Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling (and Why We’re Better Off that Way)

Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling (and Why We’re Better Off that Way)

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Emilie Wapnick of Puttylike.com.

You’re six years old and the teacher asks you to share what you want to be when you grow up.

An astronaut? A scientist? Superman?

Maybe you have an answer for her, maybe you don’t– it doesn’t matter.

The whole thing is more about ritual and eliciting cute replies than anything else. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is, after all, a fairly innocuous question… Isn’t it?

Actually, it’s not.

This particular question is loaded with all kinds of implications about what’s “normal.” It marks the beginning of a pattern that can cause a lot of pain and anxiety for many of us.

The problem isn’t so much in what’s said, but in what’s not said. The question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” implies that you have to BE one thing. One, as in singular.

Sure, some people are happy choosing a career, committing to one path and following through. But many of us simply aren’t wired this way. We have many interests and we’re good at a lot of different things. And you know what? That’s okay… It’s normal too.

The question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” implies that you have to BE one thing.”

The Invisibility of Multipotentialites

Asking kids to define their “one true calling” implies that there’s something wrong with having multiple callings. But that’s not even the worst part. The truly damaging thing about this question, is that it leaves us multipotentialites out entirely. Not only is there something wrong with us, we don’t even exist.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” leaves no room for being many things. That’s not even mentioned as a possibility. Nope, you’re one thing. You have one true calling– one destiny. That’s it.

The Pain and Anxiety this Causes

I get emails every day from people who always thought there was something wrong with them because they couldn’t find their “true calling.” But once they stumbled upon Puttylike and realized they were a multipotentialite – that multipotentialites are a group who exist! – everything made sense.

Suddenly they saw that there was nothing wrong with them at all. In fact, by following their hearts and not sticking to one path, they were doing exactly what they’re meant to do and living in a way that’s in line with their true nature.

The Alternative: Building a Life Around All Your Interests

As you guys well know, the way you generate income can be perfectly integrated with who you are, so that you spend your time doing work that lights you up and income simply rolls in as a result. That’s what Paid to Exist is all about.

However, not only can you get “paid to exist,” but you can get paid to explore all of your interests and essentially become a “professional multipotentialite” too.

Creating a Platform that’s Fueled by Your Multipotentiality

One way to build a life around all your interests is to turn those interests into a business. You do this by creating a platform where you showcase all your passions, discuss many topics and use all of the skills that you picked up in past pursuits.

Instead of “overcoming” your desire to do many things, you turn it into fuel for income. This type of business is what I call the Renaissance Business.

The Tricky Thing About Bringing Your Interests Together

The biggest challenge when turning all of your passions into one business, is cohesiveness. You don’t want your platform to feel disjointed. That’s why you need an overarching theme.

An overarching theme is the force that drives you– it’s the motivation or philosophy that runs through everything you do and it bridges the gaps between your interests.

For example, the reason Tyler Tervooren can write about business, mountain climbing and dating on one platform, is that they’re all linked through the overarching theme of risk taking. Similarly, Chris Guillebeau can discuss travel, personal development, self-employment and art on his site without these topics feeling disconnected. He gets away with it because he too has an overarching theme: non-conformity.

As you can see from these examples, when people say that we all have “one true calling,” and that you must focus on only one path in life, they are quite simply wrong.

Don’t Deny Your Multipotentiality– Use It

Not having one true calling can be a wonderful thing. Having many interests, blending those interests and working at the intersections of different fields doesn’t make you indecisive or non-committal. It makes you original and innovative.

Don’t listen to the coaches and gurus who tell you that you must choose one path to the exclusion of all else. What they’re asking you to do, is deny the other parts of yourself and be someone you’re not. How could that ever be right?

Want to integrate all of your passions into an offering that gets you paid to be who you are?

Join a tribe of like-minded renegades, get the training you need to identify your passion, and build your creative empire. Trailblazer helps you even if you have no idea what you’re passionate about, or how you can make money doing something you really care about.

