“I don’t believe that you can do all the things you say.”
Photo courtesy of gogoloopie.

“I don’t believe that you can do all the things you say.”

Written by Emilie

Topics: Confidence

Occasionally, I receive a comment or email that I feel is a beautiful expression of what it means to be a multipotentialite and needs to be shared. Today I am reprinting a comment that was left by Phil on last week’s blog post.


Your question reminds of the last time I ever went to an Employment Agency. I met this very young chap and handed him my resume which only included anything strictly relevant to work practices. he looked down it, looked up at me and said,

“I don’t believe it.”

“Sorry?” I asked. “What don’t you believe?”

“I don’t believe that you can do all the things you say.”

“I see. So how many of them can you do?” I asked

“None of them.”

“So, if you have no idea how to do them, how do you know I can’t?”

“Because its impossible for one person to be able to do all of these things. You’re lying.”

Now I don’t like being called a liar by someone who has just admitted that they don’t know what they are talking about. So the devil entered me, I sat back in my chair and smiled by bestest evilest grin.

“OK. Here’s what we will do: put me in any company of your choosing to do any or all of the skills I mention and I will work there for a month free. If at the end of the month, I have failed in anyway, you can kick me out the door. However, if at the end of the month, they are happy that I can do these things and want to keep me, you will resign because it will show that you don’t know what you are talking about and are taking wages under false pretenses.”

I saw genuine fear in his eyes. Of course, he declined. As I got up, I said,

“Do you know the really sad thing here is not that I can do all of these things but that you can’t even do one properly at your age.”

I meet someone who has a deep passion for something and I say,

“Tell me about it.” And usually by the time they stop, I have become fascinated enough to learn more and sometimes I learn enough to do things with that knowledge either for myself or for other people.

It’s not my fault, the universe really is an interesting place and today really is an interesting time to be alive.


Thanks so much for sharing your story Phil.

Your Turn

Do you have a story about proving your multipotentiality to someone who was doubtful? I’d love to hear it.


  1. Joshua Lundquist says:

    This was a great thing to read. Phil, if you’re out there, thanks! We need to have more stories like this, from people’s real lives to show others like us just how often this stuff happens.

  2. Seonaid says:

    The funny thing is, I find *myself* doubting that I can do all the things I have done. Like maybe it was a fluke. I hear myself talking, and it sounds a little delusional. ” Oh, yeah. When I was working at the nuclear plant blah, blah blah…” Or the Stratford Festival. I’m now a stay at home mom/ philosopher/yoga teacher, but I’m going to an education conference this summer to talk about the challenges facing faculty developers in dealing with their own fear of embarrassment. That sort of thing sounds sort of unlikely for someone with a graduate degree in physics. So I feel for the ones who doubt me.

    • Emilie says:

      I hear you, Seonaid. I feel like we’ve been conditioned to think that we all have far less potential than we do. Imagine if we lived in Renaissance times when it was expected that we would be really good at many things. There would be a whole lot less doubt all around.

  3. Jenn says:

    Yikes, while it’s great to put nay-sayers in their place, it’s another to insult them. I appreciate and understand the passion behind Phil’s stance, but to call the other person basically worthless is taking it a bit far.

    • Emilie says:

      I hear you, Jenn. But to be fair, this was someone who was working at an employment agency and had a lot of power. I don’t believe that someone in that position should be able to make comments like this. It’s unprofessional at the very least.

    • Phil says:

      Well, Jenn, you do have a point and I thank you for taking the time to express your opinion. I did admit that the devil entered me so I won’t try to pretend that it was my finest hour. And I am sure there is a more gracious way of dealing with someone who has just called you a liar based on nothing but a presumption of limitation. Of course, the fault did not lie with him. He was a victim himself. He had been crushed into this limited mindset by those who should have encouraged him to fly rather than clipping his wings.

