Why Multipotentialites Rarely Start from Scratch
Photo courtesy of Kiran Foster.

Why Multipotentialites Rarely Start from Scratch

Written by Joanna James-Lynn

Topics: Education

One of the benefits of being in the Puttytribe is that, every month or so, you get the chance to attend a workshop put on by another puttypeep. Workshops can be on anything, from conscious dreaming and bookkeeping to typography and creating your own language.

Last month, I attended a workshop on photography by Margaux. Photography’s not one of my main interests right now. It’s not even on my would-like-to-learn-list. But that’s the beauty of the Puttytribe workshops; if you’re even slightly interested in a topic, you can take an hour or two out of your day to learn about it, with no pressure to ever do any more than that.

Basic Principles

The workshop was really interesting and, as Margaux led us through the basic principles you need to know to take good photographs, I realized that almost all of them sounded familiar.

  • Find the hero.
  • Use odd numbers and triangles.
  • Look for patterns and breaks in patterns.
  • Simplify.
  • Etc.

I’ve been studying story structure recently, and many of the rules Margaux was telling us about resembled those I’d learned about writing.

Every story needs a hero. It also needs three acts. The protagonist should make three attempts to reach her goal. When you’ve finished writing, you should edit your work until you never want to see your manuscript again.

This wasn’t the first time I’d noticed this crossover between different areas. A couple of years ago, I spotted the overlaps when I worked through a copywriting and branding course. I’ve seen the same ideas covered on marketing blogs too.

The Principles are the Same

Whether you’re writing a story, taking a photo, writing sales copy, creating a brand, painting, composing a song, or choreographing a dance, the same principles apply.

Let’s take a look at some of the most well known principles and concepts.

The Power of Three

  • Copywriting: Using tripartite structures can make your writing more persuasive.
  • Architecture: The strongest shape is the triangle.
  • Photography: The best photos use the rule of thirds.

Repetition and Patterns

  • Teaching: We remember things better when we’re taught them multiple times.
  • Poetry: The repetition of a particular word or sound can be used to direct the reader or listener’s attention towards something significant.
  • Advertising: Companies put their ads everywhere to ensure that their brands are the first we think of when we need or want a particular product.


  • Writing: Writers work hard to make their writing concise, both on a sentence level and a content level.
  • Lifting weights: You get the best results from focusing on the big four lifts (squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press).
  • Photography: You can make a photo better by removing background clutter.

This Gives Multipotentialites a Head Start

This is great news for multipotentialites, because it means we can learn these principles in one area and then apply them to all our subsequent interests. It makes us much quicker at learning new skills than specialists.

Whenever we start a new hobby, we just need to learn the mechanics of the skill in question – which keys to put our fingers on to play a particular note, where to position our subject relative to the light to get the clearest photo, and which colors to use to evoke particular emotions. Once we’ve got those down, we can apply the principles we already know, and jump from complete beginner to intermediate without any extra effort.

Bearing this is mind, we can feel much more confident about dropping old interests in favor of new ones. No matter what our new interests are, we’ll probably be able to apply our existing knowledge to them and progress much more quickly than we would otherwise have done.

Learning is never a waste of time. If you feel bad about abandoning an interest, remind yourself that you will be able to apply elements of that interest to your future projects. Knowledge is reusable.

Your Turn

Which concepts and principles have you come across in more than one area? How have you used them to your advantage?

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.


  1. Brad says:

    Whoa. Great breakdown.

  2. Lauren says:

    This reminds me a little bit of what Tim Ferriss talks about when he talks about hacking learning. It’s all about connections being made, and two seemingly unrelated things suddenly linking through shared frameworks. I think maybe multipotentialites have a better natural ability to link unrelated things together because of this, which I think leads to better creativity in my opinion :)

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