Stop sacrificing your time for freedom someday, build a life and business you don’t want to escape from now.

About the Author: Emilie Wapnick is a writer and multipotentialite at Puttylike.com. She’s created an incredibly useful guide for people that want to make a living from all of their passions. It’s called Renaissance Business and I highly recommend that you take a look at it.

photo courtesy of dannynorton

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150 Comments on "Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling (and Why We’re Better Off that Way)"

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Erica Holthausen
Guest

It always amazes me when the perfect post comes at the perfect time! ahabraham introduced me to the concept of multipotentialites, scanners and passioneers yesterday. Today, I stumble into this piece and emiliewapnick’s blog at Puttylike. It’s so nice to know there are other folks out there with more than one calling.

JonathanMead
Guest

@Erica Holthausenahabrahamemiliewapnick Emilie is truly a really genuinely great person. I’m lucky to live close enough to actually hang out with her here in Portland. Glad to have you stop by Erica.

MistyDenson
Guest

Im new to PDX! I gotta get to know some of you kewl peeps!

Emilie
Guest

@MistyDenson PDX is fantastic! I just moved here a few months ago. Hit me up on Twitter and we’ll grab a tea.

Emilie
Guest

@JonathanMead@Erica Holthausenahabrahamemiliewapnick Thank you, Erica! I’m so glad we’ve managed to connect. And thanks Jonathan… haha and Abe, my little brother. (I miss you.)

<3

MistyDenson
Guest

It is my opinion that what we are here for is simply put….To be happy & create. Lucky me! This means that I get to do alot of things & enjoy every minute of it : )

Love this blog Thank You for sharing! ~

Emilie
Guest

@MistyDenson Beautiful. And I bet waking up with such simple goals makes each day amazing.

MistyDenson
Guest

@Emilie Well I run my own company and its a start up….need I say more? haha The craziness mixed with the vision & innovation makes for quite a roller coaster ride, but hey I have loved roller coasters since I was 8! LOL I have done everything against all odds and advice and am still here ; P When its overwhelming I just remember to Be Happy and Keep Creating. Ty again You Rawk!

DanRiha
Guest

I’ve been failing at finding my calling for decades. I don’t think you can use multipotentiality in a job. In fact I’m sure of it. You’ve got to create something for yourself.

I found my way to Puttylike through this site today (via Twitter) and I’m happy I did.

w1978x
Guest

@DanRiha The best thing to do!

Emilie
Guest

@DanRiha You’re awesome, Dan. You absolutely can use your multipotentiality in your work and there are many different ways to do it. I’m so sick of that standard guidance counselor-spouted rhetoric about finding your calling. Just look around– people who do many things are everywhere! (RIP Steve Jobs.)

DanRiha
Guest

@Emilie I took a standardized career placement test in middle school. According to that, I should have been a hairdresser or flight attendant. Thank goodness I didn’t pay it much mind as those couldn’t be worse fits.

Emilie, you’re like a guru and a mini-messiah or maybe a wilderness guide, lifting some branches aside and telling us, “There’s another path over here…”

Thanks so much.

Emilie
Guest

@DanRiha Hahaha– lets go with wilderness guide. ;)

fairgroundmedia
Guest
I agree with this completely! And liken it to our cultural search for “the One” romantically. This stuff gets so romanticized that it leaves us all to wonder where we went wrong! Some people divorce their spouse over such small differences, because “the One” must still be out there! When a relationship with a real, dynamic, different person is so much more of an adventure. There’s twists and turns. In my field of design, I find the most creative outcomes emerge from the projects that have very defined limitations or problems to solve. And I think, to a degree, that… Read more »
JonathanMead
Guest

@Fairground Media You’re so right Stephanie. I think we have this romanticized notion about a lot of things in our life. The One True Purpose, The One True Love, The One True Religion. Even when we found our ideal in some or all of these areas, it doesn’t solve all of our life’s problems.

