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HOT TOPIC Are you a Multipotentialite/Polymath?

JWM

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So I stumbled across this term last year some time, while it sounds corny at first, I realised I fit the definition.

"A multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life. Multipotentialites have no “one true calling” the way specialists do."

The term was coined by Emilie Wapnick and it differs slightly to the term "Polymath" as it has more to do with interests and pursuits rather than general knowledge and being of "encyclopedic learning".

What do you all think of the concept? Do you think you fit into it?

As for me, I absolutely think I do. It has actually made me feel better about what I do, like it isn't wrong to develop completely unrelated skills, get good at them and move onto something else.

I became an Engineer then worked as one. While I was working as an Engineer I started learning how to airbrush as an artist and became quite good, I even manged to get flown out to Malaysia to airbrush amusement park rides for 3 weeks. I picked up some web dev skills out of pure interest, developed a few sites and moved on (this is a skill that could get me out of a tight spot if there is a lack of funding for a business project). Now I'm teaching myself how to make custom knives out of pure interest.

I expect people to say it's because I lack a main focus so I need to fill my time with something to keep busy. I can assure you I would still be this way even if I was full steam ahead on a business (almost) or career. I thought the same thing at one point but realised it wasn't the case. What I'm interested in is discovering an interesting skill, learning it and being good at it. I get a rush from developing a brand new skill, the research, the history and what can be produced.

Just thought I'd share, thanks for reading
 

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Eskil

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Lol, yeah I didn't know there was a term for it but it's how I have felt my whole life. Things I either have done or want to get really into include programming, game development, woodworking, guitar building, graphic design, learning Japanese, making custom knives, oil painting, PC building, sculpting, playing drums, playing piano, playing bass, playing guitar, singing, scale model kits, web design, marketing, cooking, screenwriting, renovating a bathroom, built a walk in closet, worked on cars, film directing, acting, drawing, dancing, scuba diving, composing music, building businesses, and of course inventing! ;)

(I feel like I still left out a lot, lol)
 
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Primeperiwinkle

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Oh my. YES.

I have loved the word novaturient for a while.. I’ll have to add multipotetialite to the list. It’s just.. fun. People don’t understand how I can study so many different things but to me it’s sheer happiness. I want to know all the things, so I can compare all the things, do a bunch of the things and die knowing I visited multitudinous spheres of learning not just five square feet.

But oh goodness.. I wish I could learn faster. Lol.
 

Primeperiwinkle

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Don't we call this shiny object syndrome?
Not the OP but I can see how they would look the same, especially when I’m first embarking on a new subject. There is a difference though. Shiny object syndrome is escapism.

This type of learning is closer to the Renaissance man. It forwards the goals in your life, deepening the connection to the good, the true, and the beautiful.

I admit I swing between the two more often than I like. The proof is in the action.
 

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Don't we call this shiny object syndrome?
No we dont. :smile2:

We can call this a curiosity for life or a fascination with learning. Some of us love to be able to master a skill just for the challenge of it. I'm not saying be world class but at a high enough standard that we could probably get paid for it in some shape or form.

In fact I expect many of us have been paid for, at least, one of these 'side skills' we have acquired over the years (as in @JWM example above). I know I have countless times. In fact I was offered money to coach someone on one such skill recently. As it was I gave my time freely but they would have happily paid $70 for less than an hour of my time.

We are all different. My father never had a single hobby that I know of. I know other people who have just that, a single hobby. Be it golf or fishing or whatever. They spend all their free time happily trying to reduce their handicap or catch that 50lb+ carp in that one lake.

That would bore me to tears although I quite like the occasional round of golf and days fishing.
 
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JWM

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Don't we call this shiny object syndrome?
In this case I disagree. I'm not chasing all of these skills to further my career, make money, keep up to date or turn it into some business idea. It's purely out of interest. I discover something that really draws me in, I learn all all about it, set a goal and have a go. That goal is at least to be very good at it. It's the satisfaction of developing the skill and producing something unique from it.
 

JWM

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Lol, yeah I didn't know there was a term for it but it's how I have felt my whole life. Things I either have done or want to get really into include programming, game development, woodworking, guitar building, graphic design, learning Japanese, making custom knives, oil painting, sculpting, playing drums, playing piano, playing bass, playing guitar, singing, scale model kits, cooking, screenwriting, film directing, acting, drawing, dancing, scuba diving, composing music, building businesses, and of course inventing! ;)

(I feel like I still left out a lot, lol)
Hey I absolutely left a lot out, the things I want to try or things that I knew I no longer wanted to pursue is an endless list. Thanks for sharing though, you seem to share a lot of similar interests.
 

