Multipotentialites are Everywhere! (If You Just Look Out for Them)
Photo courtesy of Melina Stathopoulos.

Multipotentialites are Everywhere! (If You Just Look Out for Them)

Written by Emilie

Topics: Confidence

I used to think that I was the only person on earth with this “problem.” I’d proclaim myself a songwriter or a filmmaker or a to-be lawyer, doggedly pursued that path for years and then tragically, (shamefully), lose all interest in my would-be calling.

I used to think it was just me. I felt alone and I was terrified that I’d never find my way.

These emotions feel so far away to me now. It’s hard to even recall them. But they were there, for years, lingering in the background, as I embarked on every new endeavor.

And now? Well now, that I see my multipotentiality for what it is: a gift– a call to greatness, to innovate, to solve problems by drawing from other fields and synthesizing my ideas.

You Are Not Alone– At All

Not only have I stopped worrying about this “pattern,” but I no longer feel alone at all! Put aside the fact that I now work with multipotentialites every day and that I’ve based my life around the concept. These last five weeks as I’ve been traveling, I’ve noticed that nearly every single person I’ve met, has been a scanner. No joke. They’re everywhere, I just couldn’t see it before.

There was my couchsurfing host in Monterey, who works with teams to program super computers. He gets brought in to work on projects by the biggest tech companies in the world. MIT recently tried to recruit him. When speaking to me about what he does, he literally said, “a specialist couldn’t do my job.”

There was the friend of my host in Santa Cruz, who worked as a teacher for many years, got into a bike accident, suffered brain injury and went on to run an art program for others suffering from brain injury. Now she works at an organization that trains and supports new teachers.

There was the girl I met at the Monterey Bay Aquarium gift shop who’s using her studies, work, and travel to combine interests in international relations, languages, music and teaching.

Then there are my cousins, whom I’m currently visiting in LA. Jesse has an accounting/computer/systems/programming business, where (if I understand correctly), he sets up computerized systems for accountants. Meanwhile, Sheree is an artist who works with mixed media.

We’re everywhere, us multipotentialites. We can be found in all fields and all walks of life.

Do You See Your Multipotentiality as a Gift or a Curse?

If you see your multipotentiality as a curse and you believe that you’re the only one out there afflicted with such an “ailment,” you will be proven right.

However, if you start looking out for the intersections, using your multipotentiality as fuel for your work, and you immerse yourself in this wonderful community of puttypeep, you may find that multipotentialites start popping up everywhere, in all corners of the earth.

Have you started meeting more multipotentialites since embracing your own multipotentiality?


  1. Colleen says:

    It’s funny; where I work, a bunch of people from different departments gather once every other week to knit and chat. Since we have people in project management, accounting, and marketing, the conversations get quite interesting.

    Just last Thursday, the organizer was talking to another woman about a book she’d lent her. After listening for a few moments, I asked excitedly if they were talking about “Refuse to Choose” – and they were!

    We all chatted for the next hour about our different interests. I was able to plug this site, and we had one of the best conversations we’ve had! It was nice to find multipotentialites in people I see face-to-face, not just online.

  2. Dan says:

    I’ve been meeting multipotentialites everywhere ever since I found out what one was!

    I attended a free 5-part evening course recently on starting and running your own business, and I gave your website address out to at least 5 people who I identified as ‘closet scanners’. They all said they had a lot of interests but no idea how to turn any of them into a business. I just thought, I know exactly what these people need…

    • Emilie says:

      You rock, Dan!

      I too have found that many MANY entrepreneurs and bloggers are closeted multipotentialites. We seem to be drawn to those particular outlets, which makes a lot of sense, and is pretty rad.

  3. Josh says:

    Just finished Mastery by George Leonard who was a pilot during ww2, a fifth degree black-belt in aikido, studied jazz piano, a philosopher and a great writer, and president of a bunch of stuff. Sounds like a multi who mastered. Intense stuff right there.