Emilie
Guest

@Fairground Media Really interesting analogy! Real life, be it our career paths or romantic life, is so much more complicated and messy than that idealized image we’ve been taught to believe in. And that’s a good thing. It makes life far more interesting.

DaisyHdez
Guest
I’m not alone!! I’ve always thought there was something wrong with me until late this year. I have been trying to “be” one thing, that being one thing would make things easier when explaining to people “what I do for a living”. Turns out what I was doing lost it’s appeal a few years back and I continued with it anyway. Even when I was a kid in school, I would always get a “flat line” in the aptitude tests, that I could go into anything. I found that to be a curse, but NO, I embrace it happily now!… Read more »
w1978x
Guest

@DaisyHdez I like this! But, Did you know a great opportunity?

DaisyHdez
Guest

@w1978x I’m not quite sure what you mean. If you’re referring to me sticking to what I was doing because I saw it as an opportunity, nope. I stuck with it for fear of being considered a person without direction, I stopped caring finally though which is when I decided to leave that path.

w1978x
Guest

Ok, i´m understand, you have reasons to do and take a good determinat.

Take a time to do the best performance.

Emilie
Guest

@DaisyHdez Ah messages like yours break my heart in a way. It’s mostly because I get them so frequently, it’s amazing. You are definitely NOT alone. And the “flat line” in aptitude tests? Haha yeah, I think many of us can relate… You’re a multipotentialite. Congratulations and welcome! :)

Randy
Guest
I’m just now reading this post in 2014, but it still strikes a chord. I concur that finding one’s calling is a seductive trap. It informs everything we do in school and career preparation, even to the point of discouraging us from rounding out our education. I was told to buy in to the “burn your ships”philosophy; in other words, really dedicated students don’t build in back doors and escape hatches. The best-of-the-best pursue their dreams with single-minded passion and devotion where failure is not an option (Oh, these trite phrases do so easily roll off the tongue). I too… Read more »
Stephanie
Guest

Wow! Just wow! I have found my brothers and sisters in the love of the general. My ENFJ is sometimes ESTJ, and sometimes I just have to read the description and go backwards from there.

I agree with Randy. How can I follow my bliss if I can’t figure it out. Actually, my passion is snorkeling, but I don’t think it would be very helpful to my dd and dh if I spent my time doing that all day. Especially since we live 6 hours from the beach.

svehex
Guest

I never knew what I wanted to ‘be’, i.e. work as. (I don’t really like when they say you are your work.) In that sense, I still don’t. I want to be me. I want the opportunity to enjoy all the creative things I like to do, and hopefully make a living from it. My business incorporates several, but not all, of the things I love to do. Creating is what gives me energy, and keeps me going. Not working as a computer support person. That’s more draining than anything else.

Emilie
Guest

@svehex I’m not a fan of the work/life distinction either. I think we should all just do what we love (ALL the things we love) and do them in a way that contributes to the world in a positive way.

And yes, creating is the best feeling in the world. I must agree with you there.

ProcrastWriter
Guest

I don’t think I can even begin to explain how close to home this post just hit!! I have been dealing with having several passions all at once and am having a really hard time figuring out which one to focus my efforts on. I’m a writer, social media guru, writing coach and a holistic health coach… but I’d like to do it all without having to keep things so separate. I just need to do as you said and find my overarching theme. I am so thankful you wrote this. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

JonathanMead
Guest

@ProcrastWriter A theme is so critical. It makes it a lot easier to see how everything connects. Once you have that, it can be a kind of filtration mechanism.