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JWM

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I think most people are in one way or another.

It’s hard to be successful by being good at one thing.

Most business owners/successful people have to be good at multiple things.
Yeah I completely agree, you need to be able to do various things in business, especially when capital is lacking or you are just starting out. I'm talking a little more generally, not business related though, more lifestyle/way of life.
 

JWM

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Oh my. YES.

I have loved the word novaturient for a while.. I’ll have to add multipotetialite to the list. It’s just.. fun. People don’t understand how I can study so many different things but to me it’s sheer happiness. I want to know all the things, so I can compare all the things, do a bunch of the things and die knowing I visited multitudinous spheres of learning not just five square feet.

But oh goodness.. I wish I could learn faster. Lol.
Yes! I think we're on the same wavelength. There's a particular sense of satisfaction that comes of it but I just can't quite put it into words.
 

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Hey Man

I will send you a PM.

It's nice to see there are more of us like this! This thread will definitely become one of my top ones. Hopefully.

Many people will see it as spreading yourself thin. Not focusing. But you probably feel it's your nature. It's far from the truth. We just sit down and focus on it, until we are happy, and then go to another one. Also, in the process, we can find a really great one that consumes us for longer period, and also, combined with knowledge and experience from other ones, we can build something really great...

@Eskil which of these skills you enumerated you could say you are good at?

The best part is, you just need a couple of hours to become better than 95% of the population. But a bit more to make a living from it. Still we don't do this for money, but for the sheer pleasure. It's like a drug to our brain. We need to know and be able to do more and more and more.

My opinion is that only a person who has a lot of mastered skills in many areas can be successful. You need to master sales in order to sell your skills, this is at least two main skills to start with. And then how do you master sales? Copy? Calling? Writing (in general)? Marketing etc etc... each one of these is a science in itself. And then your 'main' skill, which you want to sell......
 

JWM

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Hey Man

I will send you a PM.

It's nice to see there are more of us like this! This thread will definitely become one of my top ones. Hopefully.

Many people will see it as spreading yourself thin. Not focusing. But you probably feel it's your nature. It's far from the truth. We just sit down and focus on it, until we are happy, and then go to another one. Also, in the process, we can find a really great one that consumes us for longer period, and also, combined with knowledge and experience from other ones, we can build something really great...

@Eskil which of these skills you enumerated you could say you are good at?

The best part is, you just need a couple of hours to become better than 95% of the population. But a bit more to make a living from it. Still we don't do this for money, but for the sheer pleasure. It's like a drug to our brain. We need to know and be able to do more and more and more.

My opinion is that only a person who has a lot of mastered skills in many areas can be successful. You need to master sales in order to sell your skills, this is at least two main skills to start with. And then how do you master sales? Copy? Calling? Writing (in general)? Marketing etc etc... each one of these is a science in itself. And then your 'main' skill, which you want to sell......
There's some great points here that you've made. I agree people see it as spreading yourself thin, but for me I feel it's what I need to do to function, to keep my brain ticking over.

As for taking the new skill, developed out if interest, then going out to sell it, fundamental sales skills are key. As for the rest of it like copy etc. I think it depends one what you're selling. I like using my hands to create. Iwould sell something I have created because I know it's better than most of the stuff already out there, let the product speak for itself, not so much the other sales tools.

I can only speak for my experience though, would be interesting to see if anyone has taken a new skill that was unrelated to their career/business and ended up making a little side income from and how they did it. Apart from the typical things like web development etc. Something hands on, the makers in the community
 

NovaAria

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I disagree, actually.
This is a lot like that "Sapiosexual" word thats getting thrown a lot lately. Everyone likes intelligence and enjoys having deep conversations, but someone made a word for it and now everyone calls themselves a Sapiosexual.
I think everyone is capable of learning everything. Some people are too lazy to do so, some people just jump from one shiny thing to the next... And some people have the discipline necessary to sit down and learn until they feel confident enough with it to move to the next one.

I would say that its more about discipline than the ability or will to learn. Everyone can learn, some would rather watch tv than do it.
 

