If your goal is to be the best in one skill, area or niche, and to be known for it, you may have to put in many hours of work. There’s nothing wrong with committing to an area for a long period of time, provided you’re doing it because it’s what you want, not because it’s what you think you should want.
However, it’s quite likely that being the best, as in “Number One” in a category isn’t what you’re striving for.
The tough part for me was accepting that this might be the case, that I am not trying to be the best. Seth Godin might say “Then why bother?” and in his own logic, he’s right. He emphasizes being the best in your niche, whatever it may be.
For me, being the best in my personal style is more important than competing, regardless of niche, regardless of genre or medium. People who wonder why we multipotentialites even bother to make all these different things might not get it. I think it might be wise to forget about them. As long as we aim to “get it,” which is to say we continue to cultivate our style and watch for our personal themes emerging, then being the best in some medium need not be a concern.
People trying to protect you
Your own lizard brain as well as the people around you may be a part of what keeps you from embracing your multipotentiality. Maybe they tell you that it’s risky, foolish and a waste of time. They may think you are “spreading yourself too thin,” and that you’ll never get anything done. Sure, it might take a while, but does anyone really watch you work? Do they know how you actually don’t spread yourself thin, but that each interest adds to your fullness? These concerns seem to echo from a place of worry. Do they know how amazing you are at juggling interests in order to get things done?
My professor at a liberal arts college told me in an evaluation that music was an “incredible waste of time,” and that I should focus on the one thing I love to do. I know that he was trying to protect me, maybe, but now I wonder from what? Poverty? Failure? And why do people try to protect us?
Had I taken this professor’s advice about not “wasting time” would I be where I am now? Probably not. What this professor said to me may be similar to what people in your life tell you. People will say all kinds of stuff to you if you are doing something unconventional.
You don’t have to be a multipotentialite to know the feeling of worry and disapproval
If you plan to do anything artistic or make any change either in yourself or in the world, you can expect a barrage of comments from people who tried and gave up (or they may say they “failed”). Those people who mask their envy of your boldness by worrying about you are often afraid of striking out themselves and don’t want you to “leave them behind.”
Putting yourself out there as a multipotentialite is scary. Being bold means risking possible rejection and hearing people’s opinions about you. We have to guard ourselves against overt or implied skepticism from others.
What does embracing your multipotentiality actually mean?
I’m still figuring that one out for myself, but one thing I did notice was that I have a fear around the idea of being a person doing several different things, publicly. If I’m teaching people on Udemy about how to use DAW’s will that take away from my image as a musician somehow? If people see me doing design or blogging, might they take my music less seriously?
Though it sounds irrational, these fears might indicate that I am looking at the right things. Often doing something that’s important to you is accompanied by a healthy dose of fear.
Focusing on style rather than on being the best
I think the best thing about being a multipotentialite is how we can design our theme, invent our own process and make our personal style come through in any and every medium (or genre, if you’re a musical multipod). There is something so fulfilling about rotating interests and seeing each one develop as your personal style crystallizes with time.
Going public with your multipotentiality
The point where fear, skepticism and inner/outer voices of doubt actually rise up is when you start to go public with different projects. When you create a music persona on Soundcloud, then you put up a video on YouTube about something different and then write a blog about some other aspect of your life, fear might make you pull back, worried people will think you don’t make sense.
When you declare “I made this,” in several arenas, you are putting several versions of yourself out there. In music, it seems people really want just one version of the artist to deal with. They even may be bothered when you switch genres. People for whatever reason don’t want to believe you can be that good at that many things.
Don’t worry about any of that, just look out for common threads and unifying themes in your work. Try not to let the societal belief that one person cannot be equally good in several areas permeate your thinking.
So go out, be bold and make it work for you. Show people what you can do, all of it, and be unashamed about your multipotentiality.
Do you aim for being “the best,” or is there something else you’re striving for with your projects and passions?
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