Emilie
Guest

@ProcrastWriter Yeah, I think you’ll find that an overarching theme will make all the difference. You might also want to check out some of the case studies I published over at Puttylike. This one for example: http://puttylike.com/case-study-brian-gerald/

Good luck with the brainstorming! And you’re welcome. :)

Joodie
Guest

This is so dead on! I’ve spent more than a year now trying to find my “one thing” and getting completely depressed and upset with the entire process. I ended up doing absolutely nothing because I felt I couldn’t do just one thing right. Such a stuck and sad feeling. Thanks for sharing this, I need to read more about multipotentialites right away!

JonathanMead
Guest

@Joodie Emilie is really onto something big. I think she’s really going to explode in the next couple of years.

Glad you liked the post Joodie. :)

Emilie
Guest

@JonathanMead@Joodie Wow– thank you Joodie! This makes me overwhelmingly happy. Lets connect up on Twitter and keep in touch.

And Jonathan, your faith in me means so much. Thank you for giving me a platform to share my message!

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[…] http://paidtoexist.rabbithatch.com/2011/10/05/one-true-calling/ Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Personal and tagged personal development. Bookmark the permalink. ← How to Achieve Unexpected Success | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In […]

BonitaRoseK
Guest

wonderful post.. I am a renaissance soul.. get the book! and proud of that!

Emilie
Guest

@BonitaRoseK Thank you! Renaissance Soul is a great book, as is Refuse to Choose. Have you read that one?

BonitaRoseK
Guest

I haven’t.. I’ll look it up!

Craig McBreen
Guest
Multipotentiality. My word of the day. I keep hearing that we need to find our passion. Well, what if we don’t have a one passion? People are multifaceted and this online world is great for expressing your multifaced-ness :) I agree that blogging is the perfect platform for this. To showcase a bit of everything, right? I mean, you can have your niche or theme, but surround that with many different interests using your writing and/or video. Then infuse a bit of passion, be real and poof! There you go. Well … I’m just starting, but a boy can dream,… Read more »
Emilie
Guest

@Craig McBreen Yup, exactly! There’s something really liberating about accepting that you may not have “one true passion.” It kind of takes the pressure off. And yes, multipotentiality and blogging mix beautifully together. Have fun with your blog. Hit me up at Puttylike sometime. I’d love to take a look. :)

Craig McBreen
Guest

@Emilie Emile, Thank you! I’ll check out Puttylike for sure.

eatmydssertfrst
Guest
The worst advice anyone ever gave me was to find one thing that I’m good and do that ONE thing! Good thing I’m stubborn and understand that I wasn’t created to do just one thing and have resisted that advice ever since I first heard it! In fact, I laugh at it! Perhaps for some that advice is wise but for someone like me it’s the worst thing I could ever try to do! But there is one thing that I’m passionate about and that is building women! Their self-worth, their self-esteem, their vision, their business, their politics and their… Read more »
Emilie
Guest

That’s fantastic, Leisa! It really does sound like you found a “theme” of sorts– that driving force behind everything you do. And it’s just like you described. Your motivation to empower women isn’t one “skill,” it’s much broader than that. It has a TON of different components to it and allows you to use all kinds of different skills. Amazing.

a_creative_life
Guest
I couldn’t agree more, Emilie! I call myself a Passion Pluralite, and it was only when I learned to embrace this way of being that things finally started to fall into place! I make art (many kinds), I write, I make music, I write songs, I teach, I inspire and coach creatives to follow their own bliss(es) — and EACH of these essential parts of who I am is part of my business as well. Having many passions brings its own, unique challenges, but for those of us who are wired this way, there’s no other way to be. Yes,… Read more »
Emilie
Guest

@a_creative_life I completely agree. I’ve always “scanned” by nature, but it wasn’t till I became aware of what I was doing and dropped the fear of not being “one thing”, that life seemed to really take off.

