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Multipotentialite

Do you ever feel like you don’t fit into the specialization culture we have at the moment? That you have too many interests for your own good? Do people, either aloud or silently, judge you, think that because you are not committing yourself to a single occupation, you are somehow doing it wrong? Do you have many hobbies, but do they change over the years? Do you get bored once you’ve mastered a skill to a certain level? There’s a word for that: multipotentialite. Actually, there are, of course multiple words for that. Scanner. Renaissance Soul. Polymath.

I recently discovered a website that truly resonated with me: Puttylike. The founder, Emilie Wapnick, has successfully started a community of people just like that. Just like me. Today I joined the Puttytribe, a community where one can exchange ideas with other “multipods”. Multipotentialites face a unique challenge: they are extremely gifted, but need to find a way, a job, that encompasses most (or preferably all) of their skills and interests. Because they are not specializing in only one area, they will have difficulty competing with a true specialist, but because of their broad skillset and worldview, they bring some other important aspects to the table.

I’ve been struggling with this for a long time, without even knowing that there was a word for what I am. I love singing, languages, culture, science, research, making things with my hands, solving problems, composing music… None of the jobs that I’ve had has been truly what I want to do all the time. Even at this moment I’m dividing myself between programming three days a week, and singing, drawing, knitting, spinning and photography on the rest of the days. No wonder my brain is usually in overdrive and gets tired easily.

Now that I’ve found this community, I’m starting to explore the option that being what I am, someone with a colourful skillset, might be a strong point instead of a problem. It has inspired me to start thinking about having some overarching theme, or company, of which all my activities will be a part. I will not be ashamed of my lack of specialization anymore, and I will work on not letting other people’s expectations and “the way things are supposed to be” guide me on my path. It feels very freeing!

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