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Tips for Students: Choosing ALL Your Passions: The Life of a Multipotentialite

Highlights from Expert Series

The following article shares highlights and insights from one of our Expert Series events, which are exclusive for Young Scholars and their parents.

Summary

Some of us fit neatly into boxes. We dream of becoming surgeons, mathematicians, or sports stars. But it can be hard for those who don’t seem to fit into a single box to find their path. This talk is all about exploring possibilities and discovering what a life of embracing multiple passions can look like.

A “multipotentialite” is someone who doesn’t want to be ‘just one thing’. This is a modern take on an old idea: for centuries people who appreciate breadth as well as depth have been known as polymaths, renaissance people, generalists, scanners or multipassionates.

There are as many ways to express multipotentiality as there are multipotentialites. Some people run multiple businesses simultaneously. Others may have a series of very different careers throughout their lifetime. And others again may create single jobs or businesses which encompass many of their passions at once.

By looking at these examples we can begin to paint our own picture of what our ideal life may look like. Spending time getting to know our own skills, talents, passions and interests helps us to identify overlaps and may suggest new and surprising combinations. Combining seemingly-disparate topics together can be fruitful for creativity and problem solving.

It’s important to continually reflect on the life we want and how we can get there. It helps to periodically reaffirm our destination, and to set goals to meet along the way. Those goals must be turned into concrete, actionable steps: every day moving a little closer to a goal is progress.

Top Tips

  • Look for examples of people living the kind of life you would enjoy. Do you want lots of variety, or lots of routine? Which passions are essential to you, and which are optional?
  • Look for combinations between your interests and imagine what kinds of jobs or projects might exist at those intersections.
  • Instead of asking “what do I want to do forever?” ask “what do I wish life looked like right now?”
  • Regularly reassess what you love to do, what you’re good at, and ask yourself how you can spend your time now to better encompass those things.

Additional Resources

Check out the multipotentialite community at puttylike.com

Read ‘How to be Everything’ by Emilie Wapnick: http://howtobeeverything.com/ 

Watch Emilie Wapnick’s TED Talk “Why some of us don’t have one true calling”:

https://www.ted.com/talks/emilie_wapnick_why_some_of_us_don_t_have_one_true_calling?language=en

See also Neil’s TED talk about anxiety and overthinking: http://bit.ly/custardTED

And Neil’s other work at https://neilhughes.me

Authored by: Neil Hughes
Bio: Neil Hughes is a comedian, author, physicist, tutor and speaker. His talk about the surprising link between mental health and the physics of custard has been viewed over a quarter of a million times. When he’s not speaking about pudding, he’s writing books about magical shops filled with human personality traits, crafting websites, or writing articles for Puttylike—the online home for people with many passions.

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