I’m actually incredibly grateful for Puttylike, because I feel that it has given me permission to be the biggest multipotentialite in the world. After all, my career depends on it– gotta walk the walk, ya know? :)

MichiLantz
Guest
Emelie (and of course Jonathan) – Thank you for this! I just love synchronicity. This morning I pulled my hair, drank too many cups of coffee, started to listen to my self-doubt while trying to figure out how the bloody hell I could get my ‘creative juice’ into one place in a way that feels congruent. Then, suddenly out of the blue, enters the submarine sound that alerts of incoming mail. Tada. A Unstream mail from Jonathan. Yay. Guestpost by Emelie. Even more yay. Then I read the magic word – overarching theme! Of course, so obvious that I could… Read more »
Emilie
Guest

@MichiLantz Hi Michi, first, thank you for the kind words.

Usually when I work with a student, we go through a number exercises to come up with patterns and find their overarching theme. It’s tough figuring out where your dots connect without running through the worksheets or hearing more about your interests in detail. However, from what you’ve said, it sounds like spirituality/soul is a big overarching theme for you: bringing soul to art, leadership and life. That seems to be what you’re all about.

MichiLantz
Guest

@Emilie Thank for your answer. You just gave a sweet kick in my butt. I went to your site and read about your services and book. Just what a multipotentialite needs – a sparring partner to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Thank you! :)

So I just bought your Renaissance Business and will take a heartfelt splash right into it.

In’La Kesh (as the Mayan say – I am another you and you are another me)

Emilie
Guest

@MichiLantz Aw you’re awesome, Michi. Thank you. Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions after going through the book. :)

spiritsentient
Guest

@MichiLantz Hi Michi! I love what you’ve shared, and I’ve totally been there. Scattered would be an understatement for the old me. Now I’m focused with an over-arching theme, and it sounds related to what you’re about. Spirit + Art. My site provides Success-Consciousness For Creative People, and I think you may find some value there.As well, Emilie recommended more detail and doing some exercises, both of which I just posted today in my latest post: How To Have Fun Finding Your Life Purpose (With Pretty Pictures)!

Rock on!

MichiLantz
Guest

@spiritsentient Jason, thanks for your comment and encouragement! I have started to read your blog. Great stuff there. I will follow your work and messages. Thanks for your work and insight :)

spiritsentient
Guest

@MichiLantz _ Thank you, Michi! I value every connection, and am always ready to share my message :D Keep rockin’!

sherahart
Guest

I’ve always had many interests, just never thought to use them all for profit until I became a writer.

Emilie
Guest

@sherahart Writing is certainly a fantastic career for some multipotentialites. There’s a lot of space in there for exploring different topics and different styles.

Stephanie
Guest
I’m a late-comer, just finding this site tonight, but I will definitely be returning. I keep asking myself, “Do I really want to be a writer? I mean, is it r-e-a-l-l-y my passion? If not, then what is my passion?” I keep going to sites where other writers say that they love writing, that it’s their passion. I, on the other hand, am like, “But do I really love it?” I feel like I’m good at it. I’m getting paid (not big bucks, mind you) for it. Other people say that I’m good at it…But it’s not, like, easy or… Read more »
gabyers
Guest

Thank you. You have no idea how important it was for me to find this post today. I’ve spent too long thinking there is something wrong with me because I don’t have “one true passion”. You’ve given me a new way to look at things.

Emilie
Guest

@gabyers Oh I’m so glad. Thank you!

tishpiper
Guest

This is a wonderfully poetic piece. Struggling with trying to merge a business mind together with a holistic spirit has been my nemesis, but with this viewpoint, I can see the “dot to dots” on how it’s all about integrating communications.

Emilie
Guest

@tishpiper That’s great Tish. There’s certainly a way to bridge business and your holistic spirit. It actually sounds like a very appealing twist on business– something that could make you really stand out.

spiritsentient
Guest

@tishpiper Hi Tish! I agree with Emilie, that’s wonderful, and I don’t know if you’ve heard of Mark Silver over at http://HeartOfBusiness.com, but he specializes in getting to the holistic core of business. Hope that inspires!

tishpiper
Guest

@spiritsentient Thanks for the tip!

