As a child you were probably asked this question many many times – “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Well-meaning adults often ask the question, in order to get a funny answer, or to provide some inspiration.
“Dream big!” they might say.
However, what they are, in fact, asking you to do is choose one career to dream about, rather than embracing myriad interests and passions.
In her TED Talk “Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling,” Emilie Wapnick illustrates the importance of embracing your interests wholeheartedly and acknowledging that there is nothing wrong with NOT having to do one “thing,” one career, for the rest of your life.
Wapnick discusses what led her to this revelation, highlighting a few points to disregard when it comes to attaining self-fulfillment in today’s ever-evolving world.
Let yourself develop your multiple interests – and if you become bored, it’s okay to move on to the next one.
When you are tied down to focusing on one subject you might be limiting your personal growth . You may devote a lot of time and energy to one passion project, and then it might lose its sense of challenge and become boring.
This is not a bad thing!
Without a sense of challenge, there is little room for development. If you are not satisfied with one thing, stagnancy can take place, and you may become counter-productive.
Choosing a singular path can lead to anxiety for this reason, among others.
The cycle of boredom from jumping from one interest to the next, may result in the thought that none of those interests will turn into a career.
The idea of having to choose one thing and eventually deny all other passions may lead to fear of endless boredom. But, by moving through interests, further knowledge is gained and can be applied to anything you take on.
Worry about fear of commitment is also often a culprit of anxiety. You may feel that something is wrong with you for not wanting to stick to one thing.
In such a fast-paced society, people are constantly bouncing from job to job, and there is nothing wrong with gaining experience in multiple realms of whatever interests you may have. You don’t necessarily need to relegate these interests to hobbies. Embrace your full potential and explore!
The idea of having to choose one interest to focus on is instilled in us from the get-go because of our culture/society.
Wapnick poses the question of why we assign the words wrong and abnormal to doing many things. The answer: culture.
When posed with the age-old question of what we want our destiny to be, there is the assumption that we are all wired for “the one” career that will suit us, and that all of our other passions and interests must be pushed aside to follow that path.
The good news is that culture is constantly changing and growing to accommodate those multiple interests. Not only that, but the term “career” is slowly becoming an outdated notion. You no longer have to choose one – you can apply all the skills and understanding gained from those interests as you so choose.
Forget the Word “Career”
You’re not wired to have one specialty for the rest of your life? No problem.
The more subjects you’re curious about, the better.
Because, according to Wapnick, what you are is a multipotentialite, and there is nothing wrong with you.
You are a complex person with many interests and a strong creative drive – someone who can pursue these interests and unlock their potential on many levels.
Now, here are a few ideas to take into account and remember for unlocking your multipotentialite powers.
- Idea Synthesis
As a multipotentialite, you have expertise (or at least experience) in many fields. Therefore, you can combine your various disciplines to create something new at the intersection where they meet. Innovation is born from unique ideas and individual backgrounds.
- Rapid Learning
In the same vein as idea synthesis, your myriad of skills can be transferred across disciplines to bring all the knowledge you’ve gained to whatever field you may pursue next.
Having such a broad range of abilities and talents gives you the capacity to adapt to whatever any particular situation requires. Your well-rounded experience lends you an open book of opportunities.