Jack of all trades, and master of none… or Multipotentialite?

It’s always been an uphill battle for me when trying to limit myself to one or two things to focus on. Growing up, I was very much into music and passionate about performing arts. I went to music school for many years and performed and competed in various places in Russia. However, I was also quite good at maths and got so much joy from solving problems and learning new concepts. Naturally, with Asian parents, I was not allowed to pursue music as my professional path. Thus, I studied business and now use my “technical smarts” to excel at work. Even though I really like my job, I am struck with fear every once in a while that maybe this field is not for me and that I should pursue what I am really passionate about (millennials, am I right? Ha-ha).

If you talk to me regularly, you probably know that I do a lot of things outside of work, some of which are volunteering at PMV, kickboxing, and being in a dance group. Lately, I started questioning why I am putting so much pressure on myself to do all these things. Is it just because I don’t want my job to define me? Or is it because I am unfocused and do not know what my goals are? To be quite honest, these questions, along with me feeling burnt out, caused me to have some identity crisis and “depression” (I put this in quotation marks because I’ve never actually been diagnosed with depression and want to acknowledge that real depression is probably not as sudden and fleeting).

I started looking back at the things I’ve thrown myself into in the past few years and why I had done so. The reason is probably because I often find new activities interesting and exciting and dive head first into them to learn as much as I can in the shortest amount of time. Often times, I am quite successful. For example, with cheerleading, although I was part of the SFU Cheer team for only two years, I managed to make it into the competitive team, win at Sea to Sky, and win a bid to World championships with my team (I had no competitive sports experience before that). However, it is always a matter of time before I find something new and move on. In many cases, I move on because I do not find the job or activity challenging or rewarding anymore.

Recently, I have started doubting myself a lot. Was I spreading myself too thin? Am a Jill of all trades and master of none? I have seen many of my peers find one area that they were really good at and were passionate about, and that had led them to many successes. And I felt like I would not reach success if I kept juggling a bazillion things at the same time. The thought of always being mediocre scares and “depresses” me. However, I did not want to fall deeper into the state where I question things without knowing the way out. Thus, I started Googling, and found an article that struck a chord with me and gave an explanation to why I do things the way that I do.

The article talks about being a multipotentialite, AKA scanner or renaissance person, who does not have one true calling. They have many interests that constantly change. I found myself relating to many of the points made, especially the explanation of how multipotentialites absorb new information and learn new skills fast and then move on. Another article said that the end goal or achievement for multipotentialites is different than for specialists. While society considers mastery of a field to be the finish line, for multiplotentialites, the finish line is when they have reached the point where they have enough knowledge and they start to lose excitement for that field.

This information gave me a whole new perspective on myself and how I should be approaching work. I have found resources to help with my anxieties regarding this. But most importantly, I regained a bit more confidence about myself, knowing that there are other people just like me and they are successful. Now, I am excited to learn more about how I can make this odd trait work for me and lead me to even more interesting things 🙂

Are you also a multipotentialite? If so, what has been your biggest struggle or success?

2 thoughts on “Jack of all trades, and master of none… or Multipotentialite?

  1. Ba đây cũng là một multipotentialite. Áp lực cuộc sống cũng rất lớn. Nghiên cứu vật lý không đủ sống phải làm nhiều thứ khác nhu xây dựng, làm mộc, chữa đài, tivi, làm cơ khí… rồi làm tự động hóa, phải đọc sách và tự học rất nhiều. Ba đã đi lái xe ô tô kiêu lái thuê, tacxi để kiếm tiền, buôn bans quần áo giầy dép nhiều. Bây giờ thì là về xử lý nước và môi trường. Hang năm Ba xây dựng khoảng 30 trạm cấp nước và khoản 2 công trình xử lý nước thải, viết ít nhất 1 bài báo về công nghệ môi trường cho tạp chí cấp nước. Công việc sẽ đem lại niêm vui. Nhyuw vậy thì áp lực sẽ đẩy người ta phấn đấu để trưởng thành hơn con ạ. những người không năng đông, lười biếng, không chịu học hỏi sẽ thiếu tự tin và trâm cảm, con ba và con không phải loại người đó. cái này gọi là Ren.

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