SuiteJ
Guest
My daughter (she’s 4) says she wants to be “a farmer and a singer” when she grows up and I wholeheartedly encourage her to switch it up and/or add things daily if she wants to. :) She also says she wants to marry Batman, but I’m not 100% on board with her on that one. I’m in my thirties and only recently started to realize that I don’t have to figure out the “one thing I want to be an expert in”. It used to stress me out trying to decide what I would “leave behind”. Now, I’m finding it… Read more »
Emilie
Guest

@SuiteJ That’s darling. And your daughter is so lucky to have such an awesome dad. :)

There’s really nothing better than parents who encourage their children to embrace all their interests. I dedicated my book to my parents for that reason. :)

KJC
Guest

Emilie,

This is brilliant, and much needed! Too often in our society multipotentialities are labeled indecisive, wishy-washy, etc. (especially in the business world). Now, if I could just pin down my overarching theme….:)

Thanks for the post!

Emilie
Guest

@KJC Thank you! And I agree, that attitude is everywhere in society and it’s incredibly destructive. I’ve got some resources to help you pin down your overarching theme over at Puttylike. It’s a big part of my book, Renaissance Business. But if you browse around the site, you’ll also find a bunch of blog posts and case studies that should help. :)

pntszdinFluence
Guest

Ah…I so need this. I should read it every single day. Fighting the tears back because I’m at work and I don’t need/want the sympathy. This theme is a constant struggle with me. Off to google *multipotentiality*…I’m pretty sure I have that. Self diagnosis…LOL

Emilie
Guest

@pntszdinFluence Aw, I’m so glad I could help be a catalyst of sorts… And here’s a resource for ya: http://puttylike.com/terminology/

CMGalvin
Guest
I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. I’ve had many ideas, and pursued many avenues that just stem from this one ideal. I changed my major 15 times while completing my Bachelor’s degree trying to determine what was the right path for me. It became a running joke amongst my friends. I’m learning that I shouldn’t feel bad, especially since I have the same job as my roommate even after he went and got his Master’s degree. I have a few of my next steps planned. I already have one start in my Etsy shop. I am… Read more »
Emilie
Guest

@CMGalvin I bet you picked up some really interesting knowledge throughout those 15 degree changes! I too studied a bunch of different things in school (music, art, film, law…) it’s fun, exploring your passions, as long as you embrace your “scanning” instead of making it a source of stress or some sign of failing. Sounds like you’re starting to get to that point though, which is awesome!

trackback

[…] Why some of us don’t have one true calling, courtesy of Illuminated Mind. […]

saraboargs
Guest

I loved your post Emilie… it really spoke to me especially in this phase of my life… I hope we’ll meet someday :) keep being awesome!

Emilie
Guest

@saraboargs Yeah, I’d love that Sara! Lets twitter it up.

Also, awesome pants!

spiritsentient
Guest

This is amazing, such a great explanation of something I’ve always felt deep in my bones. Extremely well-timed as well, I just finished a post for my readers ( http://spiritsentient.com/how-to-have-fun-finding-your-life-purpose-with-pretty-pictures ) and I was giving a heads up to Jon + Reclaim Your Dreams, ’cause of the exercise on finding your values — and then I see Emilie’s guest-post on Multipotentialites. Brilliant!

I subscribed to PuttyLike, and I’m eager to know more. This is great stuff, and really helps the hyper-creative, artist types (we’re a goldmine niche :P there’s tons of us, and we’re under-served!)

Anyway, thanks so much Jon + Emilie.

