“[E]mbrace your many passions. Follow your curiosity down those rabbit holes. Explore your intersections. Embracing our inner wiring leads to a happier, more authentic life.” ~ Emilie Wapnick
A Facebook reader messaged me recently about interests and personal growth: “I had many different interests and talents in my childhood so that was always a challenge to choose one among others. What solution do you suggest?”
If you are someone who—rather than searching to find a passion—is struggling to choose one interest or passion of many to pursue, know that you are not alone. You may be what Barbara Sher calls a scanner: someone who naturally has many interests and thrives when following many of them rather specializing narrowly.
Emilie Wapnick uses the term multipotentialite in her TEDx Talk, “Why some of us don’t have one true calling“:
When multipotentialites become interested in something, we go hard. We observe everything we can get our hands on. We’re also used to being beginners, because we’ve been beginners so many times in the past, and this means that we’re less afraid of trying new things and stepping out of our comfort zones. What’s more, many skills are transferable across disciplines, and we bring everything we’ve learned to every new area we pursue, so we’re rarely starting from scratch. ~ Emilie Wapnick
But how does one choose which interests or passions to pursue, especially as we get older and have less time ahead of us than in our rearview mirror? It’s easy to suffer from what psychologist Barry Schwartz terms the paradox of choice: we think that having more choices would make us happier, but it can instead lead to paralysis as we focus on missed opportunities of whatever we do not choose. The result is that we choose nothing.
The point is that the engagement and process are what aid our personal growth and satisfaction, not levels of achievement or outward measures of success or tangible products.
In other words, what is important is to choose something to start, and to remind ourselves that not being an expert or narrowly focused is normal for us. Learn more by watching Emilie Wapnick’s TEDx talk, below (the Facebook reader I’d mentioned wrote recently that “this video and the community of multipods is changing my life!”) and check out her website for multipotentialites, Puttylike.