Multi-potential-what?

A multipotentialiteWhich is to say, one who embodies in their life the quality of multipotentiality:

Multipotentiality is an educational and psychological term referring to the ability and preference of a person, particularly one of strong intellectual or artistic curiosity, to excel in two or more different fields. (Wikipedia)

Which is to say, the story of my life. For better, and perhaps worse.

From diverse interests in art, philosophy, spirituality, to sciences and technology, I tend to pursue many things. Often times serially, synchronously, with focus. With hyperfocus even. As though, at the moment, there is nothing else to be done in life. And it is pursued to the threshold of accomplishment, and perhaps even mastery.

But then the interest may shift. One interest is abandoned (though not forever — some interests tend to wax and wane over time) for another. It is both the wonder and at the same time the downfall of the multipotentialite mind. Endlessly, insatiable curiosity in many things on the one hand; dilettantism and dispersion on the other.

I even have a tendency to forget to even mention many of the things I have pursued and done in the past.

The gift though is to be able to transcend discrete specializations: to discern potential interrelationships of diverse areas others see in clearly demarcated compartments. To think out of boxes. Indeed, the multipotentialite mind abhors boxes. Life is a wholeness, a vast tapestry of many possibilities and expressions. “Are you an artist, or an engineer; a painter, or a computer programmer?” To which the best answer is simply, “yes.” Not as a career and a hobby on the side mind you: each is in its own right the main course. It is a life lived with its many interests and possibilities unfolding and intertwining over time.

Possibly the best-known multipotentialite known in history was Leonardo da Vinci. (What an act of hubris on my part to draw such a parallel?) An artist, architect, scientist, and technologist well ahead of his time. Yet he is purported to have been notorious for leaving many projects incomplete as his interests and imagination ranged so widely. Multipotentiality, one might say, is wanderlust of the mind, imagination, and creativity.

Here Emilie Wapnick describes multipotentiality beautifully, in this Ted Talk:

 

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