marketing :)

    I too was asked the same question from the Dean. And the challenge of taking the extra degree courses. To some, it seems too much work. But to me, ‘I want it! So I will do it!’. Gathering the support system of believers in potentialite like us and making our passions a reality :)

    • Brenda Scott says:

      You are very welcome, Mardhiah Yunos. Isn’t it exciting to move through life in a number of different careers? Have you ever had people who crossover from one to the other? That sometimes leaves me feeling a bit confused but also grateful that they followed me from one to another.

      Congratulations on accepting the Dean’s challenge. Sometimes I am grateful to people who put these kinds of obstacles in front of me – later. After the fact, I realize they have pushed me and made me even more determined to succeed. It adds to the sentiment you expressed, which I have felt, too – the: “I want it! So I will do it!” feeling.

      Thanks for chiming in here. Please stay in touch.