Emilie
Guest

@spiritsentient Hey Jason, I just replied to your comment on your article. We totally need to connect! :)

spiritsentient
Guest

@Emilie Consider it done — LOVE what you’re about! :)

Marya | Writing Happiness
Guest
This is a fantastic post, wish somebody tell me this every single time I am down on myself. All my life I have felt like Jane of all trades. One thing that I am sure about this that I love learning and growing as a human, nothing else ever stay the same. This is the reason my life has been so haphazard (worthwhile nonetheless) and never a straight line. But I am happy to be where I am and wouldn’t change it for the world. Good to know now I can quieten the voices in my head too when they… Read more »
Emilie
Guest

@Marya | Writing Happiness Indeed. Straight lines are boring, who needs ’em! :)

ladyterroreducation
Guest

I love this post. The myth of having the “one” life path has had me also worried and abxious about not following one way. I love theater, poetry, life coaching, street art and thrifting, they all have the theme of: Creative Empowerment. Once I relaized this I felt more open to embracing them all. Thanks for the post. I love your blog.

Emilie
Guest

@ladyterroreducation Thanks! Your interests are fantastic too. Sounds like a fun life to me!

trackback

[…] have to specialize?” and “Why do I have to choose one thing to be?”  (This was Google’s response. Maybe it’s trying to tell me […]

trackback

[…] well aware of my “multiple irons in the fire” — as he termed it when he sent me this article last week. The author writes that it’s okay to have multiple interests and talents rather […]

trackback

[…] Today while browsing few blogs, i came to this article of Jonathan Mead about MULTIPOTENTIALITIES. http://paidtoexist.rabbithatch.com/2011/10/05/one-true-calling/. […]

de2
Guest

The question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is one that many of us have struggled with, and felt painfully self-critical for not coming up with an “acceptable” label and role. But people like Emilie Wapnick (‘multipotentialite’) and Barbara Sher (‘scanner’) are reframing our serial passions and interests and talents as valid, and something to celebrate.

Emilie
Guest

@de2 That’s the idea. But we couldn’t do it if multipotentialites/scanners like you didn’t help. :)

EclecticBug
Guest

Oh Emilie, I love that word: ‘Multipotentiality’ and that saying: ‘It makes you original and innovative’. How inspiring to be accepted as learning and living in all directions and not be bottlenecked into one! I reckon I have worked out my overarching theme running through my life of : [Tiny details ~ big solutions] it’s come out in all sorts of directions and adapted my life as you say “Putty like” Thank you for sharing your insights

Emilie
Guest

@EclecticBug Ah I love that– [Tiny details ~ big solutions] ! What’s your URL? I’d love to check it out.

roguepolymath
Guest

Awesomeness! This polymath is glad he’s not alone. Keep up the great work!

Emilie
Guest

@roguepolymath He is most definitely not alone. :) Thanks!

lbergstrome
Guest

In kindergarten my response was “cat”, go back a year to play-school and I wanted to be a “house”. I haven’t had clarity since :-)

Emilie
Guest

@lbergstrome Hahaha yes!

JaclynRosalieHatlak
Guest

i’m 24 and i’m still struggling with this question. my first memory of being asked what i wanted to be when i grew up was “giant chicken”. my list includes “an artist”, “an opera singer” , “a mommy”, “a police officer”, “awesome”, “a rockstar”, “a cartoon”, “an actress”… and then as i got older, i wanted to be a counselor, a social worker, a hair stylist and makeup artist, a psychologist, a lawyer, a body modification artist/body piercer… the list went on… then i decided that i wanted to be HAPPY, when i grew up.

michellehelen
Guest

 @JaclynRosalieHatlak My word

michellehelen
Guest

 @JaclynRosalieHatlak Yes! I’ve wanted and still want to be all of those things. The one thing I have noticed in this trend though is that ALL of my ideas involve communication, whether that’s communicating through art, listening to someone talk about their life, conveying personality through body modification. People think I’m absolutely bonkers! but I love it.

