Ever since I first came across Puttylike, I’ve loved that the fact that I’m interested in pretty much everything. Dog training? That could be cool! Growing vegetables? Definitely doing that one day. Coding and programming? On my would-like-to-learn list.
I’ve also prided myself on the fact that I’ve been able to teach myself to do whatever I’ve wanted to do. One year I felt like designing some posters, so I taught myself basic graphic design. Another year I wanted to start a blog, so I found some tutorials. Easy.
So when I felt the urge to start a podcast earlier this year, I looked forward to collecting a whole new bunch of skills. As a virtual assistant, I love adding new skills to my portfolio. Audio editing would be a great addition.
Time to Learn a New Skill
I got busy scheduling interviews with guests and, before I knew it, I had almost twenty episodes in the can. It was time to figure out this audio editing business.
I opened up the software, pulled a file into it, and looked all the buttons staring at me. I had no idea what I was doing. But I’m a child of the internet, so I hopped on over to Google, YouTube, and a Facebook group for podcasters. Someone would be able to tell me what I needed to know.
But the more research I did, the more confused I became. What was compression? Did I need to normalize my tracks? How do you get rid of the fuzzy background noise? Not only did I not know how to do it, I also didn’t know what I needed to know how to do.
Not used to struggling with something new, I freaked out and went back to putting off the audio editing.
After feeling very uncomfortable about my apparent inability to pick up this new skill for a while, I realized what the problem was. I had zero interest in learning to edit audio.
Audio editing was something I wanted to be able to do, but only because I wanted to start a podcast. It was a means to an end. I had no interest in understand how audio works and what makes it sound good and bad.
But, because I’m proud of my multipotentiality, I was putting pressure on myself to enjoy the learning process. I assumed that, because I’m interested in a lot of things, I should be interested in everything. I was trying to force myself to like something I didn’t even want in my life.
This realization came as a shock. It felt like an attack on my identity. In my head, I was this multipassionate and multitalented person who could turn her hand to most things and enjoy them, and yet here I was, finding myself defeated by something I had no interest in.
What to Do When You Find Something You Have No Interest in
Obviously finding out that you’re not interested in something is not the worst thing that can happen to a person. But if you do find yourself in this position and it feels uncomfortable, here’s my advice on how to handle what can feel like a bit of an identity crisis.
1) Find out What You Came for
Multipotentialites get bored with interests when they get what they came for. If you’re bored by something before you’ve even started, the chances are that it doesn’t possess what you were looking for. Be honest with yourself about what you were hoping to get out of this interest, and go after that instead.
I was never interested in audio editing itself. I just wanted to start a podcast. It’s possible to start a podcast without learning to edit audio, so I could still get what I came for.
2) Find Another Way to Get What You Came for
If you can, drop whatever’s boring you and move onto something better. If you can’t just drop it, find a shortcut. Perhaps you could outsource it, delegate it, or recruit someone to teach you to do it quickly and painlessly.
Luckily, I’m a member of a community of talented and generous people with a wide range of skills. Fellow puttypeep Luis offered to give me a private training session to teach me only what I needed to know to put my podcast episodes together and nothing more. In less than an hour, I had the skills I needed to make my interviews sound acceptable.
3) Remind Yourself of the Things You Do Love
We have far too many interests and things to get excited about to waste our time on things that bore us. Putting your time and energy into something you’re not drawn to is a waste of your life. Remind yourself that it’s OK to not be interested in everything and pour yourself into the things that make you happy instead.
4) Accept the Trade-off
Skipping over or rushing through something is never ideal, so allow yourself to come to terms with the fact that whatever you’re up to isn’t going to be perfect. Imperfect and happy is better than perfect and miserable, right?
While I do want to respect my listeners’ ears, I also have to respect myself. My lack of enthusiasm for audio editing came down to a toss up between having an imperfect podcast and not having a podcast at all. I know that if I had to spend hours each week editing my podcast, it wouldn’t be long before I quit. For me, it’s better to have an OK-sounding podcast than no podcast at all.
5) Remember You’re Still a Multipotentialite
Being a multipotentialite doesn’t mean you have to fall in love with or be good at every single thing. We’re multipotentialites, not all- or everything-potentialites.
And thank goodness! There’s not enough time for us to explore all the things we’re interested in as it is. Can you imagine if we were curious about every single detail of the world?
I think this is where I went wrong. I took a label that helped me to understand and explain myself and, instead of letting it give me the freedom to explore anything I wanted, I allowed it to define what I did. Remember, labels like “multipotentialite” work best when used as shorthands, not as prescriptions.
Getting Over Your Identity Crisis
Realizing that you genuinely have no interest in something can come as a bit of a shock for someone who’s used to being interested in everything. And it can make you question your identity for a moment.
But if this happens to you, remind yourself that your multipotentialite identity is about freedom, not constraint. Being this way opens you up to a whole world of possibilities and exciting paths to wander down. Don’t ever let it limit you.
There’s a whole world to explore out there. What are you waiting for?
Have you ever come across something you had absolutely no interest in? Did it bother you or teach you anything about yourself?
Joanna James-Lynn is a virtual assistant, podcaster, blogger, and writer. She’s fascinated by personality, identity, and self-awareness – themes she explores in her podcast, Introspectology, on her blog, and in her e-book DIY Self-Esteem: How To Start Liking Yourself. She’s also a linguist and a runner, and she’s currently writing a book about same-sex weddings. Find out more about her projects at JoannaJamesLynn.com or follow her on Twitter @joannajameslynn.