  4. Rob says:

    As a friend of Em’s, I can vouch that she is an awesome filmmaker, director, musician, law-knowledged, smart, cooks, designs websites, creates businesses, reads, etc. The only thing I can’t vouch for is her bollywood dancing as she only started that after moving.

  5. Josh says:

    I think in my case before a few years ago I was the one who was doubtful and others saw potential in me.

    I thought music was my thing, the only thing I was good at, but others would say they think there’s more. Thank goodness for optimist influences. :-)

    • Emilie says:

      Very cool, Josh. Glad you’ve got some supportive people in your life. Also, great seeing you at the Puttytribe huddle the other day.

      • Jim G says:

        My twist on this comment is that it was I who surprised myself at discovering so many things I could do! After I made the conscious decision to quit the music profession my appreciation of abilities (both mine and others) widened so much I began to wonder how I ever survived in that little world of music.

        • Josh says:

          Jim, tell me about it. Somehow by branching out from music, I can actually talk to other people besides “creative types”. It’s expanded my social life quite a bit.

          • Jim G says:

            Well Josh, When I was in the music profession full time it was like being a member of a team. In an orchestra you have about 100 people around, and many of them may be scanners, but I just never got the discussions past the central topic of music. Maybe it’s due to my own social abilities, or maybe it’s due to the fact that music is such a large field, and the romantic nature of art is like a drug, so that changing the subject is just too difficult for many. Parties… we talked about the latest recordings, or whatever. I performed with a smaller group for many years. There we played and spoke of different kinds of music, often listening to new things together while in the touring bus. I always felt left out. I wanted to talk about nuclear physics, da Vinci, baseball… you know how that goes. Not until I left music did I find people with varied interests and experiences. I miss my music friends, and this is a condensed version of our meetings, but maybe it explains what I meant a little better.

          • Josh says:

            Yeah, Jim. I’ve often been connecting to multipotentialite friends lately and our conversations will hit on life, tech, art, music, spirituality, people, languages, travel and cultures, marketing, you name it. And they get deep too!

      • Josh says:

        Yeah, Emilie, great to see you too. That was an awesome huddle!

  6. Wow … thanks for the great message Emilie and Phil. I loved the response to the employment agent. I really like the “tell me about it” statement, too. Very cool way to honor someone’s passion.

  7. Cristina says:

    Hey EM!

    I’ve erased a lot of stuff from my curriculum to make it somehow believable and sort of attend to this specialist demandin era because I couldn’t get any job with all of the things I had in it before!

    And maybe you know a lot of people like you amongst your friends or something, but I don’t…I feel like an alien here!

    But I sort of…enjoy it!

    A hudge hug for you all!


  8. Lily Byrne says:


    I just wanted to tell you I’ve nominated you for the VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD because your blog inspires others.

    Feel free to check it out at http://lilybyrne.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/im-a-very-inspiring-blogger/

    Congratulations and you deserve this award. Take care!


  9. Sheree says:

    Like Christina I’ve also reduced the range of skills I use to describe myself publicly and in CV because it seems too much to the specialist mindset.

    As a professor, I’ve successfully taught across three academic disciplines and approximately 12-14 different courses, depending on how you describe and package them. That’s practically unheard of in higher ed.

    • Emilie says:

      I’ve heard of multipotentialites who have 3 different resumes that they pull out depending on the opportunity. I think sometimes it’s wise to disclose later. Though there have also been times when potential employers have inquired about one odd thing I’d done and it lead to a really interesting discussion, maybe a mutual interest, and then getting hired. It’s a balance, and you need to use your intuition a little.

  10. Tessa Hawkins says:

    I have to say that I really like the way you write Phil.

    I just wish you could turn up to an employment agency with a CV that says “Extremely energetic, works incredibly well in supportive environments, capable of almost anything when it is a worthy activity, very empathetic and sympathetic and can converse with all personalities and people (encountered up until the current date). Harbours an overabundance of passion for everything.” and have some one say “I don’t believe you can do everything you say.”

Leave a Comment