    You know what’s awesome about finding a new interest. More stuff to get at the library and bookstores. Plus the more weird hobbies you aquire, the more friends you can find stuff in common with. More blog material for you. Enjoy.

    • Emilie says:

      That is awesome. I love that a book called Mastery is about multipotentiality. People are constantly saying that we’re “dilettantes” who never “master” anything. That’s really not always the case. I don’t know what qualifies someone as a “master,” but I feel like I’m pretty damn good at a lot of things. Sounds like a swell book. I’ll check it out.

      And yes, I rarely struggle to find material for the blog. My life provides plenty of that. :)

  4. simone says:

    It’s true.

    Actually, even the most boring, ‘straight’ people you can imagine? Even those people are secretly multipotentialites if you really get to know them. ‘Straightness’ is just a cover!!

    • Emilie says:

      Yes, that’s true. But some people can be really stuck in that mindset– really proud of the fact that they’re so specialized. It makes it harder to have a conversation about all this. But like you, I’ve found that specialists often have a lot more diversity in their life and work than they realize.

  5. It’s a total gift! I love the unique business and offerings I can create because of my diverse passions. :) And yes, multipotentialites truly are EVERYWHERE!! And I think you’re right that you really do notice it more once you choose to embrace your own. xo

  6. Cherilyn says:

    I often wonder who this mythical “we” is that we’re trying to please by denying multipoteniality? In school, threat was always the potential future employers. Realizing that I can’t really see them helps me break out of the fear that keeps me from learning another language or musical instrument.

    Thanks for waking us up and encouraging us, Emilie!

    • Emilie says:

      Very true. And I’ve found that since becoming proud of all my crazy pursuits, other people rarely criticize them. It’s like how if you feel insecure about something, that’s the thing people are going to ask you about. If you act embarrassed or ashamed, other people will approach it from the same lens.

      And thank you, Cherilyn. You guys inspire me to no end!

  7. Emily Rose says:

    Hey Emilie, I have been even more open about being a multipotentalite and even started using that term in my about profiles :) I have also been finding people who share the gift, and many of them have no idea that they are scanners. I find it fascinating and have been plugging your site to all of them that I meet! I find you site to be such a blessing for people to learn that they can open up to being themselves and not be ashamed of it ever.

    Glad to hear that your staying true to yourself on your travels too, and that you understand that you need to work and be creative for the rest of your day to flow smoothly. I have come a long way on learning my own rhythms, however they fluctuate alot, so I am always flowing from task to task with my direction being what ever is most endearing to me at the time. I’m getting so much more done this way too!

    Thanks for the Inspiration!

    <3 Emily Rose

    • Emilie says:

      I like how you’ve reconciled ritual with flexibility. I too have found that it’s really important to set aside a chunk of time, then whatever project grips you most, you slot in there. Too much planning, too much “to do-ing” and it stops being fun. But no structure at all, and the ADD takes over. Finding that balance is key.

      And thank you! I can’t take all the credit though. You guys totally make this community what it is. :)


  8. There’s a lot of people on earth, I’d wager that every one of them has multiple passions.

    Some unaware of it,
    some deny it,
    some despise it,
    some ignore it…

    …but all have it.

    Multipotentialites are a giant tribe! Rock on, everyone! :)

  9. Hey Emilie,

    I’ve struggled for ages with “what I wanted to be”. It was always pushed that you had to know and I agreed for many years. But since moving to England, from Australia, life’s gone in to a bit of a spin that I couldn’t explain until recently and more specifically, until reading your blog.

    I thought that I had to be just one thing and not be so many. But through reading your blog, I’m coming to understand that there’s space and time for a number of things – so I’m working to refocus and find balance across a range of passions, namely blogging, writing, communicating and some programming too.

    As Jason said, Multipotentialites are a giant tribe! Rock on, everyone! :)


    • Glad you resonate Matt, and it sounds like you’re on the a good path, man!

      To me… blogging, writing, and programming all seem like communicating, so I dunno if that helps, or what… :)

      Do your thing either way!

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