I want to play guitar, be a published writer, a web designer and developer, a vegan chef, train for another ultra, read lots of great books, become an ACA certified sea kayak instructor, practice meditation, etc, etc, etc. “Follow your curiosity” says Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert. I like that advice except for the fact that it has me running in many directions at once. I am curious about so many things. Did I mention I want to learn Spanish? And how to be a better bicycle mechanic?
My curiosity is my strength and my weakness. I am always seeking to learn something new, but my attention wanes quickly when something else interesting appears. This trait has made my knowledge base broad, but not particularly deep. As it stretches me in new directions, it also keeps me confused about which way to go.
Recently, I found a word that describes what I am. I am a multipotentialite. From Wikipedia, “multipotentialites generally have diverse interests across numerous domains and may be capable of success in many endeavors or professions, they are confronted with unique decisions as a result of these choices.” Unique decisions? Try analysis paralysis. With so many things I would like to do, how am I supposed to choose? And then there is the question of how do I find a fulfilling work life when so many things seem attractive to me?
This fall, I am trying to figure out how to combine my diverse skills and interests to create meaningful work. I am reading How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up by Emily Wapnick. Though I’m not through with it yet, so far it is proving to be helpful. As much as anything else, it is nice to know there are others out there like me. For too long, I worried that there was something wrong with me because I could not “find my passion”, that oh so damaging piece of self-help advice that just doesn’t work for everyone.
Maybe you have not “found your passion”. Maybe you never will. Maybe you too are a multipotentialite.