Why It’s Good To Be A Multipotentialite
Photo courtesy of Ian Sane.

Why It’s Good To Be A Multipotentialite

Written by Joanna James-Lynn

Topics: Confidence

Many of us found Puttylike after struggling for years with our multipotentiality, though back then we didn’t know that’s what it was called. We just knew that society wanted us to stick to one path but that, no matter how hard we tried, we could never quite do that.

At first being a scanner seems like a bad thing. You flit from one career path to another, never feeling like you’re getting anywhere. You spend way too much money on “flash in the pan” hobbies. Your friends and family despair. And you lose your confidence because you feel like a flake.

Every Flaw Comes with A Flip Side

It’s probably not just your inability to stick to one interest that has you tearing your hair out. I bet if I asked you to, you could come up with a pretty long list of your flaws. But if you look hard enough and you want to see the positives just as much as you want to see the negatives, you’ll be able to find a flip side to any “flaw” that you have.

I have a tendency to talk about myself too much. I’m a worrier. My eyebrows are so light they’re almost see-through. But my tendency to talk about myself too much saves me from awkward silences. My worrying about other people makes me empathetic. My light eyebrows are the flip side to my not having dark hair on my arms.

Each not-so-good part of you is paired with a pretty good part of you. The X-Men characters are great illustrations of this. As mutant teenagers, many of the X-Men characters struggled to control the powers that made them different from everyone else. When Rogue touched another person, she sucked their life from them, meaning she couldn’t touch anyone without hurting or even killing them. But (spoiler alert) later on, when she was dying, she was able to use this power to save her own life. There was a flip side to the part of herself that she hated.

This doesn’t just apply to personality traits and physical features. You can also find the positive in almost anything that happens to you. In her TED talk, Amy Purdy talked about how she had just started to feel like she was in control of her life when she lost both her legs below the knee to Meningitis. She was given bulky, metal, bolted legs and rubber feet and thought she’d never be able to snowboard again. But instead of focusing on the negatives, Amy realised she could adjust her legs to be as tall or as short as she wanted to be. She could change the size of her feet to fit the shoes on the sales racks. Her feet would never get cold again. And she could become a Paralympic snowboarder. She found the flip sides to losing her legs.

If you look hard enough, you can usually find a flip side to any personality trait or “flaw”. Any part of you that you consider bad is likely to make you very good at something else. Someone somewhere is probably coveting that trait.

The Flip Side of Being a Multipotentialite

Having a tendency to jump from one thing to another isn’t a curse. There are loads of great things about being a multipotentialite.

  • We can almost always find something interesting to talk about with anyone we meet.
  • We’re innovative because we spend a lot of time at the intersections.
  • Our many interests enable us to meet lots of different people.
  • We learn to pick up new skills quickly.
  • We’re accepting of other people because we know what it’s like to feel like a misfit.
  • We have to develop thick skins because we’re used to sucking.
  • We question things.
  • As long as we allow ourselves to let go of dying interests, we’ll never get bored because there’s always something new to do or learn.
  • We develop a broad range of transferable skills.
  • We can liaise between different groups of people because we’ve been in so many people’s shoes.

Heck, many of us would probably be really good on TV game shows like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Who knows, maybe multipotentiality is the key to fame and fortune?

No personality trait has to be a curse. Every positive or negative comes with a flip side. Your multipotentiality can either be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s up to you to frame it as a good thing.

Your Turn

Why are you glad you’re a multipotentialite? What other flip sides can you think of?

jo_authorbioJoanna L K Moore (Jo) is a thinker, writer, maker, and doer. She writes about self-awareness and living a life that suits who you are at JoannaLKMoore.com. A multipotentialite through and through, Jo’s also a linguist, a runner, a powerlifter, a virtual assistant, the creator of DIY Self-Esteem: How To Start Liking Yourself, and an aspiring LGBT chick lit author.

25 Comments

  1. Milena says:

    Hey, nice post Jo! And a good reminder too, that everything is the matter of perspective and the “truth” is truth only because to choose to focus on that side of the story. A few days ago friend told me that his ex girlfriend told him (kinda offensively) that he is like a duck: he can walk, swim and fly but he cannot do any of that absolutely brilliantly. And I told him: “Hey, that’s not bad, that’s awesome. You are so skilled.” I, as a multipod, LOVE ducks and this concept. Blessing, not curse, if you ask me . Thank you for this!

  2. Zen Dexter says:

    Thanks for sharing Jo, fantastic post! Nothing in life is perfect, there’s always good and bad. And since we have a choice, we might as well choose to see things in a good light, and we’ll be happier for it! We can apply this idea to things other than personality traits too, such as our work, our emotions, and day-to-day situations we face.

  3. Joanna Moore says:

    Yup! My fiancée is great at turning what could be seen as bad situations into good ones. I’m learning to do the same!