PaigeBurkes
Guest
I love this post and the permission it gives people to do what they know to be right for them. Out of high school I wanted to be a business manager for an artist or band (I had a business/analytical mind while all my friends were artists). Despite taking a test in college that told me I was best suited to be an air traffic controller, I was an accounting major and became a CPA for a while until I burned out. From there I went to dude ranch manager, outfitter and horse trainer, back to accounting and corporate finance.… Read more »
RomainCurutchet
Guest

I have yet to start a blog though I have really wanted to in the past 6 months; the reason I didn’t do anything is because I had so many small disparate interests that I didn’t see myself committing to writing on only one interest. This led to many different blog ideas and no action taken.Now, after having given it some thought, I am definitely going to start a “renaissance business”.

RomainCurutchet
Guest

I have yet to start a blog though I have really wanted to in the past 6 months; the reason I didn’t do anything is because I had so many small disparate interests that I didn’t see myself committing to writing on only one interest. This led to many different blog ideas and no action taken.Now, after having given it some thought, I am definitely going to start a “renaissance business”.

CMGalvin
Guest

@RomainCurutchet The important thing is to just start. You can refine your topics as you go along. Or not. You may find that variety is your strength.

BonitaRoseK
Guest

I honestly have so many interests and have so much fun and joy doing ea one… the tricky part is merging them all onto an online business that can afford me to live the life I dream of, and still do what I love, day in and day out.. I don’t hv to be any one thing.. u are right.. I don’t.. I can be me.. with all these passions and share them all. xo loved re reading this post. xo

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[…] favorite new word is “multipotentialite” and my favorite motto of the day is “Don’t think ‘out of the box’, think […]

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[…] If you’re interested in this idea, read this post by Emilie Wapnick called Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling (and Why We’re Better Off that Way). […]

SoloZendo
Guest
Always interesting when I go out looking for new jobs, and they ask me, “You spent the last five years doing _____. Why do you want to change?” As though moving on were a sign of failure or giving up or looking for greener pastures. Where’s your sense of adventure, people? But seriously, trying to shoehorn all your interests into your job or a narrow area of focus… maybe it works for some. Not so much for me. It’s actually easier to just find a decent job that isn’t too odious, and use it to finance all my other interests.… Read more »
teresacapaldo
Guest

This article is greatly appreciated!   Wapnick is spot on.  As someone who has never been “one dimensional” I have experienced so much of what she describes with the stigma of society demanding each of us picks ONE thing to do in life and we do that for all our lives.  It is not the 50’s…thank goodness for that.  Women especially, have more opportunities than ever to “bring home the bacon”, and if desired, they can be earners and dedicated parents too.
 
I’m glad there is real dialog taken place on this subject.
Thank you.

cdstern
Guest

You’ve got me thinking about my overarching theme! Thanks.

LawrencePolsky
Guest

Thank you!  This totally freed me up from a internal conflict I have had for years!  Excellent!

ChrisLappin
Guest
I absolutely loved this post & will definitely be sharing it. Thanks for the link to Jonathan’s free download too.   Sometimes I feel like I’m doing something wrong when I shift, change directions & go against the norm.  As I go though life I change as a person through my life experiences, so why shouldn’t what I do change too?   Now in my late 40s I’ve finally found a way of integrating my passion of helping & supporting others with a business &, tho’ it’s early days with lots to do, I feel content. Before I did work… Read more »
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[…] the way that men are. So while multipotentialites of all genders often feel disempowered by a culture that emphasizes specialization, I believe that women have an extra burden to […]

BRANDARA
Guest

My dad is still “concerned” that I don’t have a full time job. With his 35 years of Accounting at the one firm, he just doesn’t understand anything else. Bring on the new generation!

Bill Widmer
Guest

Wow, this article really sums up a huge part of my life haha, I’m glad to see there are other people out there who agree with me. I was at a job recently that wanted me to drop everything for them and only do one thing, and they were trying to change who I was as a person. But, that’s just not me. I’m the kind of person who loves to have like 8 different hobbies that I do in a day, and I hate being forced in to only one of them. Great article!

Pepper
Guest

Amazingness in awesome sauce!!!

Looking forward to reading more.

xoxo

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