How to discover if you are a multi-passionate creative?
iHello Creative QB’s,
3 minute read
How many creative projects do you have on the go right now? Do you have half a dozen, are you starting on another, almost finished one? If this sounds like you, you are most likely multi-passionate or a ‘multipotentialite’.
It’s like you are a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’, except that a multipotentialite is usually successful at the many interests she or he puts their mind to. It is the deep curiosity of wonderment that drives a multi-passionate creative, we are in pursuit of magic. Read on and discover if you are one of us.
4 mins read
Do you have half a dozen creative ideas, projects, passions and things your love on the go right now? Maybe are you equally excited about each of them, finding it challenging to prioritise just one? Or maybe you are starting a new thing that is demanding your attention, working on another, almost finished one? I bet you have a couple of notebooks on the go with lists of ideas and notes?
…and have you experienced this? When someone asks you that dreaded question “and what do you do”? Do you quickly scan your brain for a point of reference that is relevant to the person asking the question? Relatable? Yep I hear you. This describes my very existence too.
If this sounds like you and I are what is known as a ‘multipotentialite’.
Multi-potential personality is a term used by behavioral scientists and psychologists to describe people who have many and varied creative skills, interests and projects from a number of fields and usually at any one time. It’s like you are a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’, except that a multipotentialite is mostly successful at the many interests she puts their mind to.
It is the deep curiosity of wonderment that drives a multi-passionate creative, we are in pursuit of magic. We are not specialists; we are generalists- interested in anything or anyone that interests us, a bit like Alice in Wonderland down the rabbit hole.
Take for example, Cate my youngest sister. Her day job is as a teacher. She teaches Kindergarten, supports students with additional learning needs and has three of her very own. At any one time she has a couple of projects on the go, beautiful textile wall hangings, a series of hand-made earrings, a growing collection of indoor plants, she is constantly re-decorating the house, working on plans for a new house. She is furthering her training with her interests in both gifted and talented education and digital technologies. Cate is the first to admit she is that ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. She loves starting new things but often feels like she never really achieves any one thing. What Cate is really doing is masters a new skill set quickly and when the curiosity or the learning no longer drives her, she moves on. That is multipotentialite behaviour.
The same is true for Belle, my other sister. Belle is a single mum, she juggles a full time job that requires skills beyond her native creativity, like logistics and scheduling. It is her fast creative problem-solving, a multi-skilling trait that makes her a multipotentialite. She also has a passion cooking and knows flavours and ingredients I haven’t even heard of. She creates her own delicious recipes and ideas for food and has a really fun side-biz called Sassy Swivel.
Me on the other hand, I am always wondering what I’m actually good at. I’ve learned that as a multi-passionate creative, I’m good at many things. In fact, I’ve built my career and life on broad-ranging creative skills, on my Resume, I’m a multidisciplinary creative. I’ve also spent a lifetime trying to explain to people what I do, or what I’m doing now. My true talent is the art of curiosity. I acquire skills fast and then adapt these skills to whatever sparks my interest or need. It means I’m able to envision quickly, see the big picture with many moving parts, have a deep understanding of the implications, tackle things with passion, learn what I need and pack it all up when I’m done. A friend once told me I’ve made a career out of re-inventing myself, and perhaps that is true. As a artist, designer, creative manager, business owner, artist, writer, thinker, maker, performer and speaker, these are all skills I have gathered and they bounce to life in everyday practice as a multi-passionate creative.
In fact this is the point. Being a multipotentialite is a great thing. The days of thinking we must focus on one specialisation are no longer true. There are too many wonderful opportunities and stuff to discover while being passionate about life, it’s a gift be nothing other than a multipotentialite.
Multipotentialite people possess the essential 21st century skills and developed competencies the world is clambering for. Being a multipotentialite is a strength and there are a number of ways you can identify if you have the characteristics of a multipotentialite.
Emily Wapnick is a super clever chick who in 2010 invented the term “multipotentialite” based on earlier psychological investigations of people with varying interests that span many fields.
Based on Emily’s definition of multipotentialite, can you identify the following in yourself?
- Do you have many different interests and creative pursuits in life?
- Do you have no ‘one true calling’ the way specialists do?
- Do you have many paths and pursue all of them, either sequentially or simultaneously (or both)?
- Do you thrive on learning, exploring, and mastering new skills?
- Do you bring disparate ideas together in creative ways?
- Do you have an insatiable curiosity that leads you to absorb everything you can get your hands on or do you pick up new skills fast and tend to be a wealth of information?
Being a multipotentialite is also closely linked to your IQ. More recent research suggests a genetic link to your IQ, with as little as a 5-10 point difference between siblings. This of course means that for us sisters, Belle, Cate and I, it is our parents fault that we are all multipotentialites. It describes our creative thinking father and multi-tasking mother perfectly. Good on you Mum & Dad, for the multi-potential in us.
The real trick to being multipotentiality is learning to ‘Go where your flow’ rather than ‘go with the flow’.
> You can find more about multipotentialites at Emily Wapnick’s Ted Talk HERE
> Look HERE for genetic IQ research: Like minds- Similarities and differences in intellectual ability in gifted siblings:
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I am Amanda O'Bryan, an artist, designer and author of the book 'Daily Acts Of Creativity'. I believe life is a masterpiece and we are the artists. On my blog you will find inspiration and resources to help you create your masterpiece of life.
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