  4. Morgan Siem says:

    The first bullet point is SO TRUE. I’m always happy for that nugget of truth. <3

    • Joanna Moore says:

      I need to start remembering this more often! I’m shy and awkward, so I tend to be quiet around other people. I need to just think to ask them about what they do and go from there!

  5. Amanda says:

    Yes! My brain is too lacking in caffeine right now to answer your question, but YES. Learning to focus on my strengths instead of my weaknesses has made my life so much more pleasant. AND, I get to help others see their strengths and that it’s okay not to be perfect at everything.

  6. Christina says:

    I love be the fact that you say Multi potentiality can be the key to becoming a millionaire or something because it seems that the greatest entrepreneurs didn’t specialize but instead gathered a team of experts, while they dabbled in all of the different parts of the business and often have other businesses and hobbies outside of what they are most known for! Multipotentialites can do great things with the right tools and mindset. Be blessed!

  7. Jane M says:

    Adaptability is the huge benefit for me. I can hang out with almost any group and fit in, because, as you said, I’ve been in so many people’s shoes and learned about so many different ways of life. This is a huge benefit when travelling, since I rarely feel completely different or separated from the people I meet.

    J

    • Joanna Moore says:

      Good point! I hadn’t considered that this part of me might be due my multipotentiality. Apparently, I can ‘get’ everyone and I’m really empathetic and stuff, because I can see myself in their shoes, probably because I’ve been in so many shoes!

    • Pamela says:

      “Adaptability”… That too, great benefit… The ability to venture into the unknown, heart open… Makes for surprises, wonder, new things, expansion. Sometimes when I stumble into something really wonderful, I think to myself (or say to my hubbie), ( God! But it’s good to be me… So very glad I brought this to me!”

  8. Jordan says:

    Thanks for the positive reminders Jo! I think that our ability to be innovative is a huge selling point of our blessing (not affliction, ha!). Employers or clients can be quick to label multipods as “scatter brained” (I’ve experienced this and had to correct…) but our ability to innovate and learn new skills quickly is valuable on the job, and also as an entrepreneur. I’ve found this extends beyond work too – picking up new sports is a breeze, immersing in other cultures quickly, etc.

    • Joanna Moore says:

      Interesting point about immersing yourself into other cultures. I’ve lived in 4 countries now, and I guess I did slot in quite well in Germany and Slovenia!

  9. Chez says:

    Great post Jo, I love finding the positives too..and there always is one! There is a saying which fits Multipotentialites perfectly. I am not sure who said it, but.. “I would rather have a life of Oh Well’s than a life of What If’s”. If nothing else, we are willing to have a go at almost anything and are learning to be o.k with letting it go when it no longer serves us. A lot of people have trouble with that. Lets face it, life is constantly changing and so are we. Multi’s are fluid people..that’s how I see it. Fluidity in action!

    • Joanna Moore says:

      I love, love, love starting things! It’s so exciting! And I love looking back over my life and seeing how many things I’ve done. Hm, you’ve given me an idea for a blog post. Thanks!

  10. Pamela Williams says:

    Thank you Joanna… I love what you have presented here. Turning my own thoughts around from thinking it’s not ok to be the way I am has lead to greater productivity, creativity, confidence, acceptance of self – leading to greater capacity to accept and forgive others, empathy for those struggling to find their way. I love making little quotes and working them into my makings…
    ” There’s enough Space for everyone to be the Star of their own Universe. ”
    We just have to let THE GIFT THAT WE ARE be available, first to ourselves, and then to those who we magnetize into our reality. We also must release the need to be “special”… comparing ourselves to others is self-torture.
    The biggest leap I have come across, “The Work” by Byron Katie (thework.com). Mega-immune booster against negative internal thought. Book: “Loving What Is”…powerful read.

    • Joanna Moore says:

      Definitely! I’ve found that understanding what I am and am not good at has helped me to appreciate both of those things. I now put less pressure on myself to be good at everything, because I can accept that some things just aren’t me. And I take more pride in the things that are me. It’s a huge confidence booster. I actually wrote a book on this topic because it’s such a game changer!

      Going to check out that site now. Thanks!

  11. Brilliant article Joanna! I still remember the thrill when a friend told me about being a multipotentialite. Suddenly, what had been a flaw or a failure was my greatest strength. Now I revel in my many interests, can’t imagine how anybody could possibly be bored in this life, and I look forward every day to a new horizon. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  12. TJ Bear says:

    Great article! Really enjoy your blog. I never even heard of the term “multi-potentialite” until finding your site a month ago even though I’ve been making a living out of being one for years. It’s so hard to tell people what I do for a living. -.- When I tell them I’m a music artist, talent buyer, booking agent, concert promoter, web and graphic designer, copywriter, consultant, and blogger they look at me like I’m having an identity crisis. They just don’t understand that I actually support myself this way and am happier and have more freedom than I’ve ever had before.

  13. Wolf says:

    The up side is that I have thrown myself into things I didn’t know a whole lot about so many times that I tend to sey “Yes” and figure it out as I go along.
    I am crazy confident about being able to figure things out, most of the time.

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