This month in the Member’s Haven we have been thinking about what it means to be a gentle multipotentialite.
In the fantastically insightful interview Emile Wapnick describes Multipotentialite as people ‘with many interests and creative pursuits in life’. And she outlines four different approaches to building a life and a living when you feel no sense of ‘one true calling‘.
I think I could quite confidently identify with multipotentialism. I know many introverts and highly sensitive people are the same.
The Progress Problem
I’ve always ‘struggled’ with making genuine and consistent progress in my various projects due in large part to my tendency to jump from one thing to another. This has always made it hard to make genuinely effective big-picture goals.
Some days I want to make music, most days I want to write, and on other altogether rarer occasions I want to do something mundane and monotonous.
When I first came across Emilie’s Puttylike.com it was great to realise that I was not alone. It was encouraging to discover that there are millions of other people who have the same belief that there is no ‘one true/traditional calling’ that they feel compelled to pursue.
Labels are Tools, NOT Justifications
The consistent factor that I feel umbrellas my life is ‘creativity’.
So when Steve Jobs says “creativity is just connecting things” it brings a new sense of perspective to what can start to feel like a disconnected experience of the world. This is a rather succinct definition of my relationship with my multipotentialite nature. LIFE itself is about making connections; between people, between ideas, between passions.
Realising that I am a multipotentialite has enabled me to reframe my experience of the world and understand what is going on in my head when I jump between things. And as with any label, whether it’s introvert, HSP, or multipotentialite, it’s so important to use it as a tool and NOT allow it to define us, justifying self-sabotage, or the easy way out of situations.
The key aspect that multipotentialites who begin to understand that they are wired in this way need to grapple with is the scale of variety and meaning. As an introverted and highly sensitive person this resonates deeply. Within the right amount of variety comes space for the right amount of meaning.
Everyone needs some sense of meaning in their life, i.e. the feeling that we are making a difference for someone. It’s no good to simply have a life jumping between a bunch of odd jobs that you don’t really care about. That’s a recipe for burning yourself out. Yes you have plenty of variety, but at the same time you have absolutely no sense of ‘why’ you’re scattering yourself so thinly.
For me meaning comes when the variety is connected by my understanding of my bigger aims and philosophy. We are creative beings, and ‘creativity is just connecting things’.
A Life Theme
About 6 months ago I was challenged by a friend to identify my ‘life theme’ (a philosophy or filter that underpins my everyday life) in terms of what I am able to offer the world. The filter through which I view the world.
I was struggling with which ‘direction’ I should take next. He said I needed to think less in terms of direction, and more in terms of the ebb and flow of the whole of my existence.
He told me to run every potential opportunity, every request, every demand through this ‘life theme’ and ask the question, ‘will this enable or inhibit me from living my purpose?’ In this context direction evolves naturally and is not a conscious choice to make at the outset.
Wow. This really made sense to me.
The feeling that I don’t have ‘one true calling’ didn’t remove the meaning from my life. It just meant I had to change the way I processed understanding of meaning. Meaning is discovered in the hows and whys of life, not in the whats. Our character is defined by how we act and why we choose. The what is simply the scenery.
Emilie says that ‘meaning is the sense that you’re making a difference in the world’. And that runs along different tracks for everyone. We all have unique things that get us passionate, things we care deeply about, and ways we want to see the world changed.
It is within this chaos that we begin to discover who we really are.
Over to You
Question: Have you ever considered the idea of your ‘Life Theme’? Is there a filter that you run everything through to ask ‘is this worth it? Is this consistent with my life theme?’ Please leave your answer in the comments below. I absolutely love hearing from you.