Eskil

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I disagree, actually. This is a lot like that "Sapiosexual" word thats getting thrown a lot lately. Everyone likes intelligence and enjoys having deep conversations, but someone made a word for it and now everyone calls themselves a Sapiosexual. I think everyone is capable of learning everything. Some people are too lazy to do so, some people just jump from one shiny thing to the next... And some people have the discipline necessary to sit down and learn until they feel confident enough with it to move to the next one.
I would say that its more about discipline than the ability or will to learn. Everyone can learn, some would rather watch tv than do it.
Yeah the sapiosexual thing is a joke tbh. I do see what you're trying to say - and I do agree that everyone is capable of learning everything. Yes everyone can learn. But what OP what posting is about, and what this is about - is actually having the interest to want to learn so many things. The majority of people I have met throughout my life simply don't have that many interests. They are happy and content with maybe a hobby, and in some cases maybe two hobbies, but that's enough for most. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. This is not about comparing who is 'smarter' or 'better' or who is more lazy.

It's just about the interesting fact that some people have a deep, innate hunger to pursue and fulfill a TON of hobbies and skill learning. For most others, they're happy and content without it (though of course they would still be capable of learning if they did have the interests).
 

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@Eskil which of these skills you enumerated you could say you are good at?
Well I still haven't gotten around to most of them, lol. Which.... trust me, I want to check them all off of my bucket list once I retire from my FTE :D

But to answer your question for the ones I have tried so far - I feel like every time I get my hands into something new, I really want to master it and do my very best at it. I'm never gonna become a complete expert at each and every hobby, but as long as I feel like I learned something or created something that felt rewarding - that was good enough for me.

For example, I think I did pretty well when I made my first guitar (which I posted a thread about here), wrote and composed a few songs (including one I made for my wife when we were dating), and tried my hands at building dog furniture or making birthday cakes, lol...



 

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Me to a T - somebody actually called me this last year, I never heard the term until I was labeled as such lol.

Play guitar, piano, built guitars, woodworking, sculpting, painting, tropical landscaping and building tiki huts, drawing, airbrushing, all construction trades, mechanic - built a monstrous 97 GMC w/ 1 ton axles, inventing. Learning production processes, marketing, making ads/video and now -

Fastlaning :cool:
 

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Well I still haven't gotten around to most of them, lol. Which.... trust me, I want to check them all off of my bucket list once I retire from my FTE :D

But to answer your question for the ones I have tried so far - I feel like every time I get my hands into something new, I really want to master it and do my very best at it. I'm never gonna become a complete expert at each and every hobby, but as long as I feel like I learned something or created something that felt rewarding - that was good enough for me.

For example, I think I did pretty well when I made my first guitar (which I posted a thread about here), wrote and composed a few songs (including one I made for my wife when we were dating), and tried my hands at building dog furniture or making birthday cakes, lol...



Yeah you’re multi as hell, I could tell when we talked. All us multi’s end up inventors :cool:
 
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Eskil

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Fastlaning :cool:
YES! And from our talks you sounds just like me, hehe...
 

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Hey @JWM

This is very interesting, thanks for sharing.
I agree 100%; I'm a person who likes to learning, reading and do so many different things that I couldn't remember all, but I can't find this "gift" in every person. I'm not excellent in a specific topic but I can be good in many.
I think that multipotentiality is an important plus to have success.
Also, I think that there is a little problem, a limit that could damage a multipotential person: if you like to do, study, reading many topics there is a risk that you let incomplete something: for example, sometimes I start to learn something; then I'm starved, I wanna know all about this one but also about that and that and those ecc.
The result? I know a little about 10 topics but not as an expert. I'd prefer to be less starved about quantity and more careful about quality.
If you can avoid this problem, multipotentiality is a great engine to drive the Fastlane!
 

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Hey - another one here!

Always feel like a bit of a prick describing myself as a polymath or a multi-hyphenate (there's another term for you!) or whatnot (or maybe I'm just being too English). So I just go with "I'm curious" or "I have wide-ranging curiosity".

As for earning money with any of them? The shortest way I've found to answer the question "what do you do for a living?" is always "I'm a freelancer". :rofl:

I've learnt I can't just do one thing & focus entirely, but if I followed every interest, I'd need extra hours in the day. As always, the answer is somewhere between the extremes. Trying to work out if I'm going too far one way or the other is a constant consideration, as is reminding myself of my priorities. I think it's a good thing though - like Steve Jobs taking a calligraphy class because he was interested, not thinking it would help create the Mac fonts later - a wider pool to draw from leads to more creative results. I'm still really hoping my dots will connect well looking back :smuggy:


"I collect hobbies" - from The Brother Bloom:

 

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When I was in highschool, one of my teachers had this quote on a blackboard, and it stayed up there for all the years I was there.

"There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people."

20 years later, it still comes to mind quite often.

I don't like using too many terms to describe myself, but I absolutely fit the descriptions in the OP. A girl I once knew referred to me as a new renaissance man.

No matter the subject, I always have a good grasp of it, usually enough to carry on a conversation. I'm a curious guy and I ask tons of questions, when I meet people who work in interesting fields.
 

JWM

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Me to a T - somebody actually called me this last year, I never heard the term until I was labeled as such lol.

Play guitar, piano, built guitars, woodworking, sculpting, painting, tropical landscaping and building tiki huts, drawing, airbrushing, all construction trades, mechanic - built a monstrous 97 GMC w/ 1 ton axles, inventing. Learning production processes, marketing, making ads/video and now -

Fastlaning :cool:
I like it, a lot of things in there that I'm interested in, I'm mainly getting my hands dirty with metal work at the moment. Can I ask what kind of airbrushing you have done?
 

JWM

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Well I still haven't gotten around to most of them, lol. Which.... trust me, I want to check them all off of my bucket list once I retire from my FTE :D

But to answer your question for the ones I have tried so far - I feel like every time I get my hands into something new, I really want to master it and do my very best at it. I'm never gonna become a complete expert at each and every hobby, but as long as I feel like I learned something or created something that felt rewarding - that was good enough for me.

For example, I think I did pretty well when I made my first guitar (which I posted a thread about here), wrote and composed a few songs (including one I made for my wife when we were dating), and tried my hands at building dog furniture or making birthday cakes, lol...



You're a model example of what I'm talking about :) that cake is pretty impressive. And I'm pretty sure that dog is loving his bed.
 

JWM

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Hey @JWM

This is very interesting, thanks for sharing.
I agree 100%; I'm a person who likes to learning, reading and do so many different things that I couldn't remember all, but I can't find this "gift" in every person. I'm not excellent in a specific topic but I can be good in many.
I think that multipotentiality is an important plus to have success.
Also, I think that there is a little problem, a limit that could damage a multipotential person: if you like to do, study, reading many topics there is a risk that you let incomplete something: for example, sometimes I start to learn something; then I'm starved, I wanna know all about this one but also about that and that and those ecc.
The result? I know a little about 10 topics but not as an expert. I'd prefer to be less starved about quantity and more careful about quality.
If you can avoid this problem, multipotentiality is a great engine to drive the Fastlane!
I see what you are saying. When i start learning something new, I always have a goal to achieve, whether it's to produce something to a certain standard or gain a certain level of understanding or ability. I never have to many new challenges on the go at once, I always try to focus on one.

For me it's not so much about being an expert, as I am not doing it for anyone else, it's for me. If I'm considering to be an expert or having a strong grasp on something it would normally be to make money from or assist in a business project and this is where I assess why I'm learning and should I bother. Am I really interested in learning it or am I wanting to learn it because I don't trust someone else to do it properly? That's normally what I ask myself going into a new skill.
 

JWM

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Hey - another one here!

Always feel like a bit of a prick describing myself as a polymath or a multi-hyphenate (there's another term for you!) or whatnot (or maybe I'm just being too English). So I just go with "I'm curious" or "I have wide-ranging curiosity".

As for earning money with any of them? The shortest way I've found to answer the question "what do you do for a living?" is always "I'm a freelancer". :rofl:

I've learnt I can't just do one thing & focus entirely, but if I followed every interest, I'd need extra hours in the day. As always, the answer is somewhere between the extremes. Trying to work out if I'm going too far one way or the other is a constant consideration, as is reminding myself of my priorities. I think it's a good thing though - like Steve Jobs taking a calligraphy class because he was interested, not thinking it would help create the Mac fonts later - a wider pool to draw from leads to more creative results. I'm still really hoping my dots will connect well looking back :smuggy:


"I collect hobbies" - from The Brother Bloom:

Thanks for the reply. Didn't realise Steve Jobs did calligraphy, but his reasoning is what I'm talking about, because he was interested and for no other reason.

I love that quote too, " I collect hobbies". I will probably actually use that one